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2019/20 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

ARTF2044 Cinema and Culture

20 creditsClass Size: 25

Module manager: Claudia Sternberg

Taught: Semester 1 View Timetable

Year running 2019/20

Pre-requisite qualifications

20 or more credits of level 1 ARTF coded modules or in related areas (e.g. Media and Communication).

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

Lectures will concentrate on detailed readings and discussion of the set texts and films screened for the module to develop skills in visual analysis, research, the terminology of cinema studies and practices of studying (film) texts. The relationship of cinema and culture will be examined through examples from film noir, the Western, melodrama, counter cinema and the American avant garde; the films of Hitchcock and Powell and Pressburger, Maya Deren through to art practices that revisit and expand aspects of these texts, such as the work of Peter Gidal, Malcom Le Grice, Sally Potter and Atom Egoyan.ScreeningsThe readings and seminar discussions relate to screenings. You should take notes during and after each viewing session. This will enable you to keep notes about scenes, shots, colour, sound and narrative and so track your skills in film analysis as they develop. The notes also offer a starting point for further research on the films, directors, cinematographers and actors before and after each session.


This module examines the complex relationship between filmic texts, the cinema and culture. It will discuss a selection of theoretical concepts integral to questions surrounding the social functioning of cinema, including the complex of industrial and technological processes, semiotics, authorship, narrative, genre, the spectator, the body and the gaze.
Cinema is seen as an apparatus working on both ideology and desire, i.e. dealing with social constructions of class, race, gender and sexuality and with the modes of fascination, fetishism, fantasy – in short: subjectivity. The aim is to comprehend these key concepts and to catch this double thread of meaning and pleasure.
The module themes and concepts are approached by looking comparatively at films and their remake(s) and by connecting films that employ similar or related strategies (generic, formal, thematic) in a previously identified area. Students engage with relevant discourses and make detailed analyses of screenings, readings and terminologies.

Learning outcomes
By the end of the module, students are able to -
- research individual films and analyse them closely, using the language of film analysis
- use, and also find, appropriate theoretical and historical secondary literature to inform and direct their independent reading of individual films
- recognise, analyse and describe the cultural and historical dimensions of the relationship between 'urtext' and 'remake' (Part One of the module) and generic, formal and thematic variation (Part Two of the module)
- present an advanced comparative film analysis, both orally and in writing, explicitly drawing on critical concepts from film and cultural studies as well as displaying close viewing skills
- make links between this and other modules in terms of subject matter and critical approaches

Skills outcomes
- Verbal and written fluency in constructing a logical and coherent argument;
- Use of audio visual aids;
- Participation in group discussions;
- Co-ordination and dissemination of a range of historical, contextual visual information;
- Using bibliographies and databases.


Indicative breakdown of weekly sessions:
WEEK 1: Cinema and Culture (Introduction, module and assessment overview)
WEEK 2: Remakes: A Case Study
WEEK 3: All That Heaven Allows: Melodrama, Gender, Genre
WEEK 4: Fear East the Soul: Remaking (In) Europe
WEEK 5: Far from Heaven: Heaven Revisited in Post-classical Cinema
WEEK 6: Essay writing week
WEEK 7: Gaze and Look
WEEK 8: Narration: Showing and Telling the Tale
WEEK 9: Cinematic Realism and its Discontent
WEEK 10: Group Presentations
WEEK 11: Conclusion and Final Assessment Advice

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Film Screenings102.0020.00
Private study hours160.00
Total Contact hours40.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

160 hours - further reading, class/essay preparation and preparation for group presentations. Also possible longer screenings.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Although assessed, the in-term submission of the essay draft is seen as a formative step towards the essay final (see also the assessment rationale below). The allocated 40% ensure that students engage fully with the drafting process and make a serious effort to compile a viable bibliography.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay1500-2000 words + bibliography40.00
Essay2500-3000 word essay + reverse outline60.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

There is no reading list for this module

Last updated: 30/04/2019


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