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Unit information: Contemporary European Cinema in 2020/21

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Unit name Contemporary European Cinema
Unit code MODL10009
Credit points 20
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
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 European cinema. It explores some of the "blockbusters" of recent years against the backdrop of national film industries and develops the distinct and common features of a variety of films made in Europe between 1990 and the present. The following general issues are addressed: what makes a film a blockbuster; what are the dominant themes; what are the implications of filmmaking in Europe; and how does the film language differ from American blockbusters. Films to be studied may include: Boyle: Trainspotting (1996), Tykwer: Run Lola Run (1998), Noe: Irreversible (2002), Hirschbiegel: Downfall (2004), Leigh: Vera Drake (2005), Almodovar: Julieta (2016), Loach: I, Daniel Blake (2016).


Through the study of a minimum of eight cinematic texts, this unit aims to introduce students to European cinema in its national context and to teach them how to approach film in an informed critical manner. Lectures on individual films will be complemented by generic lectures on theoretical and cultural aspects of film production and criticism. Students will gain an understanding of European cinema in its historical dimension, learn to appreciate aspects of how films are made, and develop their ability to analyse and interpret visual texts.

Intended Learning Outcomes

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

  1. approach film in an informed critical manner, paying attention to national contexts;
  2. demonstrate an understanding of Classic European cinema in its historical dimension;
  3. articulate an understanding of how films are made;
  4. analyse and interpret visual text;
  5. demonstrate sophisticated oral and written presentation skills, as appropriate at level C;
  6. carry out independent research appropriate to this level of study.

Teaching Information

Teaching will be delivered through a combination of synchronous sessions and asynchronous activities, including seminars, lectures, and collaborative as well as self-directed learning opportunities supported by tutor consultation.

Assessment Information

1 x group presentation (25%) testing ILO's 1-6

1 x 2000-word essay (75%) testing ILO's 1-4 and 6

Reading and References


UK: Trainspotting Danny Boyle 1996

Italy: Mediterraneo (Gabriele Salvatores 1991)

Russia: Brother 1 and Brother 2 (Balabanov 1997/ 2000)

Germany: Run, Lola Run (Twyker 1998)

Spain: All about my mother (Alodovar)

France: Amélie (Jeunet 2001)

Denmark: Europa (Lars Von Triers 1991)