Film Criticism - FILM5850

Looking for a different module?

Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2021 to 2022
Spring Term 6 30 (15) Cecilia Sayad checkmark-circle


This course introduces students to the history and theory of film criticism, emphasising the coexistence of different approaches to the analysis, evaluation and appreciation of film. The module will also have a practical aspect, offering students the opportunity to write critical pieces on the films screened for the class. In addition to traditional lectures and seminars, some sessions will be devoted to writing and to analysing fellow students' work. Participants will also be encouraged to reflect critically on different media of film criticism (newspapers, magazines, academic journals, the internet, television) and on the current state of film criticism.


Contact hours

Total contact hours: 60
Private study hours: 240
Total study hours: 300

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods:

Dossier of Capsule Reviews (2000 words) (50%)
Dossier of Longer Critical Pieces (4000 words) (50%)

Reassessment methods:
Like for Like

Indicative reading

Indicative Reading List:

Mattias Frey and Cecilia Sayad (eds.), Film Criticism in the Digital Age. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2015.
Manny Farber, Negative Space: Manny Farber on the Movies. New York: Da Capo Press, 1998.
J. Hoberman, The Dream Life: Movies, Media, and the Mythology of the Sixties. New York: New Press, 2003.
Philip Lopate (ed.), American Movie Critics: An Anthology From the Silents Until Now. New York: Library of America, 2006
Greg Taylor, Artists in the Audience: Cults, Camp, and American Film Criticism. Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press, 1999.
Parker Tyler, Magic and Myth of the Movies. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1947.

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1 Demonstrate knowledge of the history of Anglophone film criticism in the context of both other forms of criticism as well as other language criticisms and have the ability to coherently articulate their understanding of the relationships between these developments;
2 Understand the different modes of analysis made possible by key methods of enquiry and be able to demonstrate their relevance to understanding the impact of film criticism on both moving image making and the ways in which an audience engages with moving images;
3 Devise a discussion of film criticism through a sustained engagement with key methods of enquiry based on a synthesis of historical, theoretical, and aesthetic approaches;
4 Understand the interplay between film criticism and film culture through their research into relevant scholarly literature.

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1 Develop skills of critical and historical analysis of the moving image, together with generic intellectual skills of synthesis, summarisation, critical judgement and problem-solving that will allow for the construction of original and persuasive arguments;
2 Develop the skills of communication, improving performance, problem-solving, and working with others;
3 Communicate effectively, using appropriate vocabulary, ideas and arguments in both a written and oral form;
4 Read critically, analyse and use a range of primary and secondary texts;
5 Locate and use appropriately a range of learning and reference resources (including moving image resources) within the Templeman Library and elsewhere, including the internet;
6 Employ information technologies to research and present their work;
7 Demonstrate the acquisition of an independent learning style; for example in the preparation and presentation of course work, in carrying out independent research, in showing the ability to reflect on their own learning and by mediating complex arguments in both oral and written form;
8 Approach problem-solving creatively, and form critical and evaluative judgments about the appropriateness of these approaches to a level where a substantial degree of autonomy and self-reflexive awareness is achieved in these tasks.


  1. Credit level 6. Higher level module usually taken in Stage 3 of an undergraduate degree.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
Back to top

University of Kent makes every effort to ensure that module information is accurate for the relevant academic session and to provide educational services as described. However, courses, services and other matters may be subject to change. Please read our full disclaimer.