FT1IFI-Introduction to Film

Module Provider: Film, Theatre and TV
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2018/9

Module Convenor: Dr Adam O'Brien

Email: adam.obrien@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:

What is film? How do films make meaning? How have diverse filmmakers and filmmaking conventions developed the medium into an art form? These questions form the basis of this module, which is designed to provide an introduction to the critical and historical study of film form and style. It introduces students to the ways in which meaning is produced and interpreted in cinema, using three case studies across two terms. Students apply their analytical, interpretive and research skills to three aesthetically, culturally and historically significant trends and movements in cinema history. An indicative list includes: modernist cinema in Europe of the 1920s; Classical Hollywood, 1930-60; documentary practices; global cities in cinema. 


This module aims to familiarise students with a range of critical and interpretative tools for the close analysis of film texts; to enhance their understanding of the ways that meaning is produced and organised in films; to enable them to recognise conventions of fiction and non-fiction cinema, and to describe them in appropriate terms; to enable them to recognise departures from mainstream convention, and to understand these systematically, and describe them in appropriate terms; to extend their understanding of cinema as a diverse, global and transcultural medium.?It further aims to enable students: to examine the historical and cultural contexts in which these texts were produced; to complement their own development as practitioners with stimulating contexts and references. 

Assessable learning outcomes:

By the end of the module it is expected that students will be able to:

• demonstrate skills of close analysis appropriate to film study;

• demonstrate through close analysis an understanding of the ways in which meaning is produced in films;

• use their knowledge of central conventions of film in order to make informed judgements and to develop clearly argued interpretations;

• articulate in written work a critical understanding of the cultural, historical and critical developments appropriate to the case studies

• relate patterns in film as artistic practice to its cultural and historical contexts;

• identify connections and patterns in cinema history across a diverse range of films.

Additional outcomes:

The module plays a significant role in the continuing development of other skills and competencies that are central to the course. It is expected that the level of skills and competencies achieved in the following will be appropriate to the level of study: oral communication and argument in group situations; deployment of research using printed and electronic resources; critical analysis and coherent argument; undertaking self-directed, independent work; presentation of written work using IT; identifying and addressing problems in the analysis of film and theatre. 

Outline content:

The first case study will emphasise the methods, skills and vocabulary of close textual analysis, with appropriate reference to historical and cultural contexts. The second two case studies will develop students’ engagement with broader critical questions, including (for example) realism and melodrama, cultural politics, audiences, technology, conflict. Throughout, the module will explore and model the three-way relationship between film forms, meanings and contexts.    

Global context:

The global coverage of the module’s content will vary depending on the case studies, but diversity and scope are essential. The module’s structure enables comparisons and connections to emerge between a number of regional, national and international contexts.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

This module employs a wide variety of teaching and learning methods: lectures, seminars or workshops, essays of different lengths, set readings, assessed presentations, screenings.?

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 9 9
Seminars 9 9
Supervised time in studio/workshop 18 18
External visits 3 3
Guided independent study 61 61
Total hours by term 100.00 100.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 50
Oral assessment and presentation 50

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

Students complete two coursework assignments of 2,000 words each or equivalent. One assignment may be in the form of a presentation, possibly including accompanying documentation. 

Formative assessment methods:

Students may undertake one formative learning activity in the Autumn Term designed to develop their skills of observation, analysis and articulation.

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convener will apply the following penalties for work submitted late:

  • where the piece of work is submitted after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for that piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day[1] (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Assessment requirements for a pass:
    A mark of 40% overall.

    Reassessment arrangements:
    Resubmission of failed coursework.

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
    1) Required text books:
    2) Specialist equipment or materials:
    3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
    4) Printing and binding:
    5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
    6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

    Last updated: 20 April 2018


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