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2021/22 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

COMM3120 Film Theory and Aesthetics

20 creditsClass Size: 48

Module manager: Dr Paul A Taylor

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2021/22

This module is not approved as a discovery module


This module aims to provide students with a thorough background in the interpretation and aesthetic appreciation of film. It does this by using a number of detailed case studies of specific films as well as providing an overview of the broader analytical debates that surround them.

Students will gain familiarity with a range of structures and methodologies useful for theoretically interpreting and aesthetically appreciating diverse film genres.

Detailed knowledge will be gained of the debates surrounding films viewed in a predominantly aesthetic manner (an art form), and more theoretically, as part of an ideological project - Hollywood's dream factory. Particular attention is paid in the module to cutting-edge approaches to cinema derived from the European tradition of critical theory.

Learning outcomes
1. Demonstrate knowledge of the key themes relating to film theory and aesthetics
2. Demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between theory, criticism and analysis
3. Apply theoretical models to critical readings of films
4. Express complex ideas in an academic essay

Skills outcomes
Critical thinking and textual analysis.


Lecture 1 - Introduction to Aesthetics & Ideology in Cinema
Lecture 2 - What's wrong with Hollywood?
Lecture 3 - Realism, Neo-Realism & The Fright of Real Tears
Lecture 4 - Hollywood as a sublime system of Ideology
Lecture 5 - Psychoanalytical interpretations of Cinema
Lecture 6 - Psychoanalytical interpretations of Cinema continued
Lecture 7 - Hitchcock's oeuvre
Lecture 8 - The Real Horror in Films
Lecture 9 - Film Noir
Lecture 10 - Alternatives to Hollywood - "World Cinema"
Lecture 11 - Conclusion

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Film Screenings102.0020.00
Private study hours158.00
Total Contact hours42.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Students are expected to read and view material related to the module outside taught sessions, consisting both of prescribed books, visual material, and other relevant material discovered through their own research.

Approximate breakdown of study time:
Background Reading/Viewing and Essay preparation - 120 hours
Essay writing - 38 hours

An extensive collection of books, journals and DVDs is available in the Edward Boyle Library to support this private study, and this collection is being continually added to.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Detailed class discussions are focused upon both the modules overall themes and essay-specific material in order to monitor students' conceptual progress.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay1 x 2,500- 3,000 word assessed essay excluding footnotes and bibliographies50.00
Essay1 x 2,500-3,000 word assessed essays excluding footnotes and bibliographies50.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

To resit any component on this module please select an alternative essay title from the module handbook

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 19/07/2021 16:37:26


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