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FILM1027 Introduction to Film: European Cinema

Module Overview

The module covers the history of European cinema from its beginnings in the 1890s to the present day, highlighting selected periods, movements, and national developments.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

• Develop an understanding of the historical, stylistic and thematic developments in European cinema from the late 1890s to the present day • Foster your analytical ability in dealing with theoretical discourse and in the interpretation of images • Introduce you to research skills in dealing with primary and secondary sources.

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • The emergence of film, both as a new art form and as a mass medium, in different cultural contexts (France, Britain, Germany, Russia)
  • The distinguishing features and evaluation of historical periods, artistic movements, and national (political, social, and cultural) contexts
  • Discourses surrounding the distinction between popular culture and high art in European cinema.
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Engage with a range of different critical methodologies, and evaluate their use value for the interpretation of visual texts and historical developments
  • Identify narrative, and audio-visual strategies and techniques in films, and interpret these according to selected critical methodologies
  • Structure written work towards communicating a lucid and original argument that draws on a wide range of secondary sources.
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Research a specific subject, using a range of resources (such as books, journal articles, internet data)
  • Organise your time
  • Conduct research independently
  • Present written work in an appropriate style, with consistent referencing, proper bibliography and filmography, and conforming to grammatical conventions.
Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Demonstrate an awareness of historical paradigms in Film Studies, and combine this with the tools of textual analysis acquired on the previous module FILM1001 or FILM2006.


The first few weeks centre on the emergence of film, both as a new art form and as a mass medium, in different cultural contexts (France, Britain, Germany, Russia); we will then consider how the internationalism of the silent period gave way to more nationally specific developments during the 1930s and 1940s, and how various ‘art cinemas’ pursued new aesthetic and political agendas in the post-war era. Apart from these movements, however, European cinema always had a popular dimension as well. In this respect we will look at European stars and popular genres, such as the Italian Horror film or recent sci-fi blockbusters such as The Fifth Element. One central question of the module will be whether European cinema can only be understood as the sum total of different national film cultures or whether there is a transnational, and thus ‘European’ film history..

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include • Lectures • Screenings • Tutorials Learning activities include • Written essays • Independent study, viewing and research

Independent Study114
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Elizabeth Ezra (ed.) (2004). European Cinema. 

Catherine Fowler (ed.) (2002). The European Cinema Reader. 


Assessment Strategy

Assessments designed to provide informal, in-module feedback: • Discussion of essay work • Tutorials The bibliographical essay is designed to encourage research into a historically particular mode of filmmaking, but it is also an opportunity to learn the basic tools of evaluating secondary sources. Students need to demonstrate that they have undertaken a sufficient amount of reading; that they have understood the basic parameters and arguments of the texts they are discussing, and that they have used bibliographical and referencing conventions properly. The critical/analytical essay is designed to give students an opportunity to address theoretical arguments about European Cinema. In addition to the criteria applying to the first assignment, students will also be judged on how well they comprehend explicitly theoretical texts, how they synthesise critical information, how they construct and structure a coherent and convincing argument, and on their abilities to interpret visual and narrative information.


MethodPercentage contribution
Critical essay  (2500 words) 60%
Essay  (1500 words) 40%


MethodPercentage contribution
Resubmit assessments 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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