Module Identifier TFM1330  
Academic Year 2006/2007  
Co-ordinator Dr Mikel Koven  
Semester Semester 2  
Assessment TypeAssessment Length/DetailsProportion
Semester Assessment Essay of 3,500 words  60%
Semester Assessment Research portfolio and critical reflection of 3,500 words  40%
Supplementary Assessment Resits of failed assignments to a different title  100%

Learning outcomes

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


This module is designed to introduce students to the debates and perspectives of studying the place and value of film in a wider socio-cultural context. In doing so, it links with the other Film Studies modules (British Film History, The Film Text). The module builds on departmental research strengths and will include guest presentations by research-active members of staff, and by guests from outside the institution.

Brief description

This module aims to address issues and problems in studying film as a contemporary cultural product (in a cultural environment), and critically assessing its value. The first session aims to provide an overview of theories and perspectives on the study of the cultural value of film, focusing on contemporary theories (see bibliography). The subsequent sessions will each investigate key elements of studying the cultural value of film (cultural capital, aesthetics, politics, and ethics). Each of these sessions will be followed by a particular case study exploring the specific implications of those key elements on the cultural status of individual texts and oeuvres (Lord of the Rings, Kenneth Anger, Paul Verhoeven, David Cronenberg). These case studies will be reviewed and updated on a regular basis to provide students with the most recent materials and insights available. The proportionality between theory based and case based sessions is crucial in providing both broad views on the place of film in culture, and in-depth discussions of textual features. The final session is aimed at giving students a view on how cultural value is being used as a tool to place films in the world.
Teaching and learning will involve the two named members of staff from the department, each bringing their own area of expertise to this rich course, but will also allow students to benefit from the research and experiences of other staff members and external speakers


WEEKLY SCHEDULE. This schedule is indicative of the themes and cases this module will address. However, it is important to point out that the themes and case studies may vary from year to year, allowing other themes (gender, the public sphere, ethnicity, imperialism, pop art) to be addressed as well.

  1. The High/Low Culture Divide and Film Studies
  2. Cultural Capital and Film: why films matter culturally
  3. Case Study: the global impact of the Lord of the Rings
  4. Aesthetics: Art Cinema in Popular Culture
  5. Case Study: the cultural value of Kenneth Anger
  6. Politics: Academics and Fans
  7. Case Study: the cultural value of Paul Verhoeven
  8. Ethics: Moral value and film
  9. Case study: the cultural value of David Cronenberg
  10. Using cultural value in selling and promoting film (incl. case study)

Module Skills

Problem_solving Students will evaluate the appropriateness of different cultural theories in the investigation of the cultural value of film. Much of the learning will focus on students linking cases to theories (and vice versa) and discerning underlying patterns.  
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 essay and portfolio. Particularly, the material collection for the portfolio requires a range of research techniques (library, internet, archive).  
Communication Students will be expected to contribute to in-class discussions and relate their own research progress orally. The portfolio requires students to demonstrate their communication skills (interviews, contacting distributors) extra muros.  
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.  
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.  
Information Technology Students will have to word-process essay and portfolio, and are expected to make systematic use of the internet for research purposes. A significant part of lecturer-student communication will be through email.  


This module is at CQFW Level 7