Film Studies: An Introduction (EAS1034)

StaffDr James Lyons -
Credit Value15
ECTS Value7.5
NQF Level4
Duration of Module Term 2: 11 weeks;

Module aims

This module aims to introduce students to the study of film, allowing them to analyse diverse modes of film form and style. It shows them cinema through a range of critical lenses or frames, introducing them to the key critical and theoretical concepts in film studies. The module offers students practice in developing and using a vocabulary to analyse film elements such as editing, framing, staging, camera movement, composition and sound; storytelling and point of view; acting and performance. It then moves on to cover key theoretical

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Demonstrate a critical appreciation of some of the dominant concepts, methods and debates informing the study of film and the cinema
  • 2. Demonstrate an ability to analyse the form and content of particular films
  • 3. Demonstrate an awareness of the variety of ways in which films can be compared and contrasted with one another
  • 4. Demonstrate an understanding of how different traditions of filmmaking can differ from those of Hollywood

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 5. Demonstrate a basic ability to analyse film of different periods and to relate its concerns and its modes of expression to its historical context
  • 6. Demonstrate fundamental skills in the close formal, thematic, generic, and authorial analysis of different kinds of films
  • 7. Demonstrate fundamental skills in the research and evaluation of relevant critical and historical materials for the study of film
  • 8. Demonstrate a basic ability to interrelate texts and discourses specific to their own discipline with issues in the wider context of cultural and intellectual history
  • 9. Demonstrate a basic ability to understand and analyse relevant theoretical ideas, and to apply these ideas to films

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 10. Through seminar work, demonstrate basic communication skills, and an ability to work both individually and in groups
  • 11. Through writing assessments, demonstrate appropriate research and bibliographic skills, a basic capacity to construct a coherent, substantiated argument, and a capacity to write clear and correct prose
  • 12. Through research for seminars and essays, demonstrate basic proficiency in information retrieval and analysis

Syllabus plan


BLOCK 1: The Film Studies Toolkit


1. Cinematography and mise-en-scene
2. Approaches to Editing
3. Narrative and Narration
4. Contemporary Narrative Styles
5. Film Sound
6. Group Presentations


BLOCK 2: Debates and Approaches in Film Theory


7. Transnational cinemas
8. Spectatorship and the Gaze
9. Authorship
10. Genre
11. Star Theory


Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled learning and teaching activities11Lectures, 11x1hr
Scheduled learning and teaching activities16.5Seminars, 11x1.5hr
Scheduled learning and teaching activities22Screenings, 11x2hr
Guided Independent Study22study group meetings and preparation
Guided Independent Study42seminar preparation (individual)
Guided independent Study36.5reading, research and essay preparation

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
500 word sequence analysis500 words1-9, 11, 12Feedback sheet with opportunity for office hours follow-up.
Group Presentation15 mins 1-12Feedback sheet with opportunity for office hours follow-up.

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay901500 words1-9, 11, 12 Feedback sheet with opportunity for office hours follow-up.
Seminar Participation10Continuous1-10, 12Feedback sheet with opportunity for tutorial follow- up

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
EssayEssay 1500 words1-9, 11, 12 Referral/deferral period
Seminar ParticipationRepeat Study or mitigation1-10, 12 Referral/deferral period

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Basic reading:

Core Viewing:

The Big Sleep (Howard Hawks, 1946)

Man with a Movie Camera (Dziga Vertov, 1928)

Letter from an Unknown Woman (Max Ophuls, 1948)

Elephant (Gus Van Sant, 2003)

Gravity (Alfonso Cauron, 2013)

Psycho (Alfred Hitchcock, 1959)

Badlands (Terence Malick, 1973)

Edge of Heaven (Fatih Akin, 2007)

Blue Velvet (David Lynch, 1986)

Breakfast at Tiffany's (Blake Edwards, 1961)


Core Reading:
David Bordwell, The McGraw-Hill Film Viewer's Guide.

David Bordwell and Kristin Thompson, Film Art, chapters entitled 'The Shot: Mise en Scene', 'The Shot: Cinematographic Properties' and 'The Relation of Shot to Shot: Editing'

Vance Kepley Jr. 'Spatial Articulation in the Classical Cinema.' Wide Angle 5:3 (1983), pp.50-8


Secondary Reading:

David Thomson, The Big Sleep (London: BFI, 1997)

Dan North, 'The 180-degree Rule'

David Bordwell & Kristin Thompson, Film Art: An Introduction (various editions)

David Bordwell, The McGraw-Hill Film Viewer's Guide (McGraw Hill, 2001)

Barry Keith Grant (ed.) Auteurs and Authorship (Blackwell, 2008)

John Hill & Pamela Church Gibson, The Oxford Guide to Film Studies (Oxford UP, 1998)

James Monaco, How to Read a Film (OUP USA, 2000)

Steve Neale, Genre and Hollywood (Routledge, 2000)

Robert Stam, Film Theory: An Introduction (Blackwell, 2000)

Module has an active ELE page?


Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

The Bill Douglas Centre:
Spectacular Attractions blog:
Yale Film Studies:
David Bordwell:
The Bioscope:

Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date


Key words search

Film, English