Film Form, Film Meaning
School of Arts & Media
September 2019Next enrolment
In a nutshell
Since the introduction of cinema, film has been used as a unique platform to educate, entertain and inspire its audiences. This course is about taking films seriously, discovering the industry from a number of perspectives and projecting its future.
By focusing on the broader study of film history, aesthetics and theory, you will examine a range of critical approaches to film, investigating developments in American and British cinema from their origins to the present day. Additionally you will discover how cinema in those parts of the world, as well as across Europe and Asia, has become a significant part of global culture as a major entertainment industry.
You will research and analyse key films and film movements in cinema; deepen your understanding of film, and make presentations of your findings. You’ll gain an academic, intellectual and practical understanding of one of the world’s most popular forms of mass entertainment and study work-related themes such as film distribution, exhibition and film journalism.
- Learn how to examine a range of critical approaches to film
- Gain an understanding of developments in American and British cinema, from their origins to the present day
- Develop the techniques to research and analyse key films and film movements in cinema
This is for you if...
You are keenly interested in cinema, including both mainstream and less well-known films
You have an inquisitive nature
You possess an ability to think critically about the world around you
All about the course
Through a series of core modules, Year one will take you through the history of cinema from its origins to the present day. It will also examine a range of critical approaches to film and investigate the world’s most powerful film industry: Hollywood.
The first part of year two will extend your basic knowledge and understanding of cinema through core modules that focus on areas such as British cinema, Asian cinema and contemporary Hollywood. In the second part of the year, you will have the opportunity to build upon your knowledge and understanding by pursuing modules that reflect the expertise of our Film Studies teaching staff - these may include Comedy and British Cinema, Film Journalism and Genre.
The final year offers you the opportunity to specialise further by choosing from industry-focused modules such as Film Distribution and Exhibition, or more traditional subjects such as Film and Theory, British Television Drama or Contemporary European Cinemas. The focus on Hollywood from the second year can also be followed up. All final year Film Studies students will also complete a dissertation around their chosen topic.
During the course of this module, you will look at the idea of film form and how it contributes to the meaning of a film. Considering various components such as narrative, cinematography, editing and sound, this module aims to answer the basic question of: What is a Film?
Critical Approaches to Film I
You will evaluate a range of critical approaches to film in relation to the social and cultural developments that informed and influenced them. Throughout the module, you will focus on key approaches such as film as art, film as mass culture, authorship, genre and ideology.
Film Histories, Film Movements I
By covering a number of influential moments in the development of cinema, this module will enable you to identify and contextualise a range of film movements including early cinema and forms of exhibition, Soviet cinema, German Expressionist cinema, Surrealist cinema, documentary cinema, and others. You will also consider how such film movements may prefigure important technical and contextual strands of cinema today.
Classical Hollywood Cinema
This module introduces the idea of ‘classical Hollywood’ cinema and its role in the development of our understanding of film. Analysing Hollywood as an organising structure for film production, you will identify the production methods employed by the Hollywood studios, the production techniques and practices widely termed as the ‘classical Hollywood style’, and the economic rationale behind the establishment of Hollywood.
Film Histories, Film Movements II
Building on from your learning in ‘Film Histories, Film Movements I’, this module will focus on a number of influential moments in the development of cinema from the second World War to the present. This will include a range of film movements that may include Italian neo-realism, the French ‘new wave’, Eastern European film movements, US Underground cinema, Antipodean cinema.
Critical Approaches to Film II
Focusing mainly on ‘Screen’ theory, feminism, race and film audiences, this module will allow you to continue your learning from ‘Critical Approaches to Film I’ and study a number of other critical approaches to film.
This module is designed to provide you with an introduction to the history of British cinema, its institutions, its stars and some of its production personnel.
Building upon several ideas covered in Year one, you will begin to take a more in depth look at the range of cinema produced across Asia. In addition to covering a variety of cinematic traditions from countries including India, China, Korea and Japan, you will also articulate the differences in aesthetic forms and strategies and critically assess the place of Asian cinemas in the increasingly global film industry.
Film Distribution and Exhibition
You will learn to distinguish between the distribution and exhibition sectors of the UK film industry, and to understand their vital roles. Studying the function of distribution companies within the film industry, and the processes of exhibition, a range of professional roles within these sectors will emerge, helping you to understand the work involved and to identify present challenges faced by the industries.
Contemporary American Cinema
The landscape of American film-making has been affected by a range of economic, social and cultural changes in recent years. This module will consider these tumultuous changes as well as address conflicting definitions of independence within a global marketplace and the importance of marketing strategies within contemporary film-making.
Comedy and British Cinema
Focusing on comedy films produced within British cinema, this module will enable you to identify different characteristics associated with various styles of British film comedy. You will also analyse formal strategies employed by comedy filmmakers and various performance techniques utilised by a range of comedic performers within British cinema.
You will learn to write in a concise and entertaining manner in this module, acquiring the writing and editing skills necessary to undertake film reviews, features and interviews. Whilst the module will focus on film-related matters, the skills learned will be highly transferable into other journalistic realms.
British Television Drama: Texts and Contexts
Covering a range of drama broadcast on British television, this module will focus on a number of core areas including form and innovation, realism and politics, and contemporary television.
Film and Theory
Building upon work undertaken in Year One and Two, this module will provide you with the intellectual tools to undertake a detailed theoretical analysis of film.
Sequential Art (Comics and Graphic Novels)
You will study important examples of international comic strips, series and ‘graphic novels’. At a time of proliferating texts inspired by material introduced in comics, a section of the module will look at film and TV adaptations, evaluating the importance of comic-derived material to the modern media landscape. The unique ways in which comics can be said to create meanings will be highlighted, and you will experience designing a narrative with expert guidance. Themes studied may include: Comics and Childhood; The Graphic Novel Era: Comics ‘come of age’; Alan Moore; Comics, Ideology and Form: Case Study of 1970s British Comics; Fandom; Comics and Other Media.
This will let students explore key (transitional) representations of men and masculinity throughout Hollywood history. Beginning with an examination of the pre-code ‘mob men’, moving to representations of men (and dangerous women) in film noir and 1980's muscular hero action pics, among other key masculine characterisations, the module will analyse how the representation of Hollywood’s leading men has always been an altering document, drawn and redrawn to meet the demands of the day. Critical skills concerning gender, identity and representation theories will come to bear on one of the burgeoning, most hotly-debated areas of the film discipline.
Film Programming and Curating for Cinemas and Festivals
Building on the previous year’s ‘Film Distribution and Exhibition’, this module will focus on creating programmes for independent cinemas and film festivals. In order to provide the understanding needed of the various industrial contexts involved, you will look at areas and activities such as:
- Film Festivals: - What is a film festival?
- Festival development and change: The Edinburgh International Film Festival case study
- Programming festival retrospectives: Case study in film at the Viva Spanish and Latin American Festival
- Independent Cinemas in the UK
- Understanding the market and programming an independent cinema’s weekly list
- Curating special programmes and seasons: Case study of States of Danger and Deceit - European Political Thrillers in the 1970s (HOME Manchester)
- Initiating Cultural Interventions and working with cinemas: Case study of Chinese Film Forum UK
This final module is designed to provide guidance and support throughout your dissertation research. The early part of this module will be delivered in the form of directed staff presentations followed by student discussions. Later, you will be allocated a dissertation supervisor who will engage in one on one supervisory sessions in the run up to student presentations. The latter part of the module will be based around your completion of a written dissertation directed by discussions of your approach with your supervisor.
Please note that it may not be possible to deliver the full list of options every year as this will depend on factors such as how many students choose a particular option. Exact modules may also vary in order to keep content current. When accepting your offer of a place to study on this programme, you should be aware that not all optional modules will be running each year. Your tutor will be able to advise you as to the available options on or before the start of the programme. Whilst the University tries to ensure that you are able to undertake your preferred options, it cannot guarantee this.
What will I be doing?
You are taught through a combination of lectures, seminars, workshops and individual tutorials. Seminars enable you to discuss and develop your understanding of topics covered in lectures in smaller groups. Workshops may concentrate on specific writing or practical tasks. In addition, you have meetings with your personal tutor.
You have access to the library and computer laboratory facilities throughout your course.
When not attending lectures, seminars or other timetabled sessions you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-study. We advise you should take around 10 hours of independent study per week. Typically, this will involve reading journal articles and books, working on individual and group projects, undertaking research in the library, and preparing coursework assignments and presentations (including receiving and discussing feedback on practice runs).
Your independent learning is supported by a range of excellent facilities, including the library and bookable study rooms on both campuses.
School of Arts and Media
The School of Arts and Media is the largest School at the University of Salford with more than 4,000 creative students. Across sites at MediaCityUK and the University's Peel Park campus, we offer a huge variety of courses, from fashion image making and styling, television and radio, creative writing and music to journalism, animation, design and performance.
This broad range of disciplines offers enhanced opportunities for specialist and interdisciplinary study, including collaborative work across subject areas.
This course is based at our MediaCityUK campus. It boasts a range of film-based facilities, including a five-camera HD TV studio, a three-camera HD TV studio and a digital performance studio with full green screen capability. There are two radio/audio recording studios, and 5.1 surround sound audio post production theatre, with foley booth
What about after uni?
In both 2015-16, and 2016-17, 100% of Film Studies students reported that they were in work or further study within six months of graduating (DHLE survey data).
Many of our graduates have found employment in a range of sectors, including:
- Working in distribution for the British offices of a Hollywood studio
- Festivals and film events, including Manchester Animation Festival, Pilot Light TV Festival
- Teaching English overseas;
- Managing arts centres
- Working in libraries
- Starting award-winning youth cinema projects.
Graduates also go on to further study.
The course has strong links to the local culture industries, in particular: HOME, Greater Manchester Arts Centre; and the Viva: Spanish and Latin American Film Festival. This will give you an insight into the practicalities of film distribution, exhibition and programming. Graduates of this course have gone on to work in a number of film related-careers such as film journalism, cinema administration, cinema programming and film festival/events organisation.
What you need to know
You will have an inquisitive nature and an ability to think critically about the world around you. Alongside that, a keen interest in cinema from a variety of contexts including both mainstream and less well-known films is essential.
English language requirements
International applicants will be required to show a proficiency in English. An IELTS score of 6.5 (no element below 5.5) is proof of this.
English and maths GCSE grade C/grade 4 and above
You must fulfil our GCSE entry requirements as well as one of the requirements listed below.
UCAS tariff points
104 - 120 points
GCE A level
Film Studies or Media Studies preferred but not essential. General Studies accepted only with two other A levels.
BTEC National Diploma
104 - 120 points
Irish Leaving Certificate
Access to HE
104-120 UCAS Tariff points from Level 3 QAA approved Access programme in relevant subjects.
Salford Alternative Entry System (SAES)
We welcome applications from students who may not meet the stated entry criteria but who can demonstrate their ability to pursue the course successfully. Once we have received your application we will assess it and recommend it for SAES if you are an eligible candidate.
There are two different routes through the Salford Alternative Entry Scheme and applicants will be directed to the one appropriate for their course. Assessment will either be through a review of prior learning or through a formal test.
|Type of study||Year||Fees|
|Full-time home/EU||2019||£9,250per year|
|Full-time international||2019||£12,300per year|
You should also consider further costs which may include books, stationery, printing, binding and general subsistence on trips and visits.
All set? Let's apply
Course ID P303