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The University of Southampton

FILM2015 Contemporary British Cinema

Module Overview

The module builds on the foundation established by your work during year 1 Film. Furthermore the view that film can be viewed as an artform, cultural and historical artefact, and an industry is central to its rationale will be examined.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

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

  • thematic concerns and stylistic motifs apparent in the work of some key contemporary British filmmakers
  • the contribution made by critics and theorists to the study of contemporary British filmmakers
  • the cultural and industrial context in which the filmmakers often work
  • key concepts within film studies, such as authorship and cinematic representation, particularly relevant to the analysis of the films studied
  • the different genres, trends and traditions of British filmmaking
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • identify and articulate some of the central concerns expressed in the work of a selection of leading British contemporary filmmakers
  • produce a detailed analysis of the case study films discussed
  • employ appropriate critical theories and arguments when discussing the films studied
  • demonstrate an understanding of aspects of the cultural and industrial context in which British filmmakers work
  • demonstrate an understanding of the different genres, trends and traditions of British filmmaking
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • write a detailed, critically informed analysis of the work of the British filmmakers studied
  • contribute critically and reflectively to academic discussion
  • access and employ relevant criticism when presenting an argument


This module builds on the foundation established by your work at Level One. Each week, you will be introduced to a particular genre, trend or tradition of British filmmaking, from social realism and heritage cinema, to Black British film and new Scottish cinema. You will also have the opportunity to examine the cultural and industrial factors which have shaped and are continuing to shape filmmaking in the UK. In the seminars, you will be expected to deliver a group presentation on the week's case-study filmmaker (e.g. Ken Loach, Andrea Arnold, Edgar Wright and Amma Asante), focusing on their themes, style and working practices. You will also be expected to discuss the issues raised by the week’s lecture and required readings. You will be encouraged to develop your critical and analytical skills in writing about the genres, trends, traditions and filmmakers selected, and draw on film theory and criticism where relevant in making an argument. You will also be encouraged to widen your knowledge by studying the work of other contemporary British filmmakers not included in the module, where appropriate. In this way the module offers you the opportunity to develop a good knowledge and critical understanding of contemporary British cinema, and the particular context in which British films are produced, distributed and consumed.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include - lectures - weekly screenings of a case-study film - seminars, involving group presentations on the week's case-study filmmaker - opportunities for one-to-one discussion with the tutor in office hours. Learning activities include - individual study/research - preparing, researching and writing analytical essays - preparing and delivering non-assessed presentations - contributing to seminar discussions

Independent Study114
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Film England: Culturally English Filmmaking since the 1990s. 

James Leggott (2008). Contemporary British Cinema. 

John Fitzgerald (2010). Studying British Cinema: 1999-2009. 

Sarah Street (2008). British National Cinema. 

Robert Murphy (ed) (2008). The British Cinema Book. 

Emma Bell & Neil Mitchell (eds) (2012). Dictionary of World Cinema: Britain. 

There is a good provision of DVDs and critical reading available for the filmmakers studied. 


Assessment Strategy

Assessments designed to provide informal, on-module feedback • You will be encouraged to discuss preparation for your formal assessments • You will have the opportunity to seek individual advice on your work in progress by appointment with your tutor • Guidance and advice on the preparation, completion and presentation of work will be given in class Relationship between the teaching, learning and assessment methods and the planned learning outcomes • Lectures will provide an overview of particular genres, trends and traditions in British filmmaking • Screenings will focus on a recent British film which illustrates the week's topic. • Seminars will involve group presentations on the week's case-study filmmaker, as well as a discussion of issues raised in the lecture and week's required readings. • You will analyse key films of the British filmmakers studied; in particular, looking at thematic and stylistic aspects. Writing analytical essays will develop your understanding, and research skills. • Your own understanding and knowledge of British contemporary filmmakers and the context in which they work will be developed both by discussion in the seminars and by tutor feedback on your essays.


MethodPercentage contribution
Critical essay  (3000 words) 70%
Essay  (1500 words) 30%


MethodPercentage contribution
Essay 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (4500 words) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

Linked modules

FILM1001 or FILM2006 or FILM1027 or FILM1020

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