Introduction to Film (SML1207)

StaffProfessor Danielle Hipkins - Convenor
Credit Value15
ECTS Value7.5
NQF Level4
Duration of Module Term 1: 12 weeks;

Module aims

This module aims to:

  • introduce you to the study of film, through a series of specialist lectures, each focussed on one film, and on a particular aspect of film-making, you will learn to analyse a number of film styles. By focussing on different aspects of film-making you will learn more about how to read a film’s narrative, cinematography, and soundtrack.
  • discover the importance of genre, directors, and stars in shaping a film’s success. The module will enable you to develop two key skills in the study of film. It will teach you how to carry out a clip analysis, enabling you to read the language of a film in a particular clip very closely, as you learn how narrative, mise-en-scene, camerawork, editing, and soundtrack work together to create certain effects and generate possible meanings.
  • teach you how to write a film essay or to make and write about a video essay, in which you put together a series of clips of your choice, using the medium of film itself to reflect upon how films exert their sometimes powerful effect. The module’s focus on the figure of the child will help you to make connections across the diverse films, because the child is often seen as a universal mechanism for drawing viewers into the text and helping them to relate to the narrative in particular ways.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Demonstrate an informed understanding and detailed knowledge of the works studied on the module
  • 2. Demonstrate an understanding of how those works are linked through the figure of the child

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 3. Use a range of film-critical terminology, applying it to material introduced by the course tutor
  • 4. Carry out a sequence analysis, paying attention to the way in which meaning is informed by key aspects of film language or style
  • 5. Create a video or a written essay as a means of communicating your ideas about film themes and language

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 6. Through written analysis, demonstrate appropriate research and bibliographic skills, a capacity to construct a coherent, substantiated argument and to write clear and correct prose
  • 7. Through work on the video or written essay, demonstrate the ability to research, collate and manage video or written material in the creation of an argument, using diverse IT skills

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:

  • You will watch and learn about a range of films, probably from Italian, French, Spanish, Russian, German and Portuguese language cinemas.
  • Each weekly lecture will focus on a particular aspect of film-making, whilst your seminar will offer the opportunity to develop your understanding through clip analysis and class discussion.

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 Teaching9Lectures
Scheduled Learning and Teaching6Seminars
Scheduled Learning and Teaching1Conclusions
Scheduled Learning and Teaching 14Screenings
Guided Independent Study120Private Study

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Clip analysis500 words1, 3-4, 6Written 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
Clip analysis501000 words1, 3-4, 6Written
Video essay and commentary OR essay502-3 minutes, + 500 word commentary OR 1000 word essay1-7Written

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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Clip analysisClip analysis1, 3-4, 6Referral/Deferral period
Video essay + commentary OR essayVideo essay + commentary OR 1000 word essay1-7Referral/Deferral period

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

Basic reading:

  • David Bordwell and Kristen Thompson, Film Art: an introduction, 6th edition (New York, London: Mcgraw-Hill, 2001)
  • Warren Buckland, ‘Film Aesthetics’ in Teach Yourself Film Studies, (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 2003), pp. 7-30
  • Stephanie Hemelryk Donald, Emma Wilson, and Sarah Wright (eds), Childhood and Nation in Contemporary World Cinema: Borders and Encounters (Bloomsbury, 2017)
  • Danielle Hipkins and Roger Pitt (eds), New Visions of the Child in Italian Cinema (Peter Lang, 2014)
  • Michael Lawrence and Susan Smith (eds) ‘The Child Performance dossier’,, Screen 53/4 (2012), 436-439
  • Vicky Lebeau, Childhood and Cinema (London: Reaktion Books, 2008)
  • Karen Lury, The Child in Film: Tears, fears and fairy tales (London: I.B. Tauris, 2010)
  • Neil Sinyard, Children in the Movies (London: Batsford, 1992)
  • Emma Wilson, ‘Children, Emotion and Viewing in contemporary European film’ in Screen 46/3 (2005), 329-340,.

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Key words search

Film style, film analysis, child, global cinema