Film History : Research Methods - FI813

Location Term Level Credits (ECTS) Current Convenor 2018-19 2019-20
(version 4)
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7 30 (15) DR T Jeffers McDonald
(version 4)
View Timetable
7 30 (15)




This module is available as a wild module



This course examines film history and historiography through case studies. In carrying out this investigation students will be encouraged to work with archive and primary sources held in libraries, museums and archives. For students studying at the Paris campus this would include, for example the Cinémathèque Française, the Bibliothèque Nationale, the American Library in Paris and the Paris Diderot library. This will help them to evaluate and contest received histories, which may be based on aesthetic, technological, economic, and/or social formations. Through this investigation students will be better able to understand the role and value of the contextual study of film, while having the opportunity to research and write on an aspect of film history. The choice of case study will depend upon the expertise of the module convenor but will typically be from French film history.


This module appears in:

Contact hours

Two hour seminars, one hour lectures and two hour screenings per week.

Method of assessment

100% coursework: Essay(s) (90%); Seminar performance (10%)

Preliminary reading

Allen, Robert C. & Gomery, Douglas, Film History: Theory and Practice (New York: McGraw Hill, 1985)
Andrew, Dudley, Mists of Regret. Culture & Sensibility in Classic French Film (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1995)
Biltereyst, D., Maltby, R. & Meers, P. (eds.), New Cinema History: approaches and case studies (Cambridge: Wiley Blackwell, 2011)
Bordwell, David & Thompson, Kristen, Film History: an introduction (New York: McGraw Hill, 2009)
Grainge, P. et al (eds.), Film Histories: an introduction and reader (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2007)
Staiger, Janet, Interpreting Film: Studies in the Historical Reception of American Cinema (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1992)
Williams, Alan, Republic of Images: A History of French Filmmaking (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1992)

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

See the library reading list for this module (Medway)

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course, students will have:
a) reflected upon film historiography
b) explored the history of film scholarship with a special focus on French film history
c) undertaken the study of primary source material available in Paris
d) evaluated traditional approaches to film history, for example, aesthetic, technological, economic, and social film histories
e) developed their understanding of the role and value of the contextual study of film
f) had the opportunity to research and write on an aspect of film history

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