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Introduction to Film Studies (Online) (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 previous knowledge required, and students will need to be able to confidently use videoconferencing software and be comfortable with using websites.

Special Information

In order to participate in this course, you will need access to a computer with a speaker, microphone and an internet connection.

Content of Course

Over the ten weeks we will pay special attention to the weekly film under focus but also look into the various features of cinema using clips from numerous other films. Very much a discussion-based class, where different points of view are welcome, our purpose will be to explore and explain the significance of cinema as an entertainment and an art form.

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)

Lecture based with class discussion and group work. This course will be taught through a combination of recorded materials and live online sessions.

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.

    Key Films:

    See Weeks 1-10 above

Web Sources


Senses of Cinema:

British Film Institute:


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.