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FI340-15 Film Cultures

SCAPVC - Film & Television Studies
Undergraduate Level 3
Module leader
Alastair Phillips
Credit value
Module duration
9 weeks
100% coursework
Study location
University of Warwick main campus, Coventry
Introductory description

The idea of ‘film culture’ rests at the heart of the many ways in which filmmakers, audiences, curators, distributors, exhibitors, journalists, critics and scholars engage with the medium of the moving image. But what does it mean? How have these meanings changed over time? What is the relationship between the idea of ‘film culture’ and broader trends in today’s cultural landscape? This module introduces students to various debates and perspectives that will illuminate the field. It allows students to gain an important practical, as well as critical, sense of what ‘working in the film industry’ might entail on a broader level beyond the vectors of film production.

Module aims

‘Film Cultures’ aims to provide students with a sophisticated grounding in the various ways by which film culture has been conceptualised, articulated and disseminated at key moments in the history of the moving image. Students will be able to reflect on an enormous variety of methods, texts and experiences ranging from the 1930s through to the present day.

Outline syllabus

This is an indicative module outline only to give an indication of the sort of topics that may be covered. Actual sessions held may differ.

Week 1: what is film culture?
Week 2: the film canon and its challenges
Week 3: the emergence of film culture in the 1920s: discourses and practices
Week 4: the museum and the archive
Week 5: the cinematheque - programming the past in the present
Week 7: film publishing – books and journals
Week 8: the film festival - debates and practices
Week 9: the film festival - debates and practices
Week 10: digital film culture today

Learning outcomes

By the end of the module, students should be able to:

  • By the end of this module, students should be able to understand and critique the various ways by which international film culture has been conceptualised, curated, disseminated and discussed over the years. Students will have an informed grasp of critical debates surrounding the related phenomena of film clubs, film festivals, film journals, film museums and archives, film publishing labels, and contemporary online film portals such as streaming services, blogs and websites. Students will possess a historicised grasp of the notion of the film canon and how it has been formulated, challenged and resisted at key moments in film culture. Students will also have a practical and nuanced understanding of how many of these concepts and ideas are articulated and experienced within contemporary forms of screen curatorial practice.
Indicative reading list

Bosma, Peter (2015) Film Programming: Curating for Cinemas, Festivals, Archives (Wallflower)
De Valck, Marijke (2014) Film Festivals: From European Geopolitics to Global Cinephilia (AUP)
De Valck, Marijke (2016) Film Festivals: History, Theory, Method, Practice (Routledge)
Grieveson, Lee and Wasson Haidee (2008) Inventing Film Studies (Duke University Press)
Hagener, Malte (2014) The Emergence of Film Culture (Berghahn Press)
Harbord, Janet (2002) Film Cultures (Sage)
Keathley, Christian (2005) Cinephilia and History, or the Wind in the Trees (Indiana University Press)
De Konig, Martijn et al (2014) Cinephilia: Movies, Love, Memory
Martin, Adrian and Rosenbaum, Jonathan (2003) Movie Mutations (British Film Institute
Nowell-Smith, Geoffrey and Dupin, Christophe (2014) The British Film Institute, Government and Film Culture
Polan, Dana (2007) Scenes of Instruction (University of California Press)
Roud, Richard (1983) Passion for Films: Henri Langlois and the Cinémathèque Française
Sitton, Robert (2014) Lady in the Dark: Iris Barry and the Art of Film
Usai, Paolo Cherchi (2008) Film Curatorship: Archives, Museums and the Digital Marketplace (Austrian Film Museum)

Subject specific skills

This module develops skills of audio-visual literacy, through close textual and/or contextual analysis in relation to the moving image and sound. It may also develops understandings of historical, theoretical and conceptual frameworks relevant to screen arts and cultures.

Transferable skills
  • critical and analytical thinking in relation
  • independent research skills
  • team work
  • clarity and effectiveness of communication, oral and written
  • accurate, concise and persuasive writing
  • audio-visual literacy

Study time

Type Required
Lectures 9 sessions of 1 hour (8%)
Seminars 9 sessions of 3 hours (23%)
Tutorials 1 session of 1 hour (1%)
Demonstrations 9 sessions of 2 hours (15%)
Fieldwork 9 sessions of 5 hours (38%)
External visits (0%)
Private study 18 hours (15%)
Total 118 hours
Private study description

independent research and class preparation


No further costs have been identified for this module.

You must pass all assessment components to pass the module.

Assessment group A2
Weighting Study time
Curatorial project 100% 32 hours

students make do 1 x 4,000 words critical assignment + 500 words plan or 1 x curatorial project with critical reflection (1,000 words)

Feedback on assessment

Written feedback on assessed work and oral feedback by appointment


This module is Core optional for:

  • Year 4 of UHPA-RP43 Undergraduate Hispanic Studies with Film Studies

This module is Optional for:

  • Year 3 of UFIA-W620 Undergraduate Film Studies
  • Year 4 of UFIA-W621 Undergraduate Film Studies (with Year Abroad)
  • Year 4 of UFIA-QW25 Undergraduate Film and Literature
  • Year 4 of UFIA-QW26 Undergraduate Film and Literature (with Study Abroad)

This module is Core option list A for:

  • Year 4 of UGEA-RP33 Undergraduate German with Film Studies

This module is Option list A for:

  • Year 3 of UFIA-QW25 Undergraduate Film and Literature
  • Year 4 of UFRA-R1WA Undergraduate French with Film Studies