THEORISING FILM - 2019/0

Module code: MFC2046

Module Overview

This module explores and interrogates a theoretical approach, or selection of theoretical approaches, to film. It is concerned with developing an awareness of either an individual, or number of, conceptual frameworks that have been used in Film Studies and the debates that surround these frameworks. 

Module provider

School of Literature and Languages

Module Leader

POULAKI Maria (Music & Med)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 5

JACs code: P300

Module cap (Maximum number of students): 30

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites

None. This module has a capped number and may not be available to ERASMUS and other international exchange students. Please check with the departmental exchange coordinator.

Module content

Indicative content includes:



  • Classical film theory


  • Structuralist and post-structuralist film theory


  • Cognitive film theory


  • Psychoanalytical film theory


  • Post-modernist film theory


  • Cultural studies and film theory


  • Feminism and Queer theory in film


  • Ideology


  • Phenomenological film theory


Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Oral exam or presentation GROUP PRESENTATION WITH SELF-REFLECTION 25
Practical based assessment READING RESPONSE 25
Coursework ESSAY 50

Alternative Assessment

Recorded presentation replacesgroup presentation (25%)

Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to discover, explore and interrogate film theories and to apply these to contemporary cinematic conditions and share their knowledge with the class (group presentation), understand, analyse and critically respond to film theory (reading response), approach and analyse a cinematic case study through an appropriate theoretical perspective (essay)

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:



  • Group presentation with individual self reflection of 500 words – week 5


  • Reading response (700 words) – week 8


  • Essay (1800 words) – exam period



Formative assessment and feedback



  • Verbal feedback to interpretation of film theory in weekly seminars


  • One-to-one feedback on essay outlines (submitted in week 10)


  • Verbal feedback on class contributions and presentations


Module aims

  • Give students an in-depth knowledge of one or several theoretical approaches to understanding film
  • Position these theoretical approaches within broader critical, philosophical and media debates
  • Give students a theoretical basis from which to develop a specific topic later in their study programme

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
1 Identify and critique contemporary theoretical issues in Film Studies KCPT
2 Historicise different film theoretical approaches KCT
3 Apply film theoretical models and concepts to specific film cases KCPT
4 Critically respond to theoretical approaches KCT
5 Develop individual research questions in relation to theories of film KCPT
6 Articulate the above skills verbally and in writing KCPT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Overall student workload

Independent Study Hours: 117

Lecture Hours: 33

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:



  • Provide students with the necessary knowledge and analytical skills to be able to understand and analyse film theoretical texts


  • Guide students through the analysis of film theory


  • Aid students in exploring and discussing possible applications of film theory


  • Encourage development of critical skills and articulation of original research questions



The learning and teaching methods include:



  • Lecturer presentations using illustrative materials


  • Seminar discussions


  • Student presentations

  • Debates


Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list

Reading list for THEORISING FILM : http://aspire.surrey.ac.uk/modules/mfc2046

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
English Literature with German BA (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
English Literature with Film Studies BA (Hons) 2 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
English Literature with Creative Writing BA (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
English Literature and French BA (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
English Literature BA (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
English Literature and Spanish BA (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2019/0 academic year.