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The World of Cinema

Duration 9 weekly meetings
Tutor Suzie Good
Course code MED24A5310A
Fee £264
Concessionary fee £211 (find out about eligibility and funding options)

Online course

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The course will consider how film has shaped knowledge in different contexts and discourses, its ability to represent, and also how shifting spaces have shaped audiences’ experiences of cinema.

Explore the rich world of cinema, considering key technological, conceptual, theoretical and aesthetic issues in order to gain a better insight the films themselves, the companies that produce them, the money that goes into them, and the audiences who love and, sometimes, hate them.

We will examine the roles of key pioneers of cinematic technologies and debate topics such as:

  • recognising genre
  • subtexts
  • “art versus commerce”
  • audience demographics
  • and “truth-telling”.

In doing so, this module will survey theoretical, industrial, economic, and cultural aspects ranging from Hollywood to independent cinema, from silent film to 3D screenings, from shocking documentaries to fantastical movie monsters.

This module forms part of the Pathway to a degree in Media, Journalism and Culture and as a standalone option.

Learning and teaching

This module is taught in 9 two-hour sessions, delivered weekly.

Classes will be taught through a variety of lectures, workshops, discussion exercises and group work. Students will be issued with handouts and a reading list, allowing them to read up on relevant topics, as well as allowing them to develop their own interests and identify the key questions which they need to answer in their assessments.

Topics of study include:

  • from watching to reading: textual analysis of films
  • negotiating consistency and difference: genre and cinema
  • losing the plot: narratives structures and cinema
  • from reel to real part one: film and aesthetics
  • from reel to real part two: documentary films
  • popcorn and profit: film industries
  • taking cinema home: packaging, marketing and reformatting films
  • room with a viewer: cinema’s audiences.

Coursework and assessment

Students will complete a 500-word analysis of a film, followed by a short essay of 1000 words.

Reading suggestions

  • Paul Martin Lester, Visual Communication: Images With Messages (Wadsworth: 2000)
  • Theo van Leeuwen and Carey Jewitt, eds. Handbook of Visual Analysis (Sage: 2006)
  • James Monaco, How To Read a Film: The Art, Technology, Language, History and Theory of Film and Media (Oxford Press: 2009)
  • Kristin Thompson and David Bordwell, Film Art: An Introduction (McGraw-Hill: 2004)
  • Michele Pierson, Special Effects: Still in Search of Wonder (Columbia University Press: 2002)
  • Richard Maltby, Hollywood Cinema (Blackwell Publishing: 2003)
  • Simon Popple & Joe Kember, Early Cinema: From Factory Gate to Dream Factory, (Wallflower Press: 2004)
  • Jim Collins, Hilary Radner, and Ava Preacher Collins (eds), Film Theory Goes to the Movies, (Routledge: 1993)
  • Timothy Corrigan, A Short Guide to Writing About Film,(Pearson: 2012).
  • James Bennett and Tom Brown (eds), Film and Television After DVD. (Routledge: 2008)
  • Barbara Klinger, Beyond the Multiplex. Cinema, New Technologies, and the Home. (University of California Press: 2006)
  • Jonathan Gray, Show Sold Separately. Promos, Spoilers, and Other Media Paratexts. (New York University Press: 2010).
  • Thomas Austin, Hollywood, Hype and Audiences. Selling and Watching Popular Film in the 1990s. (Manchester University Press: 2002).
  • Matt Hills, Fan Cultures, (Routledge: 2002)
  • Rick Altman, Film/Genre. (BFI: 1999)

Library and computing facilities

As a student on this course you are entitled to join and use the University’s library and computing facilities. Find out more about using these facilities.


Our aim is access for all. We aim to provide a confidential advice and support service for any student with a long term medical condition, disability or specific learning difficulty. We are able to offer one-to-one advice about disability, pre-enrolment visits, liaison with tutors and co-ordinating lecturers, material in alternative formats, arrangements for accessible courses, assessment arrangements, loan equipment and dyslexia screening.