European Political Cinema - SCL504

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2020 to 2021
Spring 6 15 (7.5) DR A Marlow-Mann checkmark-circle


This module examines the various ways in which cinema can be used to articulate a political message or advance a political cause. Drawing on films from the major Western European nations (e.g. France, German, Italy and Spain) and from a variety of historical periods from the 1930s to the present, it will examine and contrast the ideological functions of cinema in a range of different geopolitical contexts. The films studied will encompass a range of forms such as explicit propaganda films of the totalitarian regimes, left-wing counter-cultural filmmaking of the sixties, and popular genres such as the 'political thriller'.


This module appears in the following module collections.

Contact hours

Total Contact Hours: 20

Method of assessment

Essay 1 (1,500 words) – 40%
Essay 2 (1,500 words) – 40%
Seminar Presentation (10 minutes) – 20%

Indicative reading

Indicative Reading List:

Bordwell, D. and Thompson, K. (1994) 'Political Cinema in the West' in Film History: An Introduction. New York: McGraw-Hill
Kellner, D. (1993) 'Film, Politics, and Ideology: Towards a Multiperspectival Film Theory' in James Combs (ed.) Movies and Politics: The Dynamic Relationship. New York/ London: Garland Publishing
Halligan, B. (2016) Desires for Reality: Radicalism and Revolution in Western European Film. New York/ Oxford: Berghahn Books
Lombardi, G. (ed.) (2016) Italian Political Cinema. Oxford/ Bern/ Berlin/ Bruxelles/ Frankfurt/ New York/ Wien: Peter Lang
Tzioumakis, Y. and Molloy, C. (eds) (2016) The Routledge Companion to Cinema and Politics. London/ New York: Routledge

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

Demonstrate cogent understanding of the ways in which ideology functions within a mass media form such as the cinema;
Demonstrate conceptual understanding of current approaches to the relationship between film and politics;
Comprehensively analyse, using established techniques, the different ways in which cinema has functioned politically in a range of national, historical and political contexts within Europe;
Critically engage with a number of films and demonstrate coherent and detailed knowledge of different European national traditions.


  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.
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