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Unit information: The Film Director's Vision in 2015/16

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Unit name The Film Director's Vision
Unit code DRAM23133
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Alex Clayton
Open unit status Not open




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


What does it mean to have a directorial voice or vision, and how does it express itself in the works directed by a particular film-maker? This unit will look closely at the work of some key directors in cinema history, to re-examine questions around authorship and the auteur by considering the choices made in the realisation of particular sequences. In this way the question of style will be considered as a product of relationships between theme, mise-en-scene, working with actors and performance, characteristics of rhythm, camera, editing and narrative technique, and the structure of images. The combination of these elements will be considered as an expression of points of view that are both literal and social/psychological.


• To develop students’ skills in the close analysis of film construction, with a particular emphasis on directorial styles and approaches
• To introduce historical understandings of directorial style, temperament and vision
• To explore and contextualise the relationships between society, politics and film directing.
• To equip students to engage with critical and theoretical debates about film directing and authorship.

Intended learning outcomes

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

1. critically analyse films and film sequences in relation to the styles and approaches of their directors
2. make relevant distinctions between different directorial styles and approaches
3. consider the relationship between directing and other elements in screen realisation in appropriate historical contexts
4. examine the relationships between society, politics and film directing
5. respond to, and participate in, historical and theoretical debates about film authorship
6. produce work within a group, showing abilities to listen, contribute and lead effectively.

Teaching details

Weekly 2-hour seminar, weekly 3-hour screening with 15-minute introduction

Assessment Details

20-minute group presentation (40%) ILO 1-6

3000 word essay (60%) ILO 1-5

Presentations will take place in seminar sessions. Group presentations will be awarded a single grade.

Reading and References

  • Bergman, Ingmar (1989) The Magic Lantern, London: Penguin
  • Leyda, Jay (1984) Film Makers Speak: Voices of Film Experience New York, DaCapo
  • Mackendrick, Alexander (2004) 1912-1993: On film-making :an introduction to the craft of the director. London: Faber.
  • Mamet, David (1992) On directing film, New York, London: Penguin
  • McBride, Joseph (ed.) (1983) Filmmakers on filmmaking :the American Film Institute seminars on motion pictures and television, Los Angeles: J.P. Tarcher, Distributed by Houghton Mifflin Co
  • Powell, Michael (1993) Million Dollar Movie, Mandarin