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Introduction to Film Studies (10 credit points)

Course Times & Enrolment

This course is currently unavailable.

Course Summary

Learn more about film style, narrative, editing, camera work and film history. Based around fascinating and often surprising film clips from the early years of cinema to the present day, this course will offer you new ways of looking at film and allow you to explore and develop your own ideas through class discussion.

Course Details

Pre-requisites for enrolment

No prior knowledge required.

Content of Course

Week by week themes are listed below, The main reference film from the filmography appears in brackets but a range of clips from other relevant films will be used to illustrate the tutor's presentation and will be discussed in class:

1. Narrative

2. Style

3. Editing

4. Genre

5. Authorship

6. Realism

7. Ideology

8. Stardom

9. Recent American Cinema

10. Recent European Cinema

Teaching method(s)

Film clip and class discussion based.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course students should be able to:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the basic interpretive techniques of film-making: eg know how camerawork, editing, mis-en-scène are used to create meaning.

  • Appreciate how a combination of industrial, commercial and artistic factors contributes to shape the history of cinema as an art form.

  • Demonstrate an awareness of the ways in which films are made from socio-political and ideological angles and how these shape the representation of characters, places, etc.


Core Readings


  • Bordwell, D.& Thompson, K. 2010 paperback or any other edition. Film Art: An Introduction. USA: McGraw-Hill


  • Monaco, J. 2009 paperback or any other edition. How to Read a Film, London, Oxford University Press.

  • Cook P. and Bernink M. The Cinema Book, London, bfi, any edition.

  • Bazin, André. 1984. What is Cinema?, vol 1 and 2, Berkeley, University of California Press.

  • Bordwell, D. 2006. The Way Hollywood Tells It, Berkeley, University of California Press.

  • Perez, G, 1998. The Material Ghost, London, Johns Hopkins University Press.

Web Sources


Senses of Cinema:

British Film Institute:

Class Handouts

Handouts will be provided.


10 credit courses have one assessment. Normally, the assessment is a 2000 word essay, worth 100% of the total mark, submitted by week 12. To pass, students must achieve a minimum of 40%. There are a small number of exceptions to this model which are identified in the Studying for Credit Guide.

Studying for Credit

If you choose to study for credit you will need to allocate significant time outwith classes for coursework and assessment preparation. Credit points gained from this course can count towards the Certificate of Higher Education.


If you have questions regarding the course or enrolment, please contact COL Reception at Paterson's Land by email or by phone 0131 650 4400.

Student support

If you have a disability, learning difficulty or health condition which may affect your studies, please let us know by ticking the 'specific support needs' box on your course application form. This will allow us to make appropriate adjustments in advance and in accordance with your rights under the Equality Act 2010. For more information please visit the Student Support section of our website.