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Unit information: Contemporary British Cinema in 2017/18

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Unit name Contemporary British Cinema
Unit code MODL30007
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Ms. Taylor
Open unit status Open




School/department School of Modern Languages
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

This unit introduces students to contemporary British cinema through the study of a range of films by British directors produced over the last twenty years. The course opens by introducing students to the technical aspects of cinematic production and the basic principles of film theory and criticism. The films are studied in the chronological order of their production. In the study of individual films students examine the stylistic features of particular directors' work, the national and cultural climate in which each film appeared, the degree to which economic factors influenced the representation of national identity. Students also study other aspects of film production including casting, language, genre, narrative and ideas of realism and comedy. The films on the course are chosen to offer students a wide variety of the different genres (including heritage, realism and comedy) in contemporary British cinema.


  • To introduce students to a significant body of knowledge of a complexity appropriate to final year level. The content matter will normally include one or more of the following: literature; social, cultural or political history; linguistics; cultural studies; film, television or other media.
  • To facilitate students’ engagement with a body of literature, including secondary literature, texts, including in non-print media, primary sources and ideas as a basis for their own analysis and development. Normally many or most of these sources will be in a language other than English and will enhance the development of their linguistic skills.
  • To develop further skills of synthesis, analysis and independent research, building on the skills acquired in units at level I.
  • To equip students with the skills to undertake postgraduate study in a relevant field.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Successful students will:

  • be knowledgable about a significant cultural, historical or linguistic subject related to the language they are studying;
  • will have advanced skills in the selection and synthesis of relevant material;
  • be able to evaluate and analyse relevant material from a significant body of source materials, usually in a foreign language, at an advanced level;
  • be able to respond to questions or problems by presenting their independent judgements in an appropriate style and at an advanced level of complexity;
  • be able to transfer these skills to other working environments, including postgraduate study.

Teaching Information

Two seminar hours per week across one teaching block (22 contact hours).

Assessment Information

2000 word essay (75%) and presentation (25%)

Reading and References

  • Ashby and Higson, (Eds) British cinema, past and present. London Routledge 2000
  • Bennett, Bond and beyond: his world and values Lutterworth Press 1967
  • Bersana & Dutoit, Caravaggio London BFI 1999
  • Chapman, J. Past and Present, national identity and the British historical film Tauris 2005
  • Cook, A history of Narrative Film London, Norton 3rd
  • Cook, P(Ed) The cinema book London BFI 1995
  • Finney, The state of European cinema London, Cassell 1996
  • Friedman, (Ed) British cinema and Thatcherism: Fires were started London UCL P 1996
  • Geraghty, S. My Beautiful Laundrette London & New York, I.B Tauris & Co 2005
  • Giles, The crying game BFI 1997
  • Hallam, Julia Marshment, Margaret Realism and Popular Culture MUP 2000
  • Hill, British cinema in the 80’s: Issues and themes Oxford, Clarendon Press 1999
  • Jones, Edward All or nothing: The Cinema of Mike Leigh NY, Peter Lang Pub. 2004
  • Jorgens, Shakespeare on film Bloomington IUP 1997
  • Kirkham, (Ed) Me Jane: Masculinity, Movies and Women London Lawrence & Wishart 1995
  • Kureishi, H. My beautiful laundrette, London Faber and Faber Ltd 1986
  • Lancaster, The James Bond Phenemoneon: A critical Reader (review) Film & History: An interdisciplinary Journal of Film and TV Studies 34.1 – 2004
  • Lay,S. British Social Realism: From documentary to Brit Grit London, Wallflower Press 2012
  • Leach, British Film New York CUP 2004
  • Lindner, C. The James Bond phenomenon: A critical Reader. Manchester U.P 2003
  • Macfarlane The cinema of Britain and Ireland London, Wallflower Press 2005
  • Monaco How to read a film New York OUP 1981
  • Lindner, The James Bond phenomenon: A critical Reader MUP 2003
  • Murphy, R (Ed) British cinema in the 90’s. London BFI 2000
  • Nowell-Smith & Ricci (Eds) Hollywood & Europe London, BFI 1998
  • Petrie, Creativity and constraint: Contemporary British cinema London, Macmillan 1990
  • Petrie, (Ed) New questions of British cinema London BFI 1992
  • Sargeant, British Cinema: a critical history BFI 2005
  • Smith, M Trainspotting London BFI 2002
  • Sorlin, European cinema, European societies London Routledge 1991
  • Spicer, Typical Men: the Representation of Masculinity in Popular British Cinema
  • London: Tauris 2001
  • Street, British national cinema London, Routledge 1997
  • Street & Forbes (Eds) European cinema Palgrave 2000
  • Walker, A. National Heroes: British Cinema in the 70’s and 80’s. London, Orion Books 2005
  • Watson, The cinema of Mike Leigh : a sense of real Wallflower Press London 2004
  • Wheale, The postmodern Arts : An introductory Reader, Routledge London 1996 Ed. 1996