Conceptualising Film - FILM8120

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2024 to 2025
Spring Term 7 30 (15) Lavinia Brydon checkmark-circle


Since the advent of recorded moving images as a potent sociocultural phenomenon and aesthetic form in the late nineteenth century, film and cinema have inspired a voluminous diversity of writing: utopian celebrations of a new art and leisure activity, fan mail to stars, jeremiads of impending moral doom, reviews and critiques, and, eventually, theoretical and empirical scholarship in the context of an academic discipline. This module makes this writing and thinking about film its central focus. Although particular topics and emphases vary from year to year, responding to current public discussions and cutting-edge research, the course maintains its focus on empowering students to be able to better read, understand, test, apply and interrogate complex conceptual thinking on film; to recognise the purposes and audiences of diverse forms of writing about film; to rigorously debate and formulate theoretical questions about film and media culture; and to bring these insights to bear on exemplary film screenings.


Contact hours

Total Contact Hours: 55
Private Study Hours: 245
Total Study Hours: 300

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods:

Essay (4000 words) – 50%
Digital Portfolio – 50%

Reassessment methods:

Indicative reading

Indicative Reading List:

Balázs, B. (1970). Theory of the Film, trans. Edith Bone, New York: Dover.
Barker, M. and Brooks, K. (1998). Knowing Audiences: Judge Dredd - Its Friends, Fans and Foes. Luton: University of Luton Press.
Mulvey, L. (2009). Visual and Other Pleasures, (2nd Edition), New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
Schoonover, K. & Galt, R. (2016) Queer Cinema in the World. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.
Stam, R. (2000) Film Theory: An Introduction. Chichester: Wiley.
Thornham, S. (ed) (1999). Feminist Film Theory: A Reader, New York: New York University Press.

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 Reflect upon the diversity of ways that film and/or cinema have been written about and theorised;
2 Demonstrate a sophisticated understanding of the aesthetic, cultural and commercial strategies of particular films in light of writers' and scholars' conceptualisations;
3 Evaluate the potential and limitations of particular conceptual frameworks in elucidating film/cinema;
4 Demonstrate sophisticated skills in cogent and rigorous debate about film and/or cinema and its cultural, social and aesthetic value;
5 Demonstrate understanding of the historical trajectory of the theory of film.

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

1 Critically analyse and make use of reading material and conceptual frameworks;
2 Give sustained attention and concentration to examine the details of texts;
3 Demonstrate advanced skills of cogency, structure and presentation of arguments;
4 Communicate appropriately according to purpose.


  1. Credit level 7. Undergraduate or postgraduate masters level module.
  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.
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