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Irony in Film

We often feel the need use the word ‘irony’ when discussing films, but what exactly does this mean? Although the concept has been much debated in other disciplines, irony has been surprisingly under-explored by film scholarship. As such, this module offers students the chance to be among the first to attempt to answer fundamental questions, many of which get to the heart of artistic expression in this medium. How can we know if a film or film moment is ironic? How can films create irony? Might certain properties of filmmaking help or hinder its ability to communicate ironically? What might irony have to do with issues like intention, evaluation, and morality? Irony in Film will combine in-depth theorising with detailed close analysis of specific films, allowing you to produce fresh insights into this tricky but fascinating subject. The module is assessed by one 5,000-word essay on a film of your choice, and will likely involve screenings of work by directors such as Alfred Hitchcock, Robert Altman, Michael Haneke, and the Coen Brothers.


Module Resources

Reading list

Module Leader


Dr. James MacDowell