Screen Studies Group MA/MSc Options


Find information here on the intercollegiate options available to students on selected MA/MSc programmes in film and screen studies at the participating University of London institutions: Birkbeck, Goldsmiths, King’s College London, Queen Mary, SOAS and UCL.

Please note that availability of intercollegiate options is subject to the ratification of the Screen Studies Group agreement.

Intercollegiate options are open to students on the following Masters degree programmes:

Birkbeck: MA Film and Television Screen Media
Goldsmiths: MA Film and Screen Studies
Kings College London: MA Film Studies
Queen Mary: MA Film Studies and MA Documentary Practice
SOAS: MA Global Cinemas and the Transcultural
UCL: MA Film Studies

Students on the above programmes will not have to pay additional tuition fees to take intercollegiate options, however, there may be related costs for travel, equipment, etc. Please contact the relevant administrator for full information.

Birkbeck, University of London

For more information, and to enquire about spaces on the below modules, email culture (

Autumn Term British Cinema and Television 1960-85 30 credits Mike Allen 

The module will look at the changes and developments in both British cinema and British television, and at the links and separations between the two media, during the 1960s and 1970s. Each weekly session will explore one aspect of the subject in an attempt to understand the specificities of the two media within a British social, political and cultural context.

British society and culture underwent substantial change between 1960 and 1980. Having recovered from the Second World War and entered a period of relative prosperity, new opportunities and possibilities were opening up for the British public. The first decade under scrutiny has gone down in popular history as 'The Swinging Sixties' and saw the emergence of The Beatles as a world phenomenon; the second ended with the explosion of Punk Rock and its attendant youth rebellion. Censorship was relaxed, but the waves of immigration in the 1950s left a racial tension that needed to be addressed.

These issues will be examined in reference to specific television and film texts.

Autumn Term Documentary: Filmmaking Histories and Digital Practices 30 credits  

Historically, documentary filmmaking has been among the most highly politicised and topical kinds of media engagement while remaining formally and aesthetically innovative. The module explores how documentary practice has been evolving under the pressure of political events on the one hand, and changes in filmmaking technology from 16mm filmmaking, through television to the digital on the other. The module examines the documentary response to varied political and ideological contexts such as decolonisation, socialism and Arab Spring in different parts of the world including Europe, Asia, Africa and South America in the second half of the twentieth century and in the twenty-first century. It postulates that documentary practice has always been deeply activist in nature with the documentary filmmaking acting as witness and advocate of particular political causes, events and situations at the same time often challenging and subverting established media institutions and outlets.

To continue with this historical trend in the documentary filmmaking the module evaluates various historical and transnational forms of documentary practice in order to discern how they are being activated and used in political contexts, such as advocacy, witnessing and reportage, social change activism in the contemporary digital context. To this end during the course of the module, special attention will be paid to the essay film as a form of documentary practice which combines critical, artistic and documentary practice while engaging actively with lesser known or unknown archival material.

The module is divided into two parts. Weeks 1-6 consists of historical introduction to the documentary filmmaking practices taught through screenings and seminar discussion. The emphasis is put on the innovative strategies developed by filmmakers in response to the complex and challenging political contexts, situations and events. Special attention will be paid to the construction of the narrative, the mode of address, the role of interviews, camera as a witness, the subjective voice, and the use of a variety of footage considered in its historical context. Weeks 7-11 will focus on the ways in which these filmmaking strategies either evolved and changed or continued and flourished in the digital context. The sessions will be a combination of fieldwork visits, masterclasses with documentary practitioners including filmmakers and curators.

Spring Term Contemporary American Cinema 30 credits Adrian Garvey & Eleni Liarou

This course explores the changes which have taken place, and are still taking place, in the production, distribution and exhibition of American film in the past four decades. These changes have occurred under the influence of emerging digital media technologies, so this module considers the impact of computer-generated imaging on production processes, visual aesthetics, and notions of stardom. We will also consider the significance of the growing use of the internet and World Wide Web as a means of distributing and viewing films, and the associated implications of the shift from celluloid to digital media and the multiple-media (eg video games, DVD, merchandising) phenomenon of modern 'blockbuster' movies. We will also look at the relationship between mainstream studios and the expanding independent arena.

Bookending this core material will be two sessions considering the relationship of American cinema to American politics, both at the beginning of the 1970s and now.

The course will be taught via the distribution of reading and viewing materials (the latter on DVD) and weekly seminars to discuss this material and related issues.

Spring Term Issues in Global Television: Analogue, Digital, National and Transnational 30 credits Janet McCabe

This module will explore the rich and varied histories of television within the global context. Initially broadcasters used to be entirely nation-bound: heavily regulated against foreign competition, they aimed for self-sufficiency and had few channels; while analogue defined the linearity of scheduling and delivery. With increased trade and commercial circulation and ever more deregulation of national broadcasting systems, and accelerated by the era of convergence, broadcasters may still operate in a national market, but they also operate in a far more intricate and contested global media landscape. The module aims to draw out the implications of that complexity and understand how different national broadcasters produce, and think about, television - in relation to culture and identities, audiences and users, industry, trade and globalisation.

The first part sketches out the key theoretical and methodological challenges for defining television: how to understand television as shaped by the politics of the nation-state, as well as the cultural imperialism thesis that explains the forces that trespass over national boundaries, and the formation of hybrid cultures drawn from different locales, the phenomena of transnationlisation and deterritorialisation and migrant media and transnational audiences. Part two focuses on ‘national’ television systems and broadcast cultures, offering various case studies to further draw out the implications of the national and globalised paradigms explored in part one. The module concludes by bringing together the different strands, to explore how television formats and ideas about television circulate and are traded, but also adapted and translated into national, often local, sometimes regional communities. Questions of translation and practices of adaptation will be central to the discussion.

Spring Term Transcultural Memory 30 credits Silke Arnold-de Simine

This module will explore theoretical concepts of 'cultural memory' and the interdisciplinary and dynamic field of memory studies. Over the course of the term we will look at social, cultural and political practices that produce 'a sense of the past' and are instrumental in the formation of identities, beliefs and ideologies. We investigate the relation between social and psychological dimensions of memory and between the politics and ethics of remembering and forgetting. We explore how memory content is produced, disseminated and secured with the help of case studies across a range of international locations and cultural forms.

The main questions we will address are how memories travel across national, ethnic and religious borders in a global context; how the palimpsestic layers of a place inform an 'archaeology of memory'; how contested versions of the past can create 'memory wars'; if the creative potential of art and new media can help to subvert hegemonic memories, and if the memory boom of recent decades has contributed to a commercialization of 'experiences of the past' in the heritage industry.

Spring Term Film Festivals 30 credits Dorota Ostrowska

This module explores the role of film festivals in relation to contemporary film culture and aims to answer the question 'why do film festivals matter today and historically?' We will employ a variety of perspectives through which this relationship will be considered: programming; audiences; event-based cultural experience; industry and funding; the status of the films which make up the programming of the festival. We will reflect on how the relationship between contemporary film and film festival cultures is impacted by changes in technology; the site/location/space of the festival; politics, identity politics and geopolitics. We will look at different types of film festivals: city-based, international, identity, national, activist, archival and genre.

Goldsmiths, University of London

For more information, email media-pg (

Autumn Term Strategies of World Cinema 30 or 15 credits   Dr Gareth Stanton

This module examines a selection of films generally understood as examples of ‘world cinema’. It analyses the critical and conceptual approaches which have come to define the academic study of national and international film cultures, specifically ideas of ‘third’ and ‘third world’ cinema, and theories of regional and transnational cultures of production and reception. Divided into three sections, the module will address a body of movies from Africa, Latin America and Asia that have been released over the last forty years according to three guiding themes: global(ised) economies, activism and populism. We will be investing these films’ formal strategies and thematic concerns; their social and cultural specificity or ‘universalism’ (alongside the politics of that distinction); their industrial and institutional contexts; and their national and international status (for example, in their home countries and in the festival circuit). How different forms of colonisation are absorbed and interrogated will be a question that threads through the entire module.

Autumn Term Archaeology of the Moving Image 30 or 15 credits   Dr Richard MacDonald

Our present technological culture, including the technologies that mediate our relationship to the moving image, is dominated by the temporal logic of versions: periodic releases of software and hardware which are presented as incremental improvements to what exists, superseding what came before. The history that versions and versioning proposes is a comfortably reassuring one of steady progress along a straight line towards perfectibility. This module situates itself within the emerging field of inquiry called 'media archaeology' which searches through the archives in order to redeem the repressed and forgotten past of media. An archaeological orientation seeks to reanimate the historical imagination that the logic of versions obscures. It challenges and defamiliarises existing media histories, shifting the boundaries of these narratives conceptually and temporally; displacing the medium (cinema) into a multiplicity of coexisting arrangements for viewing and hearing by technical means, and substituting the deep time of centuries for the familiar myths of origins and invention that lead to our present. Media archaeology is concerned with the untimely sensibilities and ideas embodied in obsolete images and technology, creating an uncanny sense of déjà vu in the present or an alternative path for thinking the future. The module provides a survey of the diverse historiographic projects and creative practices that constitute archaeologies of the moving image. Overall the module invites students to use the archive of past media to reflect critically on their relationship to present moving image culture whilst reimagining its future.

Autumn Term The Ascent of the image: Theories of the Still and Moving Photograph 15 credits   Dr Rachel Moore

Photography has been understood as the founding innovation for all that we have in our visual world today. But what was that innovation? To bring a world in motion to a halt? The first verifiable evidence that there is such a thing as the past? The start of an all-out mania to get a hold of an object or an experience with an image? When these static images were aligned in a sequence and run through a projector, we called them movies. This module will examine the values and meanings once attached to photography and film as regards their relationship to objective reality, to history and to the part they play for our sense of intimacy in being in the world. Much of photography and film theory have required a second thought these days, as the way we make, look at, and more importantly value images has changed significantly many canonical texts. This module will question the differences between still and moving images and assess their significance in today’s visual social world.

Autumn Term Filmmakers Make Theory 15 credits   Dr Rachel Moore

This module will look at Filmmakers who were/are also theorists. Their film work often has an edifying relationship to their theory, which offers a unique opportunity to see theory in action. Moreover, the intimacy such artists have with the image-making process makes for passionate writing and strong, compelling ideas. Not coincidently, these are important ideas with currency for the problems one faces in both making and understanding moving images. The module will address the work of five theorists drawing from a large pool that includes Maya Deren, Stan Brakhage, Jean Epstein, Germaine Dulac, Sergei Eisenstein, Laura Mulvey, Hollis Frampton, Hito Steyerl, Robert Bresson, Raul Ruiz, and Bela Balazs.

Spring Term Representing Reality 15 credits   Dr Daisy Asquith

This module considers the relationship of documentary to re-presenting ‘reality’ and its various ‘truth claims.’ It explores documentary production in its changing social and historical contexts, and across its different distribution platforms, and deals with current debates about documentary ethics and aesthetics. Taught by a range of lecturers (mainly) from the Department of Media, Communications and Cultural Studies, it encompasses both Anglophone and some international documentary traditions, and historical examples from the early Soviet avant-garde to contemporary documentary.

Spring Term Experimental Media 30 or 15 credits   Dr Rachel Moore

The moving image created a revolution in perception. It changed much more than the media: it opened new ways of seeing. Fairly quickly after about 1906 the standard forms of the modern cinema began to stabilise; just as later TV would stabilise around the half-hour segment and the 30-second advert. This module focuses on those who refused to settle down, and who continued the immense deregulation of perception inaugurated by the cinema in 1896.

Between the industries of cinema, TV and digital on one side and art institutions on the other, generations of artists have worked in and on moving image technologies to offer alternative projections of the world. Sometimes personal, sometimes spiritual, sometimes political, this diverse body of work is both a treasury of advanced forms of creativity, and a storehouse of techniques and ways of thinking for new generations. Experimental Media will address moving image and other recording technologies to analyse the breadth and boundaries of what might be considered an experiment, in artistic, activist and popular forms of media production. Topics may include the idea of beauty, medium-specificity, abstraction, sound, time ‘poor’ and ‘imperfect’ cinema, DIY aesthetics, expanded media and ethical considerations.

Spring Term Politics of the Audiovisual 30 or 15 credits    

Around 1900 when the movies began, the world was dominated by the Kaisers, Czars and Kings whose regime crashed in World War I and the Russian revolution. 1929, when the movies became the talkies, was the year of the first great financial crisis of the 20th century. Television coincided with the collapse of empire in India, China and around the world, and with the Cold War that tried to replace empire. The Internet arrives in the era of globalisation when equality and social welfare came under attack from a newly powerful class of the wealthy. Their commitment to capital at all costs, we finally see, may cost us the Earth.

This turbulent history shows how deeply the audiovisual media are involved, not only reflecting, not only propagandising, but the very flesh and blood of contemporary history. It is this sense of politics that this module engages. Ethics is the philosophy of how I should live. Politics is the practice of how we should live. In an age when ‘the personal is the political’, we can no longer pretend that sexism and racism are ethical issues separate from public life. This course concerns how the audiovisual media have made the personal public, the political personal. If the question of politics is how we should live, how might media build or destroy the possibility of a “we”? In the Anthropocene, can we build a ‘we’ that is not exclusively human? Can the hybrid human-technology of audiovisual media teach us how to become more than individual, more than human?

This module investigates the politics of aesthetics and technologies as attempts to control the dispositions of minds and bodies and as struggles for their emancipation. It will address a broad range of topics from the power of sounds, images and visual apparatuses in the 20th and 21st centuries to the problem of democracy, and ideology critique.

Summer Term Social Activist Film 15 credits   Prof Sue Clayton

Can film and digital media bring about social and political change? How do such films work, and what models are there for how filmmakers might relate to their subjects? Further, how are such films funded and distributed - how does their reach differ from conventional cinema and broadcast products?

This short course will introduce you to activist filmmaking and digital media for social change. The module will be relevant for you both if your interest is primarily theoretical, or if you are interested in making and distributing films in this area. We will discuss current debates in the field and, as well as exploring a range of contemporary projects and practices, some of the history of activist media. Amongst the sessions and topics covered will be the history of activist and alternative media, a workshop in participatory media techniques, and case study sessions and in contemporary web-based projects. The module will help you gain a practical and critical knowledge of contemporary approaches to activist media practice across different platforms, as well as the history of activist/community/participatory media. 


King's College London

For more information, email film-studies (

Autumn Term Topics in Global Cinema and Media 20 credits  

This module considers global cinema and media as critical concepts and historical processes. The module seeks to address the compelling presence of global cinema and media and investigate how they produce modes of vision and visibility in the world. Depending on the convener, in this module, students may study global cinema as intersections of industrial, cultural, and aesthetic phenomena, as well as points of critical convergence between gender and sexuality (including LGBTQI+ issues), race and ethnicity, classes, religions, and global politics. The films and other media studied illuminate global phenomena such as political economy, juridical and biopolitical violence, environmental crisis, and art and media markets as these are lived, memorised, politicised, debated, consumed, exploited, and/or addressed. This module will scrutinise the tension and interrelationship between the global, the regional, and the local, and how cinema and media map – and are in turn mapped by – the shifting contours of geopolitical formations, global networks, patterns of migration, and affective mediations. It may also examine political precarity and marginalisation with globalisation, as well as defiance and resistance to it.

Autumn Term Thinking Cinema 20 credits  

One of the most energizing developments in film theoretical discussion in recent years has been the renewed exploration of the interface between film theory and philosophy. This course explores encounters between film, media, philosophy and theory through the work of one or more philosophers and/or philosophical frameworks. More than just a survey of the field of film and philosophy, the module offers a deep dive into cutting edge research at the intersection of the two fields. Depending on the convener, the module may focus attention on the ecological dimension through eco-philosophy, on the ethical realm through debates in ethics or moral philosophy, on ontological and epistemological issues, or on a combination of these concerns. The aim is to think about philosophy in the cinema, and/or related media, while attending to questions of form and spectatorship, and to flesh out how cinema or media might think philosophically across different cultural, historical and national contexts. A variety of films will be analysed alongside the writings of key theoretical and philosophical thinkers, in cinema and beyond, as this course takes film theory and philosophy into new intellectual territory.

Autumn Term Topics in Asian Cinema and Media 20 credits  

This module provides an advanced introduction to a specific topic within the broad field of Asian cinema. Depending on the module convener, this module may offer a survey of the history, historiographical debate, industrial background, reception, theoretical frameworks, and research methodologies of the studies of the cinematic productions and cultures of a particular Asian country, locality, or region, with an eye on its globality and transnationality. Alternatively, it may offer an in-depth discussion of the debate on Asia as method, as well as the research strategies and topics related to the comparative studies between Asian and Euro-American film and media theory and philosophy. This module will highlight the importance of the studies of Asian cinemas within their specific historical, socio-political, and culturo-linguistic contexts, and how these contexts are also cross-cultural and transnational. Some module conveners may focus on mainstream industrial productions, while others will focus on art and experimental cinemas. They will also examine how these cultural productions are intricately connected with socio-political issues including gender and sexuality, race and ethnicity, class, and religious differences. Some of these topics may also help us think further about our global geopolitical order, questions of biopolitical precarity, marginalisation, postcolonialism, and (post-socialist) neoliberalism.

Spring Term History, Society and the Screen 20 credits  

This module examines screen fictions dealing with history and memory, with particular stress on contemporary fiction filmmaking and the discourses about historical representation in the cinema. The period film is often associated with the heritage debates in the early 1990s, nostalgia and the rise of retro styles in postmodern film cultures. However, film representations of the past also allow for nuanced reconfigurations of national, gender, and class identities. Topics may typically include visual culture and the idea of 'pastness' ; literary adaptation; intertextuality and intermediality; retro-aesthetics; memory and traumatic histories; feminist re-readings of the past; and national identities and the global image markets.

Spring Term Media, Form, and Genre 20 credits  

This module aims to provide students with an opportunity to study, at an advanced level, aspects of media, form, and genre, and the relationship between them. The precise content and methodology of the module may vary from year to year, depending on the convener, but it will always take its lead from one or other of these issues - for example, media (e.g. focusing on film, television and/or video); form (e.g. focusing on fiction/non-fiction, narrative/non-narrative, and/or mainstream/avant-garde moving images), or genre (e.g. focusing on the exploitation film, art cinema, artists' film and video, the essay film, documentary, blockbuster, television serial, melodrama, comedy, the musical, or the historical film). The module may range across a variety of examples from various geographic locales and historical time periods or have a concentrated focus on one or two. It aims to provide students with an in-depth knowledge and understanding of a variety of moving image artefacts or texts and the ability to analyze and interpret their medium, form, and genre, situating and discussing those in relation to specialist literature and creative practice. The module will also provide students with opportunities for advanced reflection on the technological, social, cultural, and industrial factors which give rise to media and to specific forms and genres, and to consider the audiences which specific media, forms, or genres attract or are aimed at. Lastly, the module will provide students with knowledge and understanding of the important range of creative practice and scholarly investigation which has worked across media (through, for example, concepts such as 'multimedia', 'intermediality', or 'media archaeology'). Where relevant, the module may incorporate student visits to London media organizations, cinemas, museums, or galleries.

Spring Term Media Aesthetics 20 credits  

The aesthetics of cinema – its formal and stylistic features and particular modes of address – have always drawn on, and refracted, other forms of popular and mass culture. Depending on the module convener, in this module, students may study how popular and mass culture actively constitute and reconfigure cinema and media aesthetics. Alternatively, they may focus on emergent forms of digital media and electronic arts, which offer aesthetic experiences that correspond to our social, cultural, and political formations today. Much of this work calls for an approach that combines historical modes of research – concerned with teasing out the ways in which new forms of media draw upon and adapt the aesthetic strategies and techniques of older media – with more philosophical and theoretical forms of analysis. This course will examine a number of ideas and concepts that have been applied to the aesthetic and social analysis of both popular and more experimental forms of media. Through an examination of historical and contemporary treatments of aesthetic concepts – in Europe, North America, and/or Asia – this module offers an opportunity to critically reflect on the diverse ways in which the aesthetic strategies of media production structure our engagement with it.

Spring Term Topics in European Cinema 20 credits  

European cinema is a longstanding and diverse set of films, filmmaking practices, institutions and organisations that spans the avant-garde, art cinema, and popular film. Frequently defined in opposition to Hollywood, it ranges from the invention of cinema by the Lumière brothers through German Expressionism, Italian NeoRealism, and the French New Wave, to the New Extremism in cinema of the 2000s and the European cinema streaming platforms and film festivals of today. This module offers an opportunity for advanced study of European cinema at the intersection of society, economics, politics, and culture, historically and/or in the present. It does this via a series of case studies of individual films, filmmakers and film movements or analyses of one or more specific themes and issues of importance in European cinema (eg. tradition and modernity, nationalism, democracy and totalitarianism, war, race or migration, national cinema, the coproduction, and so on). These case studies and analyses may also branch into other screen-based media such as television, video, and digital video. Set films and media objects are placed into conversation with historical and theoretical writings and with the often-tumultuous historical events that have shaped Europe and its constituent countries and their cultural imagination.

Queen Mary, University of London

For more information, email Programme Administration Team - sllf-progadmin (

Autumn Term Documentary Film - Theory and Practice 30 credits Ms Athena Mandis

Documentary in its simplest of forms is a recording of an act. The film camera is first and foremost a recording instrument, whether it captures 'life caught unawares' or a fictional scenario. This module examines the history of 'non-fiction' filmmaking in the 20th and 21st century through the understanding of documentary styles and genre. Political, social, ethical and historical issues will be addressed through the engagement of theory and practice.

Autumn Term Production Design: History, Theory, Craft 15 Credits Prof Sue Harris

This module examines the creative practice of production design in cinema, specifically in relation to architectural construction and set design. It takes a historical approach to design as an industrial practice shaped by technology, artistic and design movements, and the discipline of architecture. It proposes critical approaches founded in theory and practice to find ways of analysing film decor and identifying how it contributes to our understanding of film texts.

Autumn Term Film Studies I 30 credits Miss Sasha Litvintseva

The first part of the Film Studies course provides an in-depth foundation in the discipline and its nuances. It examines the many ways in which a century of cinema has shaped our experience of space, time and reality. We analyse the spatio-temporal world of the film as a language organized through shot composition, mise-en-scene, art direction, production design, editing, sound, on screen and off screen space, deployed to dfferent effect across film forms and national contexts. Of all the modern arts, it is perhaps film that has been the most concerned with the many qualities of time. Central to the temporality of film are critical issues of whether film constructs or reveals the world, conveys or distorts 'real time', emancipates alternative identities, acts as interpretive interface between life and death, and whether idneed it suggsts or condemns the possibility of a shared collective time. We then consider various perspectives on film's relationship with the world through ethics, actuality, nonfiction filmmaking and iconic images.

Autumn Term Auteur Direction 30 credits Mr Eugene Doyen

Auteur Direction develops knowledge and skills in fiction filmmaking through workshop teaching. The practical work and the study of film supports the development of a practical project. This may be an individual work or a specific role within a collaborative production. The essay is a study of fiction direction in relation to either a body of work, a single film, or in terms of directing as part of a collaborative production process.

Spring Term Film Studies 2 30 credits Miss Sasha Litvintseva

The second part of the Film Studies course continues to delve into some of the most pressing and current questions of the discipline, while also being accessible to students who did not take the first part. We begin by looking at alternative filmic practices, from structural film¿s exploration of the elements of the medium to contemporary amateur practices. Cinema possesses the potential to deploy strategies to break binary representations: mainstream and marginal, human and non-human, self and other, dominant and dispossessed. We therefore look at the relationship of film and the nonhuman, explored through problematizing the notion of `landscape¿, iconic images of the nonhuman, and film¿s relationship with animals through the notion of vegan cinema. Approaching film as a recording device arguably foregrounds the ethical dimensions of the medium if it is thought of as type of witnessing. Finally, we consider the way cinema is shaped by as well as shapes history, moves through transnational spaces as well as becomes embedded in certain national contexts, and engage in decolonial perspectives on cinema.

Spring Term Film Philosophy 30 credits James Harvey

This module explores the relationship between film and philosophy by examining how films raise philosophical questions about politics. We will learn what philosophers have to say about cinema, and how filmmakers incorporate philosophical perspectives, but we will also explore how films can inform the ways we understand the world around us, the society we live in, and the political systems to which we are subject. From social contract philosophy, to policing and justice, as well as conceptions of the subject, political film theory and political aesthetics, this course will address the question of how films ‘do’ social and political philosophy.


SOAS, University of London

For more information on modules relating to East Asia, email eastasia (

For updated option module offerings for 2021-22 or more information on modules relating to Africa, NME, Linguistics, South & South East Asia, email slcl (

Autumn Term New Taiwan Cinema and Beyond 15 credits  

This module introduces history, theory and methodology in the study of Taiwan cinema through examining key works by major filmmakers from Taiwan and the Chinese diaspora as well as the socio-cultural condition of their production, distribution, exhibition and consumption.  Special attention will be paid to issues such as the construction of local and national identities through film, national film historiography, as well as mainstream and alternative film practices.

Autumn Term East Asian Cinema 15 credits  

The module is designed to offer a critical overview of East Asian cinema, and its interregional flows from the beginning to the present day. It will be looking at how actors and directors travel across the region. 

Autumn Term Japanese Cinema 15 credits  

The module is designed to offer a critical overview of Japanese cinema, and its progression from the beginning to the present day. It will be looking at how actors and directors are involved in the industry.

University College London

For more information, email selcs.postgraduate (

Autumn Term East and South Asian Cinema 30 credits Mondays 9-11AM  

For better or worse, the conceptualisation and deployment of ‘Asian Cinema’ as a critical term has secured a place in both academia and on film festival circuits worldwide since the late 1990s. This module will explore the cultural and aesthetic metaphorics and allegories of cinemas in and across East and Southeast Asia, in effect examining major forms of art cinema and political cinema as well as popular genres and industrial practices. More detailed excogitation will be paid to the emergence of a modernist art cinema in Taiwan, post-WTO era cinema in China, as well as popular and marginal classifications such as the ‘Thai western,’ LGBTQ+ traditions found in Hong Kong cinema, the financial thriller in South Korean cinema, migrant films from Singapore, the ultra-violent film from Japan, and the experimental-ethnographic film from Cambodia. The course will additionally explore the different engagement of states across Asia—their regionalism and cooperation—through film co-productions and film policy, and the ways in which these cinemas have decentered the flows of cultural globalisation emerging from the Global North.

Autumn Term Hong Kong Cinema: City and Screen 30 or 15 credits Mondays 4-6PM  


Autumn Term Women Filmmakers 15 credits Mondays 4-6PM Dr Lucia Rinaldi

This module focuses on female filmmakers - from early-cinema pioneers and mid-twenty century innovators to contemporary leading directors - who have contributed to establishing and transforming the cinematic experience. The module aims to introduce students to a variety of films made by, and often about, women, and to familiarise them with key texts from genre and gender film theory and women’s film history. We will examine how female filmmakers have addressed genre/gender traditions and expectations, challenged cinematic forms and canons, or reworked established conventions and characters to represent and respond to shifting identities, roles and politics in our societies. With close analysis of individual films, we will investigate style, content and meaning of the directors’ work.

Autumn Term Short Films 30 credits Tuesdays, 11AM-1PM Dr Lucia Rinaldi

This module will consider a variety of film genres under the ’short film’ rubric. We will analyse the impact of film length on narrative, characterisation, persuasive strategies, and other aspects of the short film. Both the short fiction film and genres such as the public information film, the art film and the science film are explored.

Autumn Term The Child in Film 30 credits Tuesdays, 2-4PM Prof Deborah Martin

This module will look at the relationship between cinema and the child, paying attention to questions of theory, politics, aesthetics, and performance. The presence of the child in film has provoked questions about correlations between the child’s perception and film itself, and discussions about ways in which the medium might emulate child perception. The figure of the child is associated, discursively and culturally with a range of issues which play out in cinema in interesting ways. This module will discuss ways in which the child is present in cinema from different global traditions, genres and schools. Indicative filmography includes: The Bicycle Thieves (De Sica, 1948), The Young and the Damned (Buñuel, 1950), The 400 Blows (Truffaut, 1959), The Spirit of the Beehive (Erice, 1973), My Life in Pink (Berliner, 1997) The Swamp (Martel, 2001), Bad Education (Almodóvar, 2004), Under the Same Moon (Riggen, 2007), Bad Hair (Rondón, 2013).

Autumn Term Global Cinemas 30 credits Wednesdays, 9-11AM  
Global cinema is an exciting new perspective and cinematic development for film studies. This module aims to elucidate how the global in global cinema acts as a register to how all nations originate in and remain deeply embedded in global norms, but also how the local allows the practices of globalization to flourish. It is then contended that global cinema is conceived as operating in the intricacies of what Bishnupriya Ghosh (2011) labels 'speculative globalities,' in that screen media zooms in on icons, conditions, practices and processes that attract intense affect, spawn spectacles, or motivate collective action. We can trace this globality from the genre’s transnational appeal to the international repute of an institution to worldwide suffering caused by flexible labor markets or a new pandemic, and it is here where global cinema refracts these cultural exchanges and the perils of globalization and technology with increased urgency.  

This course will explore three important vectors of global cinema, articulated via the term’s theoretical usefulness: 1) as issue-based concept that instantiates the geopolitical imaginary of a particular historical time and place; 2) as a new category that challenges notions of the peripherality or Third Worldism; and 3) as the latest historical phase in world cinema studies. We will debate on this course whether global cinema challenges assumptions that cinema cannot and should not be more than spectacular entertainment or art cinema’s occasional accentuation to global issues. We will also take into consideration how global cinema provides audiences with knowledge of many new parts of the globe, enabled through the englobement of communication technology and increased human mobility. Finally, we will examine the unique cultural, demographic, aesthetic, social, political and biological dimensions of cinemas from China, Nigeria, Japan, Germany, the United States, South Korea, Jamaica, Egypt and Taiwan to pay attention to their circulation in the era of neoliberal globalization.
Spring Term Politics, Conflict, Revolution: From Third Cinema to the Poor Image 30 credits Mondays, 9-11AM Dr Emily Baker & Dr Lucy Bollington

In this module, you will examine the relationship between politics, revolution, conflict and the moving image through the discussion of visual case studies and key theoretical texts produced between the 1940s and the present. The module will address cinematic genres and movements ranging from Third Cinema to documentary film and experimental ethnography and broach multiple understandings of power and ‘the political’ from decolonial and postcolonial perspectives to the aesthetic and political theory of Jacques Rancière. The primary visual texts to be discussed are largely, though not exclusively, from non-Western contexts, including Latin America, Africa and Japan.

Spring Term Genre in Italian Cinema 30 credits Mondays, 11-1PM Dr Cristina Massaccesi & Dr Lucia Rinaldi

Genres have always been important commercially to Italian cinema, and their codes and conventions, drawing on previous cultural traditions such as the commedia dell’arte, epic, melodrama and opera, were established in the pre-sound era. Many genres have not simply reflected Italian society but also played a key role in shaping the nation’s identity and aspirations and depicting the country’s capacities (or lack thereof) of adaptation to change and to social integration.

In this module, you will learn about the birth and evolution of two different cinematographic genres in Italian cinema. You will analyse a selection of key works and compare and contrast the way in which different directors developed their unique features and which generic elements have a local or an international appeal. Furthermore, you will explore their historical and social context and examine the relationship between cinema, social issues and historical conditions that formed the background and shaped the development of popular genres in Italy.

The module will cover the following topics, which may be subject to variation depending on developments in academic research and the interests of the class: key concepts in genre theory, genres in Italian film, history of Italian cinema, analysis of a selection of films from two different genres. 

Spring Term Nordic Cinema: Contextualising Dreyer, Bergman and Dogme 30 credits Mondays 2-4PM Prof Claire Thomson

This module will offer an introduction to the cinema of the five Nordic nations (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden). Taking a chronological approach, the module examines how cinema developed in the region from 1895 to the present day, using weekly film case studies to examine national and regional iterations of turning points in cinema history such as the advent of sound, and the digital revolution. A range of significant filmmakers and movements are discussed, as well as aspects of film culture and practice specific to the Nordic region.

The module will cover the following topics, which may be subject to variation depending on developments in academic research and the interests of the class:

  • Early and silent cinema in Scandinavia

  • Film genres such as melodrama, comedy, documentary

  • Key auteurs such as Carl Th. Dreyer and Ingmar Bergman

  • Production contexts and film policy, such as Dogme 95, small-nation cinema

  • Representation of landscapes, cities, and cultural practices.

Spring Term Television Narratives, 1990-2020: A Gendered Lens 15 credits Tuesdays, 9-11AM Dr Stefano Rossoni

The aim of this module is to examine the representation of gender and sexuality across television narratives of the last 30 years, a period in which television as practice and product has been changing radically. Structured around ten themes – e.g. youth, politics, serial killers, friendship, sex, history, noir, and vampires – each session examines how the representations of gender identities, sexuality, race and class have changed from television’s second golden age to the post-television era.

The thematic emphasis will be on the ways in which characters perform identities and establish relationships; however, these narrative and audio-visual aspects of content will be framed in terms of the technological and medium-specific parameters in which they unfold. For example, how does televisual seriality impact on the representation of friendships, transformation of identity, or history? How does the transition from flow tv to on-demand, streamed content impact on narrative, and on viewer identification?

The module will not only examine issues of representation but also question how these narratives reflect and inform social trends across cultures, languages and societies (for example, through transnational movement of television professionals, or international sales and remakes of series). The gender perspective will offer a standpoint from which to reflect on how the reconfiguration of narrative structures and genres contributes to new cultural paradigms and emotional repertoires. For example, how have televisual stardom, neo-auteurism and fandom (re-)shaped, and been shaped by individual and collective identities?

Finally, the module will deal with developments in production, reception and technology, examining changes in screenwriting and directing practices, and addressing how the transition to digital broadcasting and subscription-based streaming services such as Netflix intensified the transnational flows of TV series and radically changed their consumption.

The focus of the module is on European and North American television since 1990, with a wider international focus where relevant.

Spring Term Medicine on Screen: Representations of Doctors, Health Care and Medicine in Film from the 1920s to the Present 30 credits Tuesdays, 2-4PM Mr Brian Glasser

In recent years, narratives of illness and medical practice have been subject to intensive scrutiny by scholars in the relatively new field of ‘Health Humanities’. Literary works have undoubtedly provided many highly complex accounts of the ways in which ill-health and medicine affect the lives of individuals, their families and communities. However, for much of the twentieth century, the cinema provided mass audiences with an equally powerful and more readily accessible source of images and ideas about doctors, illness and medical practice. Notwithstanding this, it has thus far attracted much less scholarly attention.

The study of medicine in film will involve close textual and contextual analysis of relevant movies, and be based on a good basic understanding of the language of film and relevant aspects of film theory, as well as the comparative study of narrative in medicine, literature and film. The emphasis will be on representations and narratives of ‘medicine in general’, but will also look at the systematic presentation of different aspects of medicine (eg. doctor-patient relationships; professional ambitions and rivalries, in particular the role of nurses in medical care; medicine in non-Western contexts; doctors as patients; the gender politics of health care and medicine; and the peculiar psychological and professional challenges and conflicts associated with the practice of psychiatry and psychotherapy. The module will also consider performative issues in the learning and practice of medicine as represented in films.

Spring Term Evil, Innocence & Identification: Genre Film & Philosophy 30 credits Wednesdays, 9-11AM Prof Susanne Kord

This module aims to read a series of classic genre films against two backgrounds: identification theories in film, specifically those involving POV (point-of-view camera angles), and philosophy, specifically texts focussing on the nature of evil. Central texts will include Scott McCloud’s work on POV, work by Murray Smith and T. S. Kord on identification issues in pop genre film, and important works on moral philosophy by authors ranging from Friedrich Nietzsche and Sigmund Freud to Susan Sontag, Fred and Terry Eagleton.

Spring Term Race and Ethnicity in Contemporary Latin American Cinema 30 credits Thursdays, 2-4PM Maria D’Argenio

In this module, we will examine the ways in which recent Latin American cinema engages with issues of race and ethnicity. After an initial introduction to key debates around race, ethnicity and around the more recent notions of multiculturalism and cultural diversity, we will devote each session to the analysis of representative thought-provoking films and the discussion of relevant theoretical texts from postcolonial/decolonial, race and film studies. We will discuss films from Mexico, Guatemala, Cuba, Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina, focusing on the representation of ethnic/racial identities, agency, resistance, conflict and otherness. Specific topics to be addressed include socio-racial hierarchies; the legacy of colonialism; the interaction between gender and race; the notion of indigeneity; nationness and citizenship; land and environmental issues; decolonial aesthetics; film activism, among others. Throughout the module, we will assess the extent to which films are challenging dominant narratives of race and ethnicity and whether they are succeeding in offering de-colonial approaches.