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Session: 2022/23

Last modified: 29/03/2022 11:19:48

Title of Module: British Cinema

Code: FILM08003 SCQF Level: 8
(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 examines the creative, commercial and cultural significance of contemporary British cinema. It examines key forms of British cinema with special emphasis on the historically significant opposition between realism and anti-realism. It identifies the development of the social realist tradition in Britain’s post-war cultural formation and its transformation into varieties of contemporary British realist filmmaking. The module also considers alternatives to this important tradition. Key genres are identified and analysed in terms of their formal properties and their commercial impact. The module will address questions concerning representations of national identity, and examine the variety of ways in which the idea of a distinctly ‘British’ cinema has been constructed in different periods. In addition to an analysis of forms and strategies of representation, institutional aspects of funding, production and distribution will be considered. By the end of the module the student will have an understanding of British film culture and will be able to consider his/her own creative practice and professional aspirations in relation to this culture. Students will be encouraged to link their critical reflection with their filmmaking activities in creative practice modules.

Key topic areas:

  • Industry and Culture: The British film industry and British cinema. Significant institutional factors and strategic approaches concerning the production of films in the UK.

  • Form: Do British films have distinctive formal characteristics? Realism is examined as a dominant aesthetic and ethical mode in British film culture. Anti-realism, spectacle and formal innovation are considered as alternatives to the realist tradition. Hybridity is considered as a dominant creative tendency.

  • Genre: Key genres – crime, horror, heritage – will be examined as a means of focusing on the intertwining relationship between creativity and commerce in British film history and culture.

  • Representation. How is social experience negotiated and re-imagined in British cinema? Class, gender, race and youth will examined in relation to national identity.

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 1


Term 2check markTerm 3


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Learning Outcomes: (maximum of 5 statements)

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

L1. Demonstrate an understanding of institutional aspects of British filmmaking and British film culture, with particular emphasis on the funding, distribution and exhibition of British films.

L2. Identify and examine formal characteristics of British cinema, with particular emphasis on the significance of realism across a variety of genres.

L3. Analyse and evaluate key representational issues arising in the British film, incorporating critical perspectives on discourses of national identity, power and authority.

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 8.

Demonstrating an understanding of particular film forms, genres and styles and the ways in which they organise understandings, meanings and effects.

Practice: Applied Knowledge and Understanding SCQF Level 8.

Using a limited range of appropriate theories and concepts as scholarly underpinning when critically analysing films and filmmaking.

Generic Cognitive skills SCQF Level 8.

Evaluating complex arguments, information and ideas relating to films and filmmaking.

Examining assumptions critically in light of evidence.

Communication, ICT and Numeracy Skills SCQF Level 8.

Assimilating, synthesising, and conveying complex information to a range of audiences and for a range of purposes, both in critical and creative contexts, and through a variety of specific stages.

Autonomy, Accountability and Working with others SCQF Level 8.

Exercise autonomy and initiative when undertaking personal investigation concerning British cinema.

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
Classes will be delivered on a weekly basis, during which lecturers will introduce and examine appropriate topics and critical perspectives. A wide range of audio-visual material will be incorporated into the lectures, and there will be several full screenings of key films. Lectures will be followed by discussions and reflective analysis. Class-based study will also be supported by on-line materials on the module Moodle site.
Outwith class meetings students will engage in autonomous learning that encourages connection with the professional contexts of the creative industries. This will be formalized in the research activity for the first assignment that will require students to explore the archive of British cinema via government legislation, production company records and cultural organisations’ publications and activities (e.g. BFI,BAFTA).
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 Delivery36
Independent Study164
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:

Fitzgerald, John (2017) Studying British Cinema: 1999-2009. Columbia University Press.

Higson, Andrew (1995) Waving the Flag : Constructing a National Cinema in Britain. Oxford, Oxford University Press.

Murphy, Robert (ed.) (2009) The British Cinema Book. London: BFI.

Hill, John (ed.) (2019) A Companion to British and Irish Cinema. Hoboken,NJ. John Wiley and Sons.

Murray, Jonathan (2015) The New Scottish Cinema. London:IB Taurus

(**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 on the British film industry (1500 words). (50%)
Assignment 2: Critical essay on form and representation in British cinema (1500 words) (50%)
(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.