Module Study Guide
Academic Year 2018–2019
MA50264E – Film Analysis
Table of contents
- Module overview…………………………………………………………………………………………………… 4
- Assessment and feedback……………………………………………………………………………………. 5
- Things you need to know……………………………………………………………………………………. 12
1.1 Introduction, aims and summary of content
Building on the previous modules “Film Movements” and “Film Theory”, this module consolidates and expands your knowledge towards the study of particular case studies with regards to format, genre, national cinema and representation. This grounded approach to film analysis enables you to dissect films in terms of film practice, especially cinematography, editing and screenwriting. Thus, you are encouraged to socio-culturally frame your filmmaking, which addresses issues of spectatorship and exhibition.
1.2 Learning outcomes to be assessed
- Research: the ability to select and use research in a creative, independent and appropriate manner and to analyse and draw conclusions from research for future work
- Creative synthesis: the ability to generate and develop ideas, concepts, proposals, solutions or arguments that demonstrate creative and intellectual enquiry
- Contextualisation: the ability to locate their own work within the wider context of art, media and design practice, including the historical, theoretical, critical, professional, cultural, environmental and technological
- Communication: the ability to communicate effectively in an oral, written and visual form and an engagement with forms of critical analysis, argument and debate
1.3 Scheduled contact hours
|Teaching Contact Hours||48 hours|
|Independent Study Hours||152 hours|
|Total Learning Hours||200 hours|
2 Assessment and feedback
2.1 Summative assessment grid
Type of Assessment
Word Count or equivalent
(if Professional Body-PSRB applies)
Submission due-date & time
Method of Submission & Date of Feedback
|Electronic; 15 working days after deadline|
2.2 Assessment brief including criteria mapped to learning outcomes
ESSAY PORTFOLIO (weighting: 100%)
Assignment 1: AV Essay
In your essay-writing pairs (see assignment 3), choose one week according to the preferred topic, and make a 3-5 minutes AV Essay. An AV essay is film criticism with moving images. It is a kind of nonfiction film (usually a compilation film) making the same intellectual points a traditional written essay would. According to Peter Monaghan (2016), audio-visual essays take a variety of forms, but regardless of which variant is deployed, the goal is to use visual means to reveal, analyse, and even discover striking aspects of moving-image form and technique in relation to a particular argument or hypothesis. An AV essay, for example, shows that particular filmmakers have characteristic ways of framing images, or use certain visual motifs in particular films. Typically the essays make their points by using excerpts of existing works – hence, they are “compilation films” – films made of archive material.
Consult these two websites for more information about AV essays: http://www.movingimagearchivenews.org/has-the-video-essay-arrived/
You are free to choose any film (and number of films) you want, but it has to relate to the weekly topic and making use of the weekly readings. You have to cite the readings in your film’s end credits. After you screen the film in class, there will be a 10-minute discussion, in which your knowledge from the reading will be tested.
You cannot choose any of the films fully screened in class (though you can choose films, from which we watched clips in class). Also, you should avoid making the same intellectual points about your films that were made by your tutors in class. Originality of thought, critical rigour, academic research and the technical quality of your film will be the formative assessment criteria.
Each student is expected to equally contribute to the AV essay in the subsequent discussion. You are allowed to repeat the AV essay, if you feel you want to improve your grade.
It is recommended that the AV essay can be the precursor for your written essay, in which you explore your hypothesis, scope and methodology.
After screening, during the discussion of your AV essay you are expected to make notes from the feedback given by peers and your tutors, which should help you to help you with your written essay. These notes will be part of a feedback journal that you keep throughout all assignments on this module, and which you will submit in your Essay Portfolio. This journal can be electronic of hand- written.
Date/Time/Method of Submission
The AV essay screening and discussion will take place in seminars in the week of your chosen topic. You can choose the week yourself, but if you leave your decision for too long, you may be randomly allocated. Once you commit to a date, you have to stick to it. If you cancel on the day, you may not get a second chance to present your AV essay.
Every screening will be followed by a 10-minute QA from tutors and peers, during which your knowledge of the subject will be tested. There will be no other opportunity to screen and discuss the film, other than your seminar slots. A link to your essay film and feedback notes will be part of the Essay Portfolio you submit at the end.
- Clarity and focus of argument: Make sure you have a hypothesis and
- Film Form: The main aim of this assignment is to enable you to identify, discuss and critically analyse how ideas and meaning are expressed through the formal elements of film language. Thus, you have to properly refer to mise-en-scene, cinematography, editing and/or sound. You should choose at least two of these formal elements for your analysis, and relate them to the film’s themes and
- Critical Analysis: Your AV essay must not be descriptive or too abstract, but needs to
analyse/conceptualise the film by applying a certain theory. This means, you should have a clear argument/hypothesis and methodology. Do NOT just describe historical developments or give descriptive overviews of theories.
- Structure: Ensure the film has a logical flow and progression
- Referencing: You have to reference the sources in the end credits (or during the film, if you want to)
- Research: You are expected to refer to the reading of the particular week, but you are free to consult additional academic sources. These can be online sources, but make sure they are peer-reviewed journals or
- Link to essay (assignment 3): You can use the same topic as for your essay, but it is not compulsory.
- Audio-visual quality: Despite its intellectual rigour, the AV essay is still a film artefact, so you are expected to produce it in the highest possible video and sound quality. Your postproduction skills will be tested on this
Assignment 2: Personal Blog
As part of this module you will have to keep a personal blog. The blog will be an indicator for professional and personal development throughout the entire module in relation to your other assignments (AV essay and written essay), but also to personal experience of watching and analysing films in general. In class, you will get a weekly task for writing a blog entry, so you will end up with (at least) 10 blog entries. For each blog task you have to focus on the relationship between film language (e.g. editing, cinematography, mise-en-scene) and thematic/narrative aspects relating to the methodology you are choosing. This is called “closed reading” and enables you to substantiate your arguments with the analysis of aesthetics in particular scenes, rather than making vague and unverified claims about the film.
You are encouraged to use visuals and present your entries in an interesting and stimulating manner. Make sure you have no grammar and spelling mistakes. Do not cheat and write all entries last-minute, as the blog entry dates (which have to be displayed) reveal when it was written. Your blog HAS to be written as individual entries with the original date. Do not just write the blog offline and then put it all online in one entry. Randomly selected students will be asked to show their blog tasks on a weekly basis and discuss them in the seminars. Below are some examples:
Date/Time/Method of Submission
The blog link will be submitted as part of the Essay Portfolio. Do NOT use password-protection or any other login credentials. The blog has to be public. If your blog cannot be opened, it will be marked as a fail.
Assignment 3: Written Essay
Word count: 2,000 words (+/- 100 words) – excluding bibliography
In the same pairs as your presentation (assignment 1) you have to write an essay based on a hypothesis you develop during your seminars. The hypothesis will relate to the theories and concepts covered each week, and you are encouraged to choose the same topic as your AV essay. You have to base your essay on a specific film, which cannot be a film that was fully screened in the lectures (you can use films from which clips have been shown in the lectures/seminars). You can mention more than one film, but your main focus should be on one film case study only.
The submission of the essay will have four compulsory milestones:
- Essay Tutorial 1 (Week 6 in-class): deliver an abstract (hypothesis, scope, methodology, bibliography)
- Essay Tutorial 2 (Week 8 in-class): deliver an essay plan (bullet point outline)
- Essay Tutorial 3 (Week 11 in-class): deliver first essay draft
- Final Submission (Week 14): submission of final draft on BB via Turnitin
- Co-writing: Academic co-writing is common the natural and social sciences, and it is also increasingly done in the humanities. The advantage is that every decision undergoes critical scrutiny, is subjected to discussion and agreement, and may result in a more rigorous academic essay. Through co-writing you experience the social practice of academic writing by developing and negotiating new ways of thinking about and analysing You will receive guidance on co-writing in the seminars.
- Essay writing: You will receive proper guidance on essay writing in the seminars. It is important that you start planning your essay early and attend the essay
- Critical Analysis: Your essay must not be descriptive, but needs to analyse/conceptualise the film by applying certain theoretical models. This means, you should have a clear argument/hypothesis and methodology. Do NOT just describe historical developments or give overviews of
- Bibliography: You have to include a bibliography of all references in your
- Referencing: Make sure you cite other sources clearly and properly, whether you paraphrase or use direct quotations. Failure to do so (i.e. copying someone else’s work without proper citation) is considered plagiarism – see further below. You are expected to use the Harvard system for in-text citation and your bibliography. For any referencing support, consult the subject librarian, Katie MacNamara (see p. 3).
- Research: You are expected to refer to the reading of the particular week, but you also have to use additional sources. These can be online sources, but make sure they are peer- reviewed journals or ebooks. You HAVE to use at least three academic sources in total. “Academic” sources exclude the film themselves (put films separately in a “Filmography”) and non-peer-reviewed papers/books. The following sources are banned:
- notes from lectures/seminars (do not cite your tutor or peers, but go to the original
- film reviews (imdb, rottentomatoes, rogerebert, etc) and promotional material (DVD extras, crew/cast interviews, etc.) – you can use these only if you make an argument about the production process or marketing strategies
- General format: use page numbers; all film titles should be in italics; use headings to separate introduction, individual chapters and conclusion; use 1.5 spacing and 12 sans-serif font (e.g. Arial or Calibri)
Every time you receive peer or tutor feedback in class or during tutorials in relation to your essay development, you are expected to make notes – make sure you date your entries. This should help you to retain information, improve your essay and inspire you to consider things in different ways. This journal will be submitted as part of the Essay Portfolio. This journal can be electronic of hand- written.
Date/Time/Method of Submission
The written essay, including all development documents, will be submitted as part of the essay portfolio (see below).
Essay Portfolio Submission
The essay portfolio will be submitted via TurnitIn on Tuesday 1st May by 17.00 by every essay group member individually. Remember that all three assignments have to be passed in order for you to pass the module. The submission will be one Word document that has to include:
- Cover page (grading and feedback sheet – will be provided on BB)
- Blog links (no password-protection) for both group members (assignment 2)
- AV essay link on Youtube, Vimeo, etc. (no password-protection)
- Essay abstract
- Essay plan
- Essay first draft
- Final essay
- Feedback journal (feedback notes from presentation and all essay tutorials) – if you have hand-written notes, you can take stills and embed them in the document
Essay Portfolio Assessment Criteria
You will be graded against the below criteria, all of which apply across the three assignments:
- Scope and argument (25%) (group): topic addressed directly, argument is coherent and well-supported, critical rigour towards topic, good use of methodology
- Research (25%) (group): appropriateness and range of sources, critical evaluation and use of sources
- Writing technique (20%) (group): effective introduction, paragraphing, sentencing structure, proper citation and bibliography, effective conclusion, no grammar and spelling mistakes, clarity of language
- Professional Practice (30%) (individual): includes attendance and participation in seminars, professional conduct, written and oral communication, collaboration, meeting deadlines, response to feedback for all assignments, completion of all essay milestones
Please consider the submission deadline. If your submission is only 1 minute late, it will be penalised, and you will only get a maximum of 40%, regardless of the quality of the work. If you do not submit within 5 days of the deadline, you will automatically fail the assignment. Make sure you don’t leave the submission last minute, as the system can become congested (technical problems cannot be used as an excuse for late submission). Do NOT email the assignment. Submission is strictly through the dedicated Blackboard link.
For guidance on online submission of assignments, including how to submit and how to access online feedback, please refer to the UWL Blackboard student-help pages at:
2.3 Learning materials
The reading list for this module is available on Blackboard in the module area or by
searching https://uwl.rl.talis.com/index.html. This shows real-time availability of books in the library and provides direct links to online resources, recommended by your lecturer.
Remember to log into Blackboard daily to receive all the latest news and support available at your module sites!
Subject guides (https://www.uwl.ac.uk/library/finding-and-using-information/subject-guides-libguides) are also available to help you find relevant information for assignments, with contact details of the Academic Support Librarian for your School.