Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Intended for use in future years
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Seminars / Tutorials Seminar. 2 hours per week


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 1 x 5,000 word essay  Essay: 
Supplementary Assessment Resubmit any failed elements and/or make good any missing elements. Where this involves re-submission of work, a new topic must be selected. 

Learning Outcomes

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


This Option offers an opportunity for students to study examples of recent and contemporary British independent and avant-garde cinema in which questions of history, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and the authenticity of the subject prompt critical responses within the post-modern debate. Students will be encouraged to engage with contemporary film criticism informed by a poststructuralist theoretical concern with culture and representation. This Option provides a specific opportunity to apply theoretical approaches encountered in the Core and elsewhere in the MA scheme.

1. Introduction: Imagining a Postmodern London?

Derek Jarman's "Jubilee" as punk dystopia. Stephen Frears' "My Beautiful Launderette" raises issues concerning the representation of the post-colonial subject. We shall be considering how both films address the post-modern "condition of England".

2. History and Her Story as Postmodern Heritage

Sally Potter's "Orlando" suggests a challenging feminist revision of the mainstream genre of English 'costume drama'. Influenced by Jarman's neo-romanticism, "Orlando" also invites a consideration of 'nostalgia' and English history in recent British cinema. Cross-reference to the later career of Jarman raises the question of 'the politics of camp' in the context of the convergence of post-modernism and queer theory.

3. Foreign Bodies

Taking up Potter's representation of gender hybridity in the light of Judith Butler's poststructuralist accounts of sex and gender as 'performativity' we shall turn to Peter Greenway's "The Pillow Book" as the focus for a discussion of the current concern with 'the Body' in contemporary British art and critical theory.

4. The Politics of Post-Modern Masquerade

Neil Jordan's "The Crying Game", provides an opportunity to discuss the political reach of a post-modern project which erodes the fixed boundaries of identity. Some comparisions will be made with "Trainspotting" in the context of recent concerns with a 'post-modern ethic'.

5. Conclusion

In this session we shall examine at least one additional film specifically chosen by the students themselves to provide an opportunity for establishing an overview of the issues raised in ealier sessions. Some time will also be employed to discuss essay planning.

Select Bibliograhy

Students will be directed to specific reading for each session. Some general studies include, Greame Turner, "Film as Social Practice" (1988); Robert Lampsley and Michael Westlake, "Film Theory: an Introduction" (1988); section on British Cinema in Jill Nelmes, editor, "An Introduction to Film Studies" (1996); Lester Friedman, editor "British Cinema and Thatcherism" (1993); Timothy Corrigan "A Cinema Without Walls" (1991); Frederic Jameson, "Signatures of the Visible" (1991). See the journals "Screen and Textual Practice" for recent articles.


This module is at CQFW Level 7