EAF1506 - Interrogating Screens

2020/1 Module description

StaffDr Debra Ramsay - Convenor
Credit Value30
ECTS Value15
NQF Level4
Duration of Module Term 1: 11 weeks;

Module description

Interrogating Screens will introduce you to key skills in formal analysis for film and television. It offers you an essential technical tool kit for interrogating film and television form and style, considering properties of image, audio, editing, storytelling and non-narrative media modes. To do this, the module covers a wide range of big and small screen texts from different historical periods, cultures, genres and movements. By the end of the module, you will be proficient in the use of a range of tools and techniques for close formal analysis and will be able to relate this analysis outwards to an understanding of relevant cultural and industrial contexts and conditions.

Module aims

The module aims to:

  • introduce you to the essential technical vocabulary for the close reading of film and television form and style;
  • teach you how to apply this vocabulary in oral and written forms in constructing original analyses and close readings of texts;
  • introduce you to a wide range of cinematic and television styles and genres from global media histories;
  • enable you to understand how particular movements and trends in film and television form relate to their particular cultural and historical contexts;
  • develop your knowledge of the cinema industry;
  • develop your core study skills in academic reading, writing, research and presentation;
  • develop your ability to work individually and in a team.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Demonstrate a critical appreciation of some of the dominant concepts, methods and debates informing the formal analysis of film and television.
  • 2. Analyse the form and content of particular film and television texts.
  • 3. Describe the variety of ways in which film and television texts can be compared and contrasted with one another.
  • 4. Discuss different traditions of film and television-making in different national and international contexts.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 5. Analyse film and television texts of different periods and to relate their concerns and modes of expression to their historical context.
  • 6. Demonstrate fundamental skills in the close formal, thematic and generic analysis of different kinds of film and television texts.
  • 7. Research and evaluate relevant critical and historical materials for the study of film and television.
  • 8. At a basic level, interrelate texts and discourses specific to your own discipline with issues in the wider context of cultural and intellectual history.
  • 9. At a basic level, understand and analyse relevant theoretical ideas, and apply these ideas to film and television texts.

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 10. Through seminar and groupwork, demonstrate communication skills and work both individually and in groups.
  • 11. Through the writing of essays and other pieces of written work, demonstrate appropriate research and? bibliographic skills, construct a coherent, substantiated argument, and write clear and correct prose.
  • 12. Through research for seminars, essays, and other pieces of written work, demonstrate a proficiency in formation retrieval and analysis.
  • 13. Through research, seminar discussion, group work and the writing of essays and other pieces of written work, question assumptions, distinguish between fact and opinion, and reflect critically on your own learning.

Syllabus plan

Whilst the module’s precise content may vary from year to year, it is envisaged that the syllabus will cover some or all of the following topics:


  • Cinematography
  • Mise-en-scène


  • Hearing screens


  • Approaches to editing
  • Storytelling and non-fiction modes

Within these blocks we will examine a range of case study texts from film and TV history and consider how issues such as genre, realism, modernism, experimentation, technology and industry impact on media form and style.

The module’s range of teaching methods facilitates a diverse and stimulating variety of learning opportunities, which will allow you to develop your foundational study skills in university level research and the analysis of film and television texts.  In addition to weekly lectures, which may at times also take the form of roundtable discussions between staff and/or industry experts, these include engaging with resources via workshops that will develop your individual skills in academic research and writing, participating in group sessions analysing and discussing film and television texts, and at both individual and group level, building an ongoing set of learning materials (such as sequence analyses and resources such as articles or websites) related to each week’s topic of study in an online portfolio.

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching11Lectures (11 x 1 hour)
Scheduled Learning and Teaching22Seminars (11 x 2 hours)
Scheduled Learning and Teaching11Symposia (11 x 1 hour)
Scheduled Learning and Teaching 27.5Screenings (11 x 2.5 hours)
Scheduled Learning and Teaching11Workshops (11 x 1 hour)
Guided Independent Study108.5Seminar and workshop preparation
Guided Independent Study109Research and essay writing

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay plan or partial draft1000 words1, 3-9Written and oral

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay602000 words1-9, 11-13Written and oral
Group portfolio302000 words1-9; 11-13Written and oral
Seminar participation10Continuous1-10, 12-13Oral

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
EssayEssay (2000 words)1-9, 11-13Referral/deferral period
Group portfolio2000 word essay1-9, 11-13Referral/deferral period
Module participation1000 word essay1-10, 12-13Referral/deferral period

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) you will be required to submit a further assessment as necessary. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 40%.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Indicative reading

  • Bordwell, David and Kristin Thompson. Film Art: An Introduction. London: McGraw Hill.
  • Turner, Graeme and Jinna Tay, eds. Television Studies after TV: Understanding Television in the post-broadcast era. London: Routledge, 2009.
  • Bignell, Jonathan. An Introduction to Television Studies. London: Routledge, 2013.

Indicative Film Texts:

  • The Big Sleep (Howard Hawks, US, 1946)
  • Blade Runner 2049 (Denis Villeneuve, US, 2018)
  • The Conversation (Francis Ford Coppola, US, 1974)
  • The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover (Peter Greenaway, UK, 1989)
  • F for Fake (Orson Welles, US, 1973)
  • Last Year at Marienbad (Alain Resnais, France, 1961)
  • Letter from an Unknown Woman ((Max Ophuls, US, 1948)
  • Man with a Movie Camera (Dziga Vertov, USSR, 1929)
  • Peeping Tom (Michael Powell, UK, 1960)
  • A Quiet Place (John Krasinski, US, 2018)
  • Umberto D (Vittorio de Sica, Italy, 1952)

Indicative TV Texts:

  • Blue Planet 2 (BBC, UK, 2017)
  • Cathy Come Home (Ken Loach, BBC, UK, 1966)
  • EastEnders (BBC, UK, 1985-)
  • The Haunting of Hill House (Netflix, US, 2018-)
  • The Killing (DR, Denmark, 2007-)
  • Mad Men (Weiner Bros and Lionsgate Television, US, 2007-2015)
  • Penda’s Fen (Alan Clarke, BBC, UK, 1974)
  • Pennies from Heaven (BBC, UK, 1978)
  • Porridge (BBC, UK, 1974-1977)
  • Schalken the Painter (Leslie Megahey, BBC, UK, 1979)
  • The Sopranos (HBO, US, 1999-2007)

Module has an active ELE page?


Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date


Key words search

Film, television, media, analysis, film form, style, mise-en-scène, cinematography, narrative, editing, sound, narration

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