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Session: 2022/23

Last modified: 29/03/2022 11:09:32

Title of Module: Cinema Aesthetics

Code: FILM07002 SCQF Level: 7
(Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework)
Credit Points: 20 ECTS: 10
(European Credit Transfer Scheme)
School:School of Business & Creative Industries
Module Co-ordinator:Dr. Andrew  Jarvis

Summary of Module

This module provides an introduction to film analysis. The key question that runs through the module is ‘how do films work?’ The module addresses this question by examining how films attract, retain and satisfy the attention of film viewers. Students will examine key aspects of film form with a particular focus on cinematic narrative and narration, and creative strategies concerning cinematic storytelling. This examination will pay close attention to the ways in which films make meaning and pleasure through conventionalised strategies of spectator engagement. Areas to be discussed include: narrative structure, narration, editing, mise en scene, staging for the lens, cinematography, sound and sound design. Students will engage with critical perspectives on these areas, and pursue reflective enquiry into their own assumptions concerning the ways in which films work. In addition to developing and enriching their academic understanding, students will be encouraged to relate their critical studies to their creative practice as filmmakers in modules such as An Introduction to Film and Television Production.

The question ‘how do films work?’ will be answered by examining the following areas:


  • Narrative structure, with particular emphasis on the means by which filmmakers tell stories via the creation of goal-oriented characters within organised patterns of conflict and resolution.

  • Cinematic narration, with particular emphasis on how cinematic stories are told via techniques of focalisation, constructions of point of view, and the organisation of cinematic space and time.

  • Cinematic technique, with particular emphasis on techniques of cinematography, mise en scene, editing and sound design as means of achieving distinctive forms of cinematic storytelling.

  • Film form, with particular emphasis on the ways in which narrative structure and techniques of narration work together to cue and channel viewer comprehension.

Module Delivery Method
Face-To-FaceBlendedFully OnlineHybridCHybridOWork-based Learning
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Term used to describe the traditional classroom environment where the students and the lecturer meet synchronously in the same room for the whole provision.

A mode of delivery of a module or a programme that involves online and face-to-face delivery of learning, teaching and assessment activities, student support and feedback. A programme may be considered “blended” if it includes a combination of face-to-face, online and blended modules. If an online programme has any compulsory face-to-face and campus elements it must be described as blended with clearly articulated delivery information to manage student expectations

Fully Online
Instruction that is solely delivered by web-based or internet-based technologies. This term is used to describe the previously used terms distance learning and e learning.

Online with mandatory face-to-face learning on Campus

Online with optional face-to-face learning on Campus

Work-based Learning
Learning activities where the main location for the learning experience is in the workplace.

Campus(es) for Module Delivery
The module will normally be offered on the following campuses / or by Distance/Online Learning: (Provided viable student numbers permit)
Paisley:Ayr:Dumfries:Lanarkshire:London:Distance/Online Learning:Other:


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Term(s) for Module Delivery
(Provided viable student numbers permit).
Term 1check markTerm 2


Term 3


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Learning Outcomes: (maximum of 5 statements)

On successful completion of this module the student will be able to:

L1. Explain how films work by analysing key features of narrative structure and cinematic storytelling.

L2. Identify and analyse specific creative cinematic techniques concerning camera, sound, and editing in relation to their contribution to the construction of film form.

L3. Apply appropriate technical terms and critical conceptualisations when analysing film form.

Employability Skills and Personal Development Planning (PDP) Skills
SCQF Headings During completion of this module, there will be an opportunity to achieve core skills in:
Knowledge and Understanding (K and U) SCQF Level 7.

Understanding the ways in which key techniques of filmmaking construct meanings and affects.

Demonstrating an awareness of the significance of different approaches to writing across a range of creative, and professional contexts.

Practice: Applied Knowledge and Understanding SCQF Level 7.

Applying fundamental analytical techniques and concepts that have been established as legitimate and effective within the field of film studies.

Generic Cognitive skills SCQF Level 7.

Present and evaluate arguments, information and ideas relating to critical analysis and creative practice

Communication, ICT and Numeracy Skills SCQF Level 7.

Using correct formatting techniques for presenting scripts, and for presenting academic essays.

Gathering, organising and deploying ideas and information in order to formulate arguments cogently, and express them effectively in written, oral or in other forms.

Autonomy, Accountability and Working with others SCQF Level 7.

Working productively in a group or team, showing abilities at different times to listen, contribute and lead effectively.

Pre-requisites: Before undertaking this module the student should have undertaken the following:
Module Code:
Module Title:
Co-requisitesModule Code:
Module Title:

* Indicates that module descriptor is not published.

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Learning and Teaching
Lecturers will introduce and examine appropriate topics and critical perspectives using a wide range of audio-visual material. Lectures will be followed by class discussions in which specific aspects of film form and style will be examined in detail. Class-based study will also be supported by on-line materials on the module Aula site.

Learning Activities
During completion of this module, the learning activities undertaken to achieve the module learning outcomes are stated below:
Student Learning Hours
(Normally totalling 200 hours):
(Note: Learning hours include both contact hours and hours spent on other learning activities)
Lecture/Core Content Delivery30
Tutorial/Synchronous Support Activity6
Independent Study152
Personal Development Plan12
200 Hours Total

**Indicative Resources: (eg. Core text, journals, internet access)

The following materials form essential underpinning for the module content and ultimately for the learning outcomes:

Bordwell, D. Thompson, K. (2010) Film Art: An Introduction. New York; McGraw Hill.

Buckland, W. (2008) Teach Yourself Film Studies. London; Teach Yourself.

Cook, P. Bernink, M. (Eds.)(2007) The Cinema Book. London; BFI.

Corrigan, T. (2015) A Short Guide to Writing About Film. Boston; Pearson education Inc.

Gibbs, J. (2002) Mise en Scene. Film Style and Interpretation. London; Wallflower.

(**N.B. Although reading lists should include current publications, students are advised (particularly for material marked with an asterisk*) to wait until the start of session for confirmation of the most up-to-date material)

Engagement Requirements

In line with the Academic Engagement Procedure, Students are defined as academically engaged if they are regularly engaged with timetabled teaching sessions, course-related learning resources including those in the Library and on the relevant learning platform, and complete assessments and submit these on time. Please refer to the Academic Engagement Procedure at the following link: Academic engagement procedure

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Supplemental Information

Programme BoardArts & Media
Assessment Results (Pass/Fail) No
Subject PanelArts & Media
ModeratorMs. Rachael Stark
External ExaminerDr. Alex Nevill
Accreditation DetailsScreenSkills (UK Delivery Only)
Version Number


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Assessment: (also refer to Assessment Outcomes Grids below)
Assignment 1 – Essay (1500 words, 50% of total mark)
Assignment 2 – Essay (1500 words, 50% of total mark)
(N.B. (i) Assessment Outcomes Grids for the module (one for each component) can be found below which clearly demonstrate how the learning outcomes of the module will be assessed.
(ii) An indicative schedule listing approximate times within the academic calendar when assessment is likely to feature will be provided within the Student Handbook.)

Assessment Outcome Grids (Footnote A.)

Component 1
Assessment Type (Footnote B.) Learning Outcome (1) Learning Outcome (2) Learning Outcome (3) Weighting (%) of Assessment ElementTimetabled Contact Hours
Essaycheck mark  5018

Component 2
Assessment Type (Footnote B.) Learning Outcome (1) Learning Outcome (2) Learning Outcome (3) Weighting (%) of Assessment ElementTimetabled Contact Hours
Essay check markcheck mark5018
Combined Total For All Components100% 36 hours

A. Referred to within Assessment Section above
B. Identified in the Learning Outcome Section above

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  1. More than one assessment method can be used to assess individual learning outcomes.
  2. Schools are responsible for determining student contact hours. Please refer to University Policy on contact hours (extract contained within section 10 of the Module Descriptor guidance note).
    This will normally be variable across Schools, dependent on Programmes &/or Professional requirements.

Equality and Diversity
Aligned with the overall commitment to equality and diversity stated in the Programme Specifications, the module supports equality of opportunity for students from all backgrounds and with different learning needs. Using Moodle, learning materials will be presented electronically in formats that allow flexible access and manipulation of content. The module complies with University regulations and guidance on inclusive learning and teaching practice. Specialist assistive equipment, support provision and adjustment to assessment practice will be made in accordance with UWS policy and regulations. The University’s Equality, Diversity and Human Rights Policy can be accessed at the following link:

Our partners are fully committed to the principles and practice of inclusiveness and our modules are designed to be accessible to all. Where this module is delivered overseas, local equivalent support for students and appropriate legislation applies.

UWS Equality and Diversity Policy
(N.B. Every effort will be made by the University to accommodate any equality and diversity issues brought to the attention of the School)

2014 University of the West of Scotland

University of the West of Scotland is a Registered Scottish Charity.

Charity number SC002520.