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The University of Southampton

FILM2015 British Contemporary Filmmakers

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 both art and 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 economic context in which the filmmakers often work
  • key concepts within film studies, such as authorship, particularly relevant to the analysis of the films studied
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 economic context in which British filmmakers work
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
  • demonstrate an understanding of aspects of the cultural, and economic context in which British filmmakers often work


This module builds on the foundation established by your work at level one. You have the opportunity to study the work of established filmmakers, such as Ken Loach, and Sally Porter, as well as critically acclaimed younger directors, such as Andrea Arnold and Shane Meadows. In the seminars, you will be expected to participate in discussion of key themes in the films, such as gender and nationality, along with relevant critical topics, such as authorship, particularly in relation to directorial style. You will also have the opportunity to develop an understanding of the economic and cultural factors influencing the making of films in the UK. You will be encouraged to develop your critical and analytical skills in writing about the work of the filmmakers selected, and draw on film criticism where relevant in making an argument. The module will begin by introducing you to some of the key critical concepts and theories in the study of British filmmakers. We will also survey what some of the issues might be for directors in producing their work in the current cultural and economic climate. Each week you will then be introduced to the work of a filmmaker who is considered to be making a significant contribution to contemporary British cinema. In the seminars you will have the opportunity to deepen your understanding of each of the directors studied, in particular by the discussion of a case-study film screened for you. You will be encouraged to deepen your knowledge of the work of the filmmakers by watching other films they have made. You will also be encouraged to widen your knowledge by studying the work of other British directors 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 the work of contemporary British filmmakers, and the particular context in which their films are often produced.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include - lectures - weekly screenings of a case-study film - seminars, involving discussion of the work of each of the directors studied - 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

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

James Leggott (2008). Contemporary British Cinema. 

Amy Sargeant (2005). British Cinema: A Critical History. 

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

Jacob Leigh (2002). The Cinema of Ken Loach. 

Robert Murphy (ed) (2008). Directors in British and Irish Cinema: A reference companion. 


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 a critical overview to the work of the filmmakers studied. * Seminars will focus on providing the opportunity for discussion of the issues raised in the lecture, the week’s case-study film, and some key critical 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  (4500 words) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

Linked modules

FILM1001 or FILM1002 or FILM2006 or ENGL1079

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