Audiovisua Essay - Theory and Practice


  • To know different ways of analysing and conveying knowledge about cinema;
  • To become familiar with paradigmatic case studies about the intermingling of criticism with artistic practice;
  • To be able to combine theory, criticism and artistic practice to understand cinema as an aesthetic phenomenon;
  • To know the history of film based on the concept of audiovisual essay;
  • To understand the aesthetic and critical possibilities of the “photofilm” for questioning the relationship between cinema and photography;
  • To be able to produce objects, in text and/or video form, that artistically convey an idea or set of critical/theoretical arguments about cinema and the world.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Luís Guilherme Jordão de Mendonça


Weekly - Available soon

Total - 280

Teaching language



Not applicable.


  • BRENEZ, Nicole, «La Critique comme concept, exigence et praxis», La Furia Umana (edição online), número 17, outubro 2013:;
  • DOUCHET, Jean, L’art d’aimer, Paris, Cahiers du cinéma, 2003;
  • GODARD, Jean-Luc, Introduction to a True History of Cinema and Television, Montreal, Caboose, 2014;
  • LYON-CAEN, Gilles (ed.), La critique de cinéma à la épreuve d’Internet, Lavérune, L’entretemps éditions, 2014;
  • MENDONÇA, Luís, «Para lá do problema da linguagem: Manny Farber e a escrita cinema como boa prática», in Rowland, Clara, e Bértolo, José (orgs.), A Escrita Cinema: Ensaios, Lisboa, Documenta, 2015;
  • ROSENBAUM, Jonathan, MARTIN, Adrian, Movie Mutations: The Changing Face of World Cinephilia, Londres, British Film Institute, 2003;
  • SCOTT, A.O., Better Living Through Criticism, Londres, Jonathan Cape, 2016. 

Teaching method

Classes alternate between a reflexive and practical component,  providing students with the necessary theoretical tools and historical knowledge to produce the final piece of work. At the same time, through simple tutorials and with a view to a “critique of immanence” (Benjamin), students are prepared to create a wide range of objects - “cinematic” written essays produced out of viewing a film (or films) shot-by-shot or digital audiovisual essays emerging from a written exercise. 

Evaluation method

Evaluation Method - Participation of students during classes, production of essays, in video or text, critical assimilation of the points of the program.(100%)

Subject matter

This module travels through the history of film, between films and critical texts (in paper, digital form, with images and/or words). Considering the recent emergence of the digital audiovisual essay, the module questions the concept of the “essay as form” (Adorno) throughout film history, from Joseph Cornell to Ken Jacobs, from Peter Kubelka to Peter Tscherkassky, from Chris Marker to Jean-Luc Godard, from Mark Rappaport to Adrian Martin and Cristina Álvarez López. Special attention is given to the experiments - between cinema and photography - carried out by the German-Hungarian couple Katja Pratschke and Gusztáv Hámos. We travel through the images of filmmakers who use criticism as an aesthetic tool, but also through texts that propose a “cinematism” (Eisenstein) of the written word. Case studies - read and re-read with the audiovisual essay as our critical mode - are drawn from the work of authors from the American and French schools.