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Undergraduate modules

Look closer

Investigate the power of the moving image, examine how films and television programmes make meaning, and develop your own film-making skills too.

You will take modules at every stage of your degree. Our modules involve screenings, seminars and lectures on a set topic within Film and Television Studies. You will complete assignments within each module for assessment. Look at your course page to see which modules are compulsory or optional for your course.

You can explore all genres, times and places, from early cinema and historical television to the latest Hollywood blockbusters, world cinema or streamed videos on demand.

You can apply your knowledge through video essays and short films, and study our Film Production module, which is taught exclusively at Warwick by colleagues from London Film School.

Screenings

Screenings are a compulsory and essential part of our teaching. You won't just sit back and enjoy a film in a screening: you will watch critically and analytically, and take notes (even in the dark!). As you progress through the degree, you’ll become highly attuned to appreciating the ways in which style, mise-en-scène, sound and editing convey meaning. We’ll always show films in their entirety where a complete version exists - find out more about how we show films in our facilities.


Lectures

A lecture is usually one person talking to a large group of students for about 50 minutes. Since the Department of Film and Television Studies is a small department there will be a maximum of 60 students in a lecture and usually far fewer (though lectures for modules taken in other departments can be larger). Lecturers are usually research specialists in the topic they're talking about. They will inspire you with new ideas and insights on your topic. They might use slides, images, sound and video clips, and give you a handout to help you take efficient notes.


Seminars / Workshops

A seminar is a group discussion between 8 to 11 people, where you'll take part and share your views. Your seminar leader will help you to explore and understand the material together. You will examine key terms and topics from the lecture in detail, discuss your analysis and interpretation of the films and television programmes, unpick key passages and questions from that week’s reading, and work together to analyse a clip from the film and apply this week’s learning to it. You need to come prepared and get involved. Together you will strengthen your skills in constructing arguments, providing evidence and thinking critically.


Independent study

University teaching is very different from learning at school or college. Generally speaking, for each module you take you can expect to have 1-2 screenings per week, a lecture per week and a seminar per week, but these are just the ‘contact hours’. Getting the most out of the university experience requires you to undertake your own independent study outside of class time. For each module, you can expect to have at least one piece of reading (typically a chapter from a book or an article from an academic journal) each week, which you are expected to read, synthesise and think about how it applies to the film of programme you have watched.


Assessment

There are varied assessment practices in the department including blogs, audiovisual essays, short films and portfolio project work. However, the two primary methods of assessment that you will encounter are exams and essays.

Essays are your chance to engage deeply with an aspect of the module that has really intrigued or interested you. They are your chance to develop sophisticated independent research skills and to improve the fluency of your written communication. Further reading, independent viewing and your own original close analysis are essential to gaining good marks.

Exams are not designed to test how well you remember every single fact you were ever taught, but your ability to link together material that has been taught on the module and marshal evidence in order to create your own original argument in response to a stimulus question. Staff will run revision sessions in the summer term to help with this.


Module list

First year

Look closely. No, closer still. Let’s watch that again.

In this module, the text is king. We want to give you intensive practice in looking at and listening closely to films and television programmes.. Lectures will equip you with the technical and analytical vocabulary of textual analysis. In the discussion-based seminars that follow, you’ll get to practice using and applying these terms yourself in a supportive environment, building up your confidence and command of the terminology that will be your academic language for the next three years. Written work is designed to build you up to a point where you can create your own reasoned and carefully argued interpretations of film texts. We’ll set readings each week that introduce you to the best of critical scholarship, and get you to begin to evaluate and reflect upon other accounts and interpretations of film.

We think it’s really important that you are exposed to a variety of films from different times, in different styles and from different nations. Each year, we carefully choose our film screenings to offer you the chance to experience and compare different approaches to the expressive use of film form and mise-en-scène. We want you to be able to examine, in detail, the ways in which stylistic choices create meaning and affect interpretation.


What might you watch? Sunset Boulevard (Billy Wilder, US, 1950), Elephant (Gus Van Sant, US, 2002), La Règle du jeu (Jean Renoir, France, 1939), Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Thailand, 2010), Edge of Heaven (Germany/Turkey, Fatih Akin, 2007), M (Fritz Lang, Germany, 1931), The West Wing (NBC, 1999-2006), Miranda (2009-2015), This Morning (ITV, 1988- present), The Wire (HBO, 2002-2008)

In this module you will be introduced to key critical debates in Film and Television Studies. You will explore a range of approaches to critical writing about film as well as the key critical turns in the study of television. There will be a historical focus to this work which will think about the development of film and television scholarship over time.

As your skills develop you will be encouraged to make reasoned and carefully argued interpretations, and to reflect upon the validity of other accounts and interpretations, both in group discussion and through reading of critical scholarship on module films and programmes.


What might you watch? The Wizard of Oz (Victor Fleming, 1939), Gun Crazy (Deadly is the Female) (Joseph H. Lewis, 1950), Thelma and Louise (Ridley Scott, 1991), Alice in den Städten (Wim Wenders, 1974), Texas Chainsaw Massacre (Tobe Hooper, 1974), Gogglebox (Channel 4, 2013-), Ghostwatch (BBC Television, 1992), The Royal Wedding (BBC1, 2011); London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony: Isles of Wonder (BBC1, 2012); Dallas (Lorimar Productions, CBS, 1978-1991); 24 Hours in A&E (The Garden Productions, Channel 4, 2011-present); CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (Jerry Bruckheimer Television, Alliance Atlantis, CBS, 2000-present); Seinfeld (Castle Rock Entertainment, NBC, 1989-1998).

In this module, you will study key moments and questions in the history of cinema. You will think about film texts within their broader industrial, cultural, social and political contexts and consider the different forms of historical work that they have inspired. The scope of this module is broad and you might find yourself considering cinema’s place as a medium of mass entertainment, thinking about the ways in which cinema represents the past, exploring the history of race, class and gender representation, or thinking about the links between cinema and politics.


What might you watch? The Thief of Bagdad (R. Walsh, 1924), The Sheik (G. Melford, 1921), Grand Hotel (E. Goulding, 1932), Camille (G. Cukor, 1936), The Birth of a Nation (D.W. Griffith, 1915), Battleship Potemkin (S. Eisenstein, 1925), October (S. Eisenstein, 1928), Viva Villa! (J. Conway 1934), The Cabinet of Dr Caligari (R. Wiene, 1920), The Triumph of the Will (L. Riefenstahl, 1935), The Great Dictator (C. Chaplin, 1940), Bicycle Thieves (V. De Sica, 1948)

Theories of the Moving Image introduces key theoretical concepts related to film form, spectatorship, and politics. The module will enable you to read film theory as a written text and a historical document, and to use it as a theoretical tool for interpreting screen media. As a theory course, the module will give you the skills needed to approach theoretical texts, and we will be focusing as much on analysing written arguments as discussing the screenings.

By the end of the module you will be familiar with some of the key theoretical frameworks and debates in film scholarship, and their position within broader interdisciplinary contexts. You should be able to read complex critical writing with confidence and precision, and to deploy theoretical arguments in your own writing with similar confidence and rigor. You will be able to apply theoretical frameworks to screen media texts in both oral and written communication.


What might you watch? Le Crime de Monsieur Lange (Jean Renoir, 1939), The Gleaners & I (Agnès Varda, 2000), The Bourne Ultimatum (Paul Greengrass, 2007), Il posto (Ermanno Olmi, 1961), Written on the Wind (Douglas Sirk, 1956), Gilda (Vidor, 1956), Mahogany (Berry Gordy, 1975), Starship Troopers (Paul Verhoeven, 1997)

In this module you will explore theoretical models that have been taken up by scholars within Film Studies but were originally developed in other subject areas. These include English Literature, Philosophy, and Psychology. You will engage with a range of theories that offer different constructions of textuality, meaning and interpretation. You will gain knowledge of major shifts in theorisation by addressing key paradigms such as structuralism, psychoanalysis, Marxism, semiotics, deconstruction and postmodernism. You will also apply these theoretical models to specific film texts, adding a conceptual dimension to your textual analysis.

What makes a film a film? Or a television programme a television programme? How are these forms different from and similar to each other – and from related media forms like photography, video games, prints, and paintings?

In this module, you’ll explore the relationships between different types of visual media, and develop an understanding of visual cultures in a wider sense that will complement and extend your Year 1 film modules.


What might you watch? Mothlight (Stan Brakhage, 1963), La Jetée (Chris Marker, 1962), Fog Line (Larry Gottheim, 1970), The Reflecting Pool (Bill Viola, 1977-79), Alice in Wonderland (Clyde Geronimi, Wilfred Jackson and Hamilton Luske, 1951), Alice in Wonderland (Jonathan Miller, BBC, 1966), American Splendor (Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini, 2003), Superman (Richard Donner, 1978), Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (David Hand and all, 1937), Toy Story (John Lasseter, 1995), Rise of the Planet of the Apes (Rupert Wyatt, 2011)

Cinema didn’t get to where it is today by standing still.

There are innovations that changed cinema forever – its invention, the introduction of synchronised sound, digital imaging technology. But these events didn’t happen overnight, and nor did they happen in a vacuum.

This module will connect an understanding of film’s technological developments with its industrial and social history. You’ll gain new perspectives upon the history of moving image media by studying key moments of transition. You’ll become familiar with important theoretical and historiographical approaches to technological change. By the end of the module you’ll have a firm grounding in technological film history and will be able to apply these new ways of thinking to the other films you encounter as you progress through your degree.


What might you watch? 2001: A Space Odyssey (Stanley Kubrick, 1968); Sortie d’usine (Louis Lumière, 1895); The Jazz Singer (Alan Crosland, 1927), Citizen Kane (Orson Welles, 1941), Leave Her to Heaven (John M. Stahl, 1945), Lola Montès (Max Oplüls, 1955), Jurassic Park (Steven Spielberg, 1994), Festen (Thomas Vinterberg, 1998), Tangerine (Sean Baker, 2015)

In this module you will gain a historical, conceptual and practical grounding in the nature of film as a national, transnational and global industrial and economic practice. It will introduce you to a range of key issues and approaches that have shaped global film industries from the end of the Second World War through to the present day. You will explore many of the elements by which film may be understood as not just a cultural, but also a socio-economic phenomenon. These will include such themes as the evolution of international trends in film finance, production, distribution, exhibition and marketing, and the application of enduring concepts such as authorship, genre and stardom to many of these aspects.

You will also examine matters related to political economy and film policy with weekly topics that might include: the role of government policy, funding and support; the intervention of state and cross-cultural organisations such as the British Film Institute, Channel 4, the BBC and the EU; questions of censorship and regulation; and the management of issues related to social and cultural diversity.

Overall, the module will help you to contextualise much of the foundational teaching and learning from across your first year.

You'll study this module with the German and French departments to provide some background to further study of European Cinema. It will help broaden your experience of reading literature and will also complement the more theoretical module 'Modes of Reading'.

Keeping in mind that labels such as “the canon” and “modernity” are fluid, we will pay special attention to where the texts appear to break with literary or cultural norms of the time. We will investigate how these authors use form, style, and other literary techniques to convey meaning as well as what sorts of philosophical, social, or political factors may have motivated them. In other words, we will approach these texts in two different manners.

At times, you will be asked to perform close readings of literary works where meaning is found within the text itself. At others, you will carry out contextual research which places the texts in their broader cultural significance. You will read, interpret, appreciate and articulate your responses both orally and in writing. You'll gain awareness of questions of genre, literary inventions, and the social, historical, political and philosophical contexts of literary production and reception.


What might you read? German translations: Fontane's Effi Briest; Kafka's In the Penal Colony, Before the Law, Metamorphosis; Böll's The Lost Honour of Katharina Blum, Brecht's Life of Galileo, Schlink'sThe Reader. French translations: Flaubert's Madame Bovary, Gide's The Immoralist, Proust's Combray, Satre's Nausea, and Camus's The Plague.

This module offers an introduction to the practices of criticism. The module aims to enable you to work with a variety of critical approaches, and to develop an informed awareness of the possibilities available to them as readers and critics. Thematically organised lectures provide a frame of cultural reference on which you will draw in your close readings in seminars.


What you might study? I Love Dick (Chris Krauss, 1997); Zong (M. NourbeSe Philip, 2008); The ArchAndroid (Janelle Monae, 2010); Soiree for the 5th of June (Saadallah Wannous, 1967); Fun Home (Alison Bechdel, 2006)

* Film Studies only ** Film and Literature only


Second year

There’s a good chance you’ll be familiar with Hollywood cinema. It dominates film culture here in the UK and across the world and for many people, ‘Hollywood’ is synonymous with ‘film’.

But this meaning is not fixed, and the term ‘Hollywood Cinema’ can be used as a shorthand for films that are seen as commercial, and lacking in depth and substance, or alternatively to suggest a benchmark for quality film production.

Indeed, when we talk about Hollywood, we are referring to both an industrial system – with specific practices and cultures of film production – and an aesthetic tradition, with codes and conventions that dictate how films look, sound and tell stories.

In this module, we engage with the full historical range of Hollywood sound production from the late 1920s to the present day. Examples are chosen because they illustrate important aspects of the industry, including style, genre, stars, directors, technology, censorship, and politics.

Topics might include: genre; authorship; stardom; the studio system; gender; race; Hollywood as ‘mass culture’; ‘New Hollywood’; the blockbuster franchise


What you might watch? Singin’ in the Rain (Gene Kelly/ Stanley Donen, 1952); Footlight Parade (Lloyd Bacon, 1933); Swing Time (Mark Sandrich, 1936); Meet Me in St. Louis (Vincente Minnelli, 1944); Robin Hood (Michael Curtiz, 1938); Angels With Dirty Faces (Michael Curtiz, 1938); Mildred Pierce (Michael Curtiz, 1946); Casablanca (Michael Curtiz, 1941); Blonde Bombshell (Victor Fleming, 1933); Bonnie and Clyde (Arthur Penn, 1967); Dirty Harry (Don Siegel, 1971); Mission Impossible (Brian de Palma, 1996); Wonder Woman (Patty Jenkins, 2017); Black Panther (Ryan Coogler, 2018);The Avengers (Joss Whedon, 2012)

Film is a global medium, but different countries are often seen as having specific ‘national’ film cultures. It is not unusual to hear talk of a ‘British film’ or a ‘Japanese film’, but these terms are far more complex than they might initially seem. The very idea of a national cinema is itself an actively constructed category, and this module will draw upon the work on textual analysis and film history that you carried out in Year One to explore issues and concepts related to national and international film cultures.

In each term, you will undertake a detailed case study of a specific national cinema as a framework within which to explore wider concepts. Case studies are chosen based on staff research expertise, and in the past have included: Italian cinema, Brazilian cinema, global film culture, British cinema, post-war German cinema, Japanese cinema, Swedish cinema, amongst others.

Topics might include: the representation of national history; ideas of genre, realism and authorship; transnational circulation; definitions of national identity and questions of cultural specificity


What you might watch? Run Lola Run (Tom Tykwer, 1998); Aguirre, the Wrath of God (Werner Herzog, 1972); Ali: Fear Eats the Soul (Rainer Werner Fassbinder, 1974); Good Bye Lenin! (Wolfgang Becker, 2003); The Baader Meinhof Complex (Uli Edel, 2008); Stray Dog (Akira Kurosawa, 1949); Sansho Dayu (Kenji Mizoguchi, 1954); Tokyo Story (Yasujiro Ozu, 1953); Crazed Fruit (Ko Nakahira, 1956); Face of Another (Hiroshi Teshigahara, 1966); Ring (Hideo Nakata, 1998); My Neighbour Totoro (Hiyao Miyazaki, 1988); Still Walking (Hirokazu Kore-eda, 2008)

See sample reading lists: Term 1 and Term 2

This module explores the silent period in Europe and America – a period in which some of the most important films, filmmakers and filmmaking trends emerged. In this module, we treat films of early cinema as complex, rather than ‘primitive’ texts.

You’ll get hands-on with trade periodicals and fan magazines from this period to bring these films to life and develop your skills in historical research.

You’ll investigate the social and cultural context into which cinema emerges and evolves, and become familiar with the international film industry of the 1920s, covering topics like its commercial structure, major directors, stars, landmark films and aesthetic developments. This will give you context for understanding the complexities of Hollywood’s journey to dominance and the rise of cinematic nationalism after the end of World War I. We’ll also explore how issues of class and gender come to the fore at particular moments of social upheaval and cultural crisis in this era.

Topics might include: The magical attractions of early cinema; D.W. Griffith and the emergence of a narrative grammar; the evolution of slapstick; serial pleasures; the emergence of feature films; classical Hollywood cinema in the 1920s; cinema and modernity; the mobilisation of ‘Film Europe’; silents in the age of sound; the aesthetics of silent cinema


What you might watch? The Impossible Voyage (Méliès, 1904); A Drunkard’s Reformation (Biograph, 1909); Last of the Line (Domino, 1914); Mr. Flip (Essanay, 1909); The Tramp (Essanay, 1915); The Perils of Pauline (Pathé, 1914); Traffic in Souls (Universal, 1913); The Cheat (Lasky, 1915); Intolerance (Fine Arts, 1916); Steamboat Bill, Jr. (Charles F. Reisner, 1928); It (Clarence Badger, 1927); Man With a Movie Camera (Dziga Vertov, 1929); The Last Laugh (F.W. Murnau, 1924); La Passion de Jeanne d’Arc (Carl T. Dreyer, 1928); Sunrise (F.W. Murnau, 1927); Piccadilly (E.A. Dupont, 1929)

Television is dead. Television is everyday. Television is everywhere. Television is online. Television is domestic. Television is spectacular. Television is public. Television is all this and more.

In this module, you’ll unpick and complicate some of the accepted cultural positions about what television is and what it does. Building upon your introduction to television studies in the Visual Cultures module in Year One, this module will deepen your understanding of television as a historical, critical and theoretical object of study. It comes at a particularly key moment in the discipline’s history, as new technologies once again threaten our understanding of this complex, yet everyday, object.

The focus will be on exploring a wide range of examples from television’s early years to the present day, and on giving opportunities for you to engage critically with some of the most interesting work in television studies, including both foundational work of the discipline and cutting-edge research into this ever-changing medium.

Topics and texts change each year in line with staff research interests and expertise, and you’ll be encouraged to become a co-creator in new work. Recent topics have included regionalism, children’s television and music television.

You’ll develop key skills in the close analysis of television and its texts, and be introduced to a range of theoretical concepts and methodologies of television studies. You’ll emerge with a complex understanding of television as a textual, institutional, historical and cultural object.


What might you watch? Doctor Who, Brideshead Revisited, Happy Valley, Sherlock, Poldark, The Sopranos, Sex and the City, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Band of Brothers, Game of Thrones, The West Wing, Lost, Breaking Bad, Orange is the New Black, House of Cards, Stranger Things, Arena, Panorama, Driving School, Made in Chelsea, Wife Swap, Geordie Shore, Ghostwatch, The Day Britain Stopped, Modern Family, The Office, A History of Britain, Who Do You Think You Are, Downton Abbey, The Great British Bake-Off, Planet Earth, Cunk on Britain.

See sample reading lists: Term 1 and Term 2

What exactly does ‘avant-garde’ mean? And how does it differ from terms such as ‘underground’, ‘experimental’ and ‘subcultural’? In this module you’ll explore the history of avant-garde film, video, sound, and installation work by engaging conceptually and practically with its forms, movements and practices.

We’re also interested in exploring the exchange and interaction between avant-garde and popular cultures. We’ll think about where the term ‘avant-garde’ comes from, placing it within the context from which it emerges and then tracing how it has been employed at different times and in different places, from the early twentieth century to the present day.

You’ll take a wide-ranging look at ideas of the avant-garde and study a diverse range of texts, movements and trends, from the 'high art' domain of 1920s avant-garde film to the popular eruptions of early 80s hip-hop.


What might you watch? Entr'acte (René Clair, 1924), Rose Hobart (Joseph Cornell, 1936), A MOVIE (Bruce Connor, 1958), Jack's Dream (Joseph Cornell, c.1938), The Phoenix Portal (Soda Jerk, 2005), Invocation of My Demon Brother (Kenneth Anger, 1969), Flaming Creatures (Jack Smith, 1963), Empire (Andy Warhol, 1964), Ruhr (James Benning, 2009), Hand Catching Lead (Richard Serra, 1968), Time As Activity (Dusseldorf) (David Lamelas, 1969), Andy Warhol's Exploding Plastic Inevitable (Ronald Nameth, 1966), Three Transitions (Peter Campus, 1973) Two Dogs and a Ball (William Wegman, 1972), Vertical Roll (Joan Jonas, 1972), TV Interruptions (David Hall, 1976), Semiotics of The Kitchen (Martha Rosler, 1975)


Optional Study Abroad Year

Every student enrolled on BA in Film Studies or BA in Film and Literature has the opportunity to spend a year abroad studying at one of our partner institutions.

You can extend your period of study from three to four years, with the intercalated year taking place between your second and final year. The third year is spent at one of our partner institutions, with students returning for a fourth year to complete their degree.

All study abroad opportunities are subject to availability and the location of these places changes regularly but in the past have included institutions in Australia, China, Denmark, Netherlands and North and Latin America.

Your year abroad will be transformational in developing your understanding of other cultures. Warwick students have benefited hugely from engaging fully in the cultural and social life of their host country. An intercalated year, coupled with Warwick’s reputation for employability, will help give you an edge when it comes to taking your first steps beyond university.

Find out more about Study Abroad


Final year

Film Aesthetics blends philosophical and theoretical questions of aesthetics with detailed close textual analysis of a range of films from different national and historical contexts. There are three primary strands intertwined throughout the module: the concept of aesthetics in general; film aesthetics more specifically; and the particulars of the individual film we will be looking at each week.

Questions of aesthetics are also often imbricated with questions of value and our first purpose will be to address some overarching questions such as: what is art? What is beautiful? What is good? Are these notions subjective or universal? How do social, historic and contextual particularities affect the attribution of value in aesthetic discourses? Are considerations of politics and ethics essential or contingent when discussing those of aesthetics?

The strand on film aesthetics will explore how general questions in aesthetics have been historically deployed in relation to film: what is ‘the cinematic’ and is ‘medium specificity’ important? How has realism been used as a criterion of value in film? What are the roles of intentionality and interpretation in valuing films? How important is place, experience and feeling to attributions of value? What role does genre play in the interpretation of films and how does this affect their value? What is the role of the social in the aesthetic?


What you might watch? The Room (Tommy Wiseau, 2003); Vertigo (Alfred Hitchcock, 1958); Apocalypse Now (Francis Ford Coppola, 1979); Sleepless in Seattle (Nora Ephron, 1993); Morvern Callar (Lynne Ramsay, 2002); Do the Right Thing (Spike Lee, 1989); 12 Years a Slave (Steve McQueen, 2013); Mad Men (AMC, 2007-2015); Friends (NBC, 1994-2004)

A dissertation is a 10,000-word piece of original research based upon a topic that you decide in consultation with your supervisor. A dissertation is a great opportunity to explore a topic that you are interested in, but has not been covered elsewhere on the course, or for you to follow up in more depth on an aspect of film or television covered earlier in the degree that you have found particularly interesting.

You will work independently, guided by a supervisor who is a specialist in your chosen area, to undertake a research project in film and television studies. This is a wonderful opportunity to consolidate the academic and transferable skills that you have gained during your studies: literature searching, textual analysis, using archives, using secondary sources.

The module also includes an undergraduate symposium day, where you can present your work-in-progress to peers and staff in the Department.

The dissertation module includes a series of training workshops including presentation skills and writing a review of literature.

This intensive third-year module will help you to develop your understanding of the practice of short film production through the opportunity to work on the development of a self-devised short fiction film. It will provide you with intensive coaching in the preparation and development of a viable film treatment or script, and offer intensive workshop practice in the various essential skills related to the practice of filmmaking: cinematography, sound and editing. It will give you a solid and meaningful working experience of the collaborative nature of the practice of film production. You will work in groups of 3-4 with all being given the chance to direct as well as practice other skills. It will also provide you with an understanding of the administrative and legalistic aspects of film production.

By the end of the module, you will have gained training and experience in the various elements of short film production via a demonstrable portfolio of practical skills related to direction, cinematography, sound, lighting, editing and production management. You will have produced a viable film treatment or script that will have informed the production of a 6-8 minute fiction film. You will have developed practical skills in creative thinking and planning on both an individual and group basis, and developed skills in collaborative teamwork. You will have gained practical experience in planning and managing the relevant legalistic and health and safety elements of short film production. You will have developed skills in constructing a reflective piece of critical writing that will relate to both the critical intentions of an individual film project and the nature of the learning experience that has generated the project.

This module is in collaboration with London Film School: find out more

The interconnected genres of horror and the Gothic have a long and fascinating history in film and television. The study of these genres has also produced some of the most ground-breaking work in the academic disciplines of film and television studies.

Together, we’ll consider questions of genre, address and medium specificity. What is the history of Gothic and horror programming on television, and how might we understand the recent upsurge in the production and broadcast of this genre? How have Gothic and horror films – both contemporary and classic –been understood in critical literature? And how have recent changes in production, distribution and exhibition of horror cinema impacted upon the genre and its aesthetics?

You’ll be devising your own research project around these topics. Students relish the opportunity to get stuck into research (and make their tutor watch some really gruesome films and programmes!)

Alternatively, this innovative module is designed to get you thinking about the place of film and television in the wider community, and you may be assessed by designing a film season which is accompanied by critical commentary on the horror film festival.


What might you watch? Frankenstein, America Horrory Story, Taste the Blood of Dracula, Eden Lake, Rebecca, Dark Water, Remember Me, Babadook, A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, The Thing, Anatomy for Beginners, Hannibal, The Swan, Halloween, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Night of the Living Dead, In the Flesh

Find out more with our indicative reading lists: Term 1

Ever fancied trying your hand at writing a film? Or perhaps you have a half-finished screenplay languishing somewhere in your computer files? Then you need this course: an intensive introduction to the craft of screenwriting.

You’ll explore the tools and techniques of writing for the screen through a combination of writing, reading and viewing exercises. Seminars will provide a chance to workshop your own writing and gain feedback from your tutor and peers.

This course mainly focuses on film, although discussion and clips may include TV drama.


What might you watch? Six Feet Under, House of Cards, Breaking Bad, The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant, Carol, One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest, Wadjda, The Falling, The Arbor, Melancholia, Heathers, The Shining, Groundhog Day, Psycho, Alien, The Elephant Man, North by Northwest, Taxi Driver

Find out more with our indicative reading lists: Term 1

Film can make us laugh. It can make us cry. It can make us care. Film can move us, but can it affect or even effect change? This module explores the potential of film to impact upon personal, social and political experiences and events. John Grierson called the filmmaker a ‘propagandist’; Third Cinema hailed him or her a ‘revolutionary’. More recently, Linda Williams, in re-defining all ‘film’ as melodrama, distinguished it as the medium of emotion. We will be concerned with the convergence of these three, of ideology, resistance and feeling, within our developing understanding of how film might alter the attitudes or actions of its audience.

Film and Social Change will look at how various film theories – such as spectatorship, post-colonial and ethical theory - refigure the agency of those watching, and how various film movements, filmmakers and film practices reanimate this agency for socio-political goals. Moving from mainstream paradigms to much lauded counter-narratives to more marginal propositions, new technologies and platforms will become increasingly significant as we track an alternative history of the power of film into the Digital Age.


What might you watch? King Kong, Bhaji on the Beach, The Color Purple, Hooligan Sparrow, The Battle of Algiers, Paris is Burning, Boys Don't Cry, The Five Obstructions, I Daniel Blake, City of Ghosts, The Act of Killing,

Find out more with our indicative reading lists: Term 1

This module examines the rise of eco-theory alongside viewing a wide range of fiction feature films and documentaries that depict environmental concerns. The module aims to prompt debates about the representation of ecology, conservation, petroleum dependence, pollution, sustainability, and nature.


What might you watch? The 11th Hour, Trashed, Singin' in the Rain, Buster Keaton's Steamboat Bill Jr, Seven Chances, Sherlock Junior, Safe, War of the Worlds, Kiss Me Deadly, It Follows,

Find out more with our indicative reading lists: Term 1

This module looks at the ways in which the whole world has been imaged and imagined in cinema and related media. It is divided into two parts, each of which will focus on a specific historical juncture: the turns of the 20th and 21st centuries respectively. Part I of the module looks at the various ways through which early cinema grappled with the conception of a world totality and advertised itself as a visual repository of the planet. Part II explores the prevalence of the planet as a ubiquitous trope and theme in our audiovisual landscape in the context of globalisation and the present global environmental crisis. Adopting a comparative media history approach, the module focuses on a wide variety of visual and audiovisual forms, including: early non-fiction films and related materials, documentaries, popular and art narrative cinema, and TV and digital programmes.


What might you watch? Archives of the Planet, Intolerance, Babel, Human, Planet Earth, Homo Sapiens

The science fiction film genre has a reputation for being the most overtly philosophical or conceptual of all popular film genres. The module aims to enable you to engage with a diverse range of theoretical approaches to the science fiction film, including: the genre's alignment with the postmodern, presentations of space and the sublime, critical constructions of technology and gender, and philosophical conceptions of the human and the post-human.


What might you watch? Solaris (Tarkovsky, 1972), 2001: A Space Odyssey (Stanley Kubrick, 1969), Gravity (Alfonso Cuarón, 2013), The Matrix Reloaded (The Wachowski Brothers, 2003), Lucy (Luc Besson, 2014), Ex Machina (Alex Garland, 2015), Alien Resurrection (Jean-Pierre Jeunet, 1997), Annihilation (Alex Garland, 2018), Under the Skin (Jonathan Glazer, 2013)

This module provides a detailed examination of the history and aesthetics of film and television documentary. You will explore a range of different documentary modes, and the interrelated questions of filmmaking approach and style will be central to our concerns. As well as exploring historical trends in the documentary form, you will analyse documentary texts through a range of key critical and theoretical perspectives. These include questions of dramatization, narrativisation, hybridity, performance, documentary’s relationship with ‘the truth’, and the impact of particular technologies on documentary aesthetics. We will also explore the impact that particular movements (e.g. direct cinema), institutions (e.g. the GPO), and individual film and programme-makers (e.g. John Grierson, Errol Morris, Molly Dineen) have had on the form’s development.


What might you watch? Regen (Joris Ivens, 1929); Granton Trawler (John Grierson, 1934); Night Mail (Harry Watt & Basil Wright, 1936), Paris is Burning (Jennie Livingston, 1990), Stories We Tell (Sarah Polley, 2012), Primary (Robert Drew, 1960); Crisis: Behind a Presidential Commitment (Robert Drew, 1963), Atomic Café (Jayne Loader, Kevin Rafferty, Pierce Rafferty, 1982), The Fog of War (Errol Morris, 2003), Geri (Molly Dineen, 1999), 20,000 Days on Earth (Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard, 2014), The Posters Came from the Walls (Jeremy Deller, Nick Abrahams, 2008), Stop Making Sense (Jonathan Demme, 1984), This is Spinal Tap (Rob Reiner, 1984)

This module is about making film and TV criticism, and doing it as a range of practices, both written and filmic. The primary aim is to enable you to produce different types of criticism (a blurb, a review, a long think piece or an audio-visual essay) to a high standard. In order to do so, we will be looking at and discussing a range of films, critics, and various types of criticism, written and audio-visual. But the focus will actually be on your own work and we will be discussing the process of thinking and producing criticism and how to make it better. The module is akin to a creative writing module, but one which will also encompasses audio-visual forms of criticism in general, and the video essay in particular.

Star studies is a thriving field within Film and Television Studies and one that is central to all areas of the cinema and television landscape: industrial, cultural, sociological and spectatorial. You will consider the historical, theoretical, and social-cultural paradigms that have informed the study of stars from the beginning of cinema and television through to today. After outlining basic theories and concepts in star studies, the module will consider how stardom has changed in Hollywood, the contrasting nature of stardom in other contexts, including European and Bollywood stardom, and the complimentary and distinct functions of television stardom.


What might you watch? Prefer Blondes (Howard Hawks, 1953), Sholay (Ramesh Sippy, 1975), Coming Home (Hal Ashby, 1978), The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (NBC, 1991-1996), Sex in the City (HBO, 1998-2004), The Naked Chef (BBC 2, 1999-2001), Volver (Pedro Almodóvar, 2006), and Moana (Ron Clements and John Musker, 2016).

Animation is a genre and process with its own distinctive language and characteristics. No longer viewed as simply ‘cartoons for children’, animation has become a cultural phenomenon that extends into live action cinema. You will explore the history, aesthetics, and production contexts of animation. You will also engage with a range of different animation processes (such as stop-frame animation) and approaches to animation (such as abstract). We will also engage with weekly topics central to the theorisation of animation such as anthropomorphism, computer generated animated images, and narration in animation.


What might you watch? The work of Jirí Trnka (1947-1969); animation from Smallfilms (1959-1980s) and Warner Brothers; Frozen (Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck, 2013); It’s Such a Beautiful Day (Don Hertzfeldt, 2012); The Making of Longbird (Will Anderson, 2011); Okja (Bong Joon-ho, 2017); Futon (Yoriko Mizushiri, 2012), Wonder (Mirai Mizue, 2013); Aubade (Mauro Carraro, 2014), Sleepwalker (Theodore Ushev, 2015)

In this module, we will explore the fertile ways in which the histories and aesthetics of experimental film and documentary film have overlapped. We will use this enquiry to inform a practical engagement with the techniques of documentary video and sound recording. The module will consist of a combination of screenings, seminars, practical workshops, and fieldwork.

Led by the module tutor, you will view, listen to and discuss a series of experimental documentary works, and engage with a series of key theoretical works. This seminar-based critical-theoretical work will fuel the practical experimentation undertaken as part of the workshops. These workshops will allow you to explore issues of technique, method, aesthetics and ethics through fieldwork and practical tasks.

You will gain sufficient skills in sound and video recording to allow you to develop inventive, critically informed practical approaches to the investigation of space and society using audio-visual technologies.

This module aims to provide you with a detailed grounding in the various ways by which film culture has been conceptualised, articulated and disseminated at key moments in the history of the moving image. You will pay close attention to certain forms, spaces and sites of meaning that have sustained global film culture such as the film club, the specialist film journal, the cinematheque, the museum, the local and the global film festival, contemporary DVD publishing and the internet (including contemporary streaming platforms, blogs and websites). You will explore the ongoing critical debates that have helped shaped an understanding of these phenomena. Important dimensions of this module will include its international range, a fieldwork visit to a major film festival, a visiting speaker programme, and the opportunity for you to replace a conventional written assignment with a practical curatorial project.


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