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Unit information: Political Film in 2021/22

Unit name Political Film
Unit code FATV30018
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Massoumi
Open unit status Not open

FATV10001 Filmmaking Fundamentals



School/department Department of Film and Television
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

This unit will explore the formal, aesthetic, thematic, historical and institutional concerns of cinema from a distinctly political standpoint. It begins with the principle that all films can be defined, in one way or another, as political. Through a political examination of a selection of films the unit will explore issues such as the emancipatory potential and ideological function/s of cinema; its historical links to political power and social change; the role and affects of film as propaganda; theoretical debates concerning the relationship between politics and aesthetics; the differing intellectual and artistic responses to dominant film forms and institutional practices. The unit will engage a variety of political theories (e.g. Marxism, post/modernism, post-colonialism and feminism) and their implications for film practice, touching on the politics of Hollywood cinema, European art house, avant-garde film, Third Cinema and activist/community video. Students will develop and produce their own film engaging with the issues raised in the unit.

The Unit aims:

1. To examine the political, historical, social and ideological role of cinema;

2. To explore the relationship between politics and aesthetics in film;

3. To consider the theoretical perspectives and approaches to the politics of film;

4. To develop skills in critical analysis of films in their social and political contexts;

5. To enhance critically-engaged, practical skills in filmmaking.

Intended Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:

1. Demonstrate an understanding of political possibilities and limitations of film form;

2. Situate and analyse films politically in terms of their context, function, aesthetics and/or approach;

3. Identify and use politically informed methods of film practice;

4. Employ advanced practice-based skills in the making of a short film;

5. Communicate an understanding of aesthetic/formal decisions and their underlying political implications.

Teaching Information

Weekly seminar/workshop, lecture, and screening.

Assessment Information

100% Practical Portfolio, equivalent to 5000 words


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. FATV30018).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.