This Level 5 module is designed to continue the focus on textual and contextual study and the development of subject-specific and generic skills established especially in Level 4 Film Studies: Analysis, Issues and History. As with the Film Studies module, it will develop the student’s critical knowledge and skills base in ways which complement and inform the conceptual and practical work being done in the Level 5 Video Practice and Production: Documentary and Drama. The module addresses theoretical and critical approaches to the study of film texts and provides a preparation for students’ own independent research. Focusing on a range of film theories, approaches and methods which have been influential in the development of Film as a field of academic study, it will enable students to examine various ideas, assumptions and procedures and try them out on a diverse range of films. Links between criticism, theory, practice and creative work will be stressed throughout, with the overall aim of developing the student’s critical abilities in the close analysis of texts drawing on appropriate theoretical and critical perspectives. Examining and trying out differing approaches will further develop students’ capacities as independent learners and prepare them for making explicit their own critical approach when formulating their research proposal for the Dissertation at Level 6.
The module begins with a brief overview of different theoretical and critical approaches to the study of film texts, highlighting the characteristic orientations and concerns of each and beginning to unpick how text and context are related in each. Continuities and discontinuities in the history of issues addressed by film theory will be raised, as will the changing scope of film theory as societies and technologies change. Thereafter a variety of approaches is introduced, explaining the work of the foundational thinker or thinkers in each case and surveying examples of the kinds of film theoretical and critical work each has stimulated before moving on to consider the application of ideas to a particular film or ways of situating a film. Examples of selected topics to be covered could include: narrative, genre, postmodernism, authorship, spectatorship, psychoanalysis, feminism, queer theory, Marxism and postcolonial theory.