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BA Music and Drama / Course details

Year of entry: 2020

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Course unit details:
Films about Film

Unit code DRAM30801
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by Drama
Available as a free choice unit? No


This course will introduce students, through a range of films across history, genres, and popular and world cinemas, to the study of ‘self-reflexive cinema’, that is, cinema that foregrounds its own narrative and stylistic devices in order to reflect on its own processes of meaning making.

Students will be introduced to and asked to consider critically the politics of cultural production and self-reflexivity, through theoretical debates such as that between formalism and realism in film theory; theoretical concepts such as intertextuality; the history of film genres and the development of cultural literacies; as well as the psycho-social functions of voyeurism, cinephilia and cultural memory.


Pre-requisite units


Any L1 Drama Study or Practical core option

Any L2 Drama Study core option - Practitioners in Context 1; Practitioners in Context 2; Screen, Culture and Society


Co-requisite units






  • to consider films that make film-making or spectatorship the central subject of the narrative or style
  • to explore how these films enable us as film scholars and students to address theoretical debates on various aspects of the medium, such as questions of form, of production and reception and wider socio-political contexts
  • to explore the medium's capacity for self-reflexivity and its implications for cultural memory and history


Indicative syllabus (representative only – all of the topics listed below may not be covered every year):

1.      Introduction: Metafiction, death, dreams and magic

2.      Authorial reflexivity and the anxiety of influence

3.      Illusionism and artifice

4.      Carnival and allusion

5.      Intertextuality

6.      Adaptation

7.      Spectatorship and subjectivity

8.      Cinephilia

9.      Industrial reflexivity

10.  Cinema as memory

11.  Group presentations and course evaluation

Teaching and learning methods

The course will be taught via:

·         Lectures

·         Discussion exercises

·         Screenings


The course unit will be complemented by a Blackboard site that conforms to minimum requirements including a course handbook, weekly course breakdown, provision of reading material, reading lists. Supplementary material from workshops will be added as appropriate. The blackboard site will be prepared and available to students at least one week prior to the beginning of the first teaching week each semester.

Knowledge and understanding

·       develop an advanced analysis of film form and aesthetics and engage with wider theoretical debates about the medium and its history to inform this analysis

·       contextualise films and film-making within broader socio-political and industrial developments

critically explore the relationship between the dynamics of film form and spectatorship, and psycho-social processes of meaning-making

Intellectual skills

·         Develop an independent line of analysis and argument in response to complex film material and theory

·         Demonstrate an advanced understanding of cultural and theoretical applications to screen texts

·         Demonstrate an advanced level of close screen textual analysis

Extrapolate concepts from close analysis and reading in order to support arguments

Practical skills

  •  Group work and discussions
  •  Oral presentation of ideas and intellectual arguments in class discussions
  • Critical writing skills
  • Photo/visual/video essay design and presentation. 

Transferable skills and personal qualities

·         demonstrate an advanced ability to self-manage learning – to ask questions independently, identify relevant research material, take initiative, make decisions, and develop independent and sustained responses to complex problems

demonstrate an advanced ability to develop sustained arguments and present these effectively in written and oral form

Employability skills

Analytical skills
¿ Advanced critical thinking, problem-solving and planning skills
Group/team working
¿ Working productively as part of a group and independently in learning environments that present complex and unpredictable challenges
¿ Advanced ability to exercise initiative and personal responsibility
¿ Ability to effectively adapt self-presentation to difference audiences/contexts, especially when communicating complex topics

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written assignment (inc essay) 60%
Project output (not diss/n) 40%

Feedback methods

 Feedback method

Formative or Summative

Presentation – written


Essay - written


Consultation on items of assessment - oral



Recommended reading

de Valck, Marijke and Malte Hagener, eds. (2005) Cinephilia: Movies, Love and Memory. Amsterdam University Press.

Dunne, Michael (2001) Intertextual Encounters in American Fiction, Film and Popular Culture. Bowling Green State University Popular Press.

Grainge, Paul, ed. (2003) Memory and Popular Film. Manchester University Press.

Grant, Barry Keith (2003) Film Genre Reader III. University of Texas Press. (multiple editions)

Keathley, Christian (2006) Cinephilia and History, or The Wind in the Trees. Indiana University Press.

Kolker, Robert Phillip (2006) Film, Form and Culture. McGraw-Hill.

Noth, Winfried and Nina Bishara, eds. (2007) Self-reference in the Media. Mouton de Gruyter.

Worton, Michael and Judith Still (1990) Intertextuality: Theories and Practices. Manchester University Press.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 33
Independent study hours
Independent study 167

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Felicia Chan Unit coordinator

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