Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Semester 2

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Seminars / Tutorials 10 x 3-hour seminars (which may occasionally incorporate lectures)
Other 4-hour weekly screening slots


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Essay of 5,000 words  60%
Semester Assessment Oral presentation  (must also be submitted as a written piece, including a critical reflection) - 20 minute presentation with a 1000-word critical reflection.  40%
Supplementary Assessment In the event of failure on the first assignment, a student will be required to resubmit the essay on a different topic.  60%
Supplementary Assessment In the event of failure on the second assignment, a student will be required to present and write a critical reflection on a different topic.  40%

Learning Outcomes

On sucessful completion of this module students should be able to:

1. Demonstrate a systematic knowledge of theories and perspectives in the study of the cultural value of film.
2. Demonstrate a detailed ability to link cultural theories and issues to individual film texts and oeuvres through case studies.
3. Demonstrate a critical understanding of the relevance of both the themes and case studies within film industry practices.


  • To understand film as a cultural artifact whose significance is generated within the networks and institutional domains through which it circulates;
  • To scrutinise the cultural politics involved in the classification and evaluation of films through selected case studies;
  • To think about film as a social practice and how it relates to processes of identification and community formation, including moments where personal/communal use of films conflicts with institutional intereests (e.g. censorship, piracy).

Brief description

This module will examine a number of issues related to film's circulation within a range of social and cultural contexts. In doing so, it will trace how values and meanings have accrued to different types of films, including aesthetic, economic, social and political values. In particular, the module will investigate film's status as 'art'; film's status as an object of moral concern; and it's status as an economic, legally protected commodity. We will investigate how particular institutions impact upon the status of film within the broader social fabric, including exhibition sites, festivals and awards ceremonies, film criticism and promotional activities.


Possible topics include:

  • film's status as art
  • film societies and awards
  • film festivals
  • critics and canons
  • censorship
  • exhibiting film
  • cinephilia
  • film piracy
  • marketing film

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Communication Students will be expected to contribute to in-class discussions and relate their own research progress orally and present a seminar paper on a chosen topic.
Improving own Learning and Performance In the course of the module, there will be points where students will be asked to think reflexively about their reading and viewing, as well as how their research is progressing.
Information Technology Students will be encouraged to use the vast information resources within the library (such as ejournals and LexisNexis) within their research.
Personal Development and Career planning Students will be encouraged to develop research skills, presentation skills, engage in group work and develop their writing skills. These attributes will feed into their development as individual researchers, which will be particularly suited for an academic career or a career within the field of media arts.
Problem solving Students will need to think about issues related to the ways in which film has been, and continues to be, evaluated within a range of contexts and the reasons and consequences of such evaluative processes.
Research skills This element is developed through students' own investigations into written and audiovisual material that they can bring to bear upon the course and their essays.
Team work Although there is no official group work on the course, it is hoped that students will work together in seminars for small tasks and small-group discussions.

Reading List

Recommended Text
Bordwell, D. (1991) Making Meaning: Inference and Rhetoric in the Interpretation of Cinema Harvard University Press Primo search Bourdieu, P. (1993) The Field of Cultural Production: Essays on Art and Literature Polity Press Primo search English, J.F. (2005) The Economy of Prestige: Prizes, Awards and the Circulation of Cultural Value Harvard University Press Primo search Harbord, J. (2002) Film Cultures Sage Primo search Keathley, C. (2006) Ciniphilia and History, or The Wind in the Trees Indiana University Press Primo search Klinger, B. (2006) Beyond the Multiplex: Cinema, New Technologies and the Home University of California Press Primo search Maltby, R., M. Stokes and R.C. Allen (eds) (2007) Going to the Movies: Hollywood and the Social Experience of Cinema University of Exeter Press Primo search Shrum, W. (1996) Fringe and Fortune: The Role of Critics in High and Popular Art Princeton University Press Primo search Turan, K. (2002) Sundance to Sarajevo: Film Festivals and the World They Made University of California Press Primo search de Valck, M. (2007) Film Festivals: From European Geopolitics to Global Cinephilia Amsterdam University Press Primo search de Valck, M. and M. Hagener (eds) (2006) Cinephilia: Movies, Love and Memory Amsterdam University Press Primo search


This module is at CQFW Level 7