BA Film Studies and Russian / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
The Art of Film

Course unit fact file
Unit code DRAM10031
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 1
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by Drama
Available as a free choice unit? No


This course will introduce students to the principles and major areas involved in the study of film. The course will familiarise students with essential theoretical concepts and technical terminology in order to enhance their powers of close analysis and understanding of film form.  The course will detail the audio-visual properties of film through a discussion of cinematography, montage, mise-en-scène, narrative, genre, music, the role of the director and star and the process of adaptation. 

A range of select films from different cinemas will be used and placed in their cultural and historical context, including British, German, Hollywood, Italian, Japanese and Soviet cinema. Key films include Sunrise, Citizen KanePunishment ParkBattle of Algiers, Wonder Woman.


  • To develop students’ critical and technical vocabulary for the analysis and discussion of film
  • To enhance students’ ability to evaluate films, both from aesthetic perspectives and as social documents
  • To develop students’ understanding of how a film’s formal properties (e.g. Elements of audio-visual style and narrative structure) can have ideological and socio-political connotation
  • To expand students’ awareness of both mainstream and non-mainstream film cultures including significant examples of non-Anglophone cinema
  • To nurture an enthusiasm and appreciation for film as an art form

Learning outcomes



Teaching and learning methods

The lectures for this course unit will be delivered online.

Knowledge and understanding

  • display an understanding of the craft of filmmaking
  • locate a film in its historical and social context
  • demonstrate an understanding of how films communicate ideas with a particular emphasis on a film’s audio-visual properties
  • display a broad understanding of major developments in film history
  • assess critically a film in terms of narrative, genre, authorship, photography, mise-en-scène, editing, music and performance

Intellectual skills

  • Critically analyse and interrogate films and related sources (posters, trailers, reviews and industry documents)
  • Learn how to historically contextualise films and practitioners, and to draw on contextualisation to develop understanding
  • Critically evaluate a series of films, practitioners and theoretical debates in relation to key moments of socio-political change in relevant territories
  • Synthesise theoretical and technical terms and concepts and apply these to analysis and argument 

Practical skills

  • Research academic and non-academic materials, and evaluate the effectiveness of these materials as supporting evidence for individual essays and presentations
  • Plan, undertake and evaluate independent critical work
  • Use relevant software to collect, compile and present audio-visual material for presentations
  • Communicate research material both verbally, audio-visually and in writing

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Basic interpersonal communication skills

  • Ability to analyse concepts, techniques, methods, materials (films, promotional documents such as posters and trailers etc.), - independently and with others

  • Ability to draw on individual research/preparation to engage in discussions in learning environments

  • Ability to present self effectively – through discussion and in writing (including adherence to academic conventions)

Employability skills

Analytical skills
Ability to engage productively with intellectual challenges
Group/team working
Working productively as part of a group and independently
Project management
Basic time management skills - working to deadlines and under pressure
Oral communication
Enhanced communication skills - verbal, written, prepared/rehearsed, improvised
Problem solving
Basic critical thinking and problem-solving skills
Basic planning skills - developing a planned approach to tasks

Assessment methods

Essay 60%
Sequence Analysis 40%
Presentation NA (formative)


Feedback methods

Feedback method

Formative or Summative

Verbal in class feedback on seminar presentation


Written feedback on final essay


Written feedback on analysis


Additional one-to-one feedback (during consultation hours or by making an appointment)

Formative and Summative


Recommended reading

Bazin, André. 2005. What is Cinema? Volume 1. Translated by Hugh Gray. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press.

Bordwell, David, Thompson, Kristin and Smith, Jeff (eds). 2017. Film Art: An Introduction (Eleventh Edition).  New York: McGraw Hill.

Braudy, Leo and Cohen, Marshall (eds). 2009. Film Theory and Criticism: Introductory Readings (Seventh Edition). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Dix, Andrew. 2016. Beginning Film Studies (Second Edition). Manchester: Manchester University Press.

Geiger, Jeffrey and Rutsky, R.L. (eds). 2005. Film Analysis. New York and London: W.W. Norton.

Hayward, Susan. 2013. Cinema Studies: The Key Concepts (Fourth Edition). Abingdon and New York: Routledge.

Hooks, B. 1996. Reel to real¿: race, sex, and class at the movies . London: Routledge

Knight, J and Gledhill C  (eds.).2016. Doing Women’s Film History: reframing cinemas past and present.

Shohat, E. and Stam, R. 2014. Unthinking Eurocentrism¿: multiculturalism and the media. Second edition. Oxfordshire, England¿;: Routledge

Thompson-Jones, Katherine. 2008. Aesthetics and Film. London: Continuum.


Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 11
Seminars 16.5
Independent study hours
Independent study 172.5

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Victoria Lowe Unit coordinator

Additional notes

Plus two weekly film screenings with short introductions.

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