Introduction to Film Analysis (EAF1503)

StaffDr Lisa Stead - Lecturer
Credit Value30
ECTS Value15
NQF Level4
Duration of Module Term 1: 11 weeks;

Module aims

• To give you detailed practice in developing and using a vocabulary to analyse films.

• To study films closely, investigating the ways in which elements such as framing, editing, staging, camera movement, narrative, sound and point of view contribute to films as a whole. You will explore these topics through the study of a wide array of films from different countries and different periods in cinema's history.

• To introduce you to supervised group work on a film of your choice by allocating four weeks of study as preparation for a twenty-minute group presentation.

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 a capacity to analyse the form and content of particular film texts
  • 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 different traditions of filmmaking in different national and international contexts

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 5. Demonstrate an ability to analyse films of different periods and to relate their concerns and modes of expression to their 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 apply these ideas to films

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 10. Through seminar work and group presentations, demonstrate communication skills and an ability to work both individually and in groups
  • 11. Through the writing of essays and other pieces of written work, demonstrate appropriate research and bibliographic skills, a capacity to construct a coherent, substantiated argument, and a capacity to write clear and correct prose
  • 12. Through research for seminars, essays and other pieces of written work, demonstrate a proficiency in formation retrieval and analysis
  • 13. Through research, seminar discussion, and the writing of essays and other pieces of written work, demonstrate a capacity to question assumptions, distinguish between fact and opinion, and reflect critically on their own learning

Syllabus plan

Whilst the content may vary from year to year, it is envisioned that it will cover some or all of the following topics:

  • Mise-en-scene analysis
  • Exploring cinematography
  • Approaches to editing
  • Narrative, narration and storytelling styles and structures
  • Sound analysis
  • Genre analysis
  • Authorship
  • Spectatorship
  • Stardom
  • Realism

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 teaching16.5Lecture – 1 x 1.5 hours weekly
Scheduled learning and teaching22Seminar – 1 x 2 hours weekly
Scheduled learning and teaching55Screening – 2 x 2.5 hours weekly
Scheduled learning and teaching16.5Workshop – 1 x 1.5 hours weekly
Scheduled learning and teaching97Seminar and workshop prep
Guided independent study93Research and essay writing

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Sequence analysis1000 words1, 2, 5, 6, 12Written and oral
Group presentation15 minutes1-11, 13Written and oral

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
Essay plan101 side A41-9, 11-13Written and oral
Essay8025001-9, 11-13Written and oral
Seminar participation10Continuous 1-10, 12-13Written and oral

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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Essay2500 words1-9, 11-13Referral/deferral period
Essay plan1 side A41-9, 11-13Referral/deferral period
Seminar participationSeminar participation1-10, 12-13Repeat study or mitigation

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) you will be required to submit a further assessment as necessary. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 40%.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Indicative reading:

  • Bordwell, David and Kristin Thompson. Film Art: An Introduction. London: McGraw Hill.
  • Bordwell, David. The Way Hollywood Tells It: Story and Style in Modern Movies. Berkeley: U of California P, 2006. Print.
  • Chion, Michel.  Audio-Vision: Sound on Screen,  Columbia University Press, 1994
  • Smith, Murray. “Altered States: Character and Emotional Response in the Cinema.” Cinema Journal, vol. 33, no.4, Summer 1994, pp. 34-56.
  • Altman, Rick.  Film/Genre, BFI, 1999.
  • Neale, Steve.  Genre and Hollywood, Routledge, 2000.
  • Staiger, Janet. 'Authorship Approaches',  Authorship and Film,  edited by David A. Gerstner and Janet Staiger, Routledge, 2002, pp. 27-60.
  • Naremore, James.  Acting in the Cinema, University of California Press, 1988, pp. 21-98.
  • Kaplan, E. Ann (2000) "Is the Gaze Male?” In E. Ann Kaplan (ed.), Feminism and Film. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp.119-138.
  • Bazin, Andre. 'The Ontology of the Photographic Image.'  Film Quarterly, vol. 13, no. 4, Summer 1960, pp. 4-9.

Indicative film texts:

  • Moonlight  (Barry Jenkins, US, 2016)
  • Gentlemen Prefer Blondes  (Howard Hawks, US, 1953)
  • Jules et Jim  (Francois Truffaut, France, 1962)
  • Marie Antoinette  (Sophia Coppola, US, 2006)
  • Lost in Translation  (Sophia Coppola, US, 2003)
  • Badlands  (Terence Malick, US, 1973)
  • Edge of Heaven  (Fatih Akin, Germany/Turkey, 2007)
  • The Lunchbox  (Ritesh Batra, India, 2013)
  • Letter from an Unknown Woman  (Max Ophuls, US, 1948)
  • The Big Sleep  (Howard Hawks, US, 1946)
  • Man with a Movie Camera  (Dziga Vertov, Russia, 1929)
  • Black Narcissus  (Michael Powell and Emetic Pressburger, UK, 1947)
  • Volver  (Pedro Almodovar, Spain, 2006)

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Key words search

film, television, media, theory, analysis, film form, style, mise-en-scene, cinematography, narrative, representation, digital