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Film Studies

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Film Studies

BA
  • UCAS code W620
  • Option 3 years full time
  • Year of entry 2021

The course

Film and television don't just shape culture: they create it. Our unique 360˚ approach to cinema allows you to understand film from every angle: from stars to directors, historical origins to contemporary economics, socio-political contexts, to aesthetic achievements and from the dynamics of screenplays to the global cultures that shape production, reception and film form itself. You'll come away from the course speaking confidently about concepts and ideas, with the ability to deftly critique them, too – ideal skills for the communication industries, creative arts and beyond.

Taking this approach, you will study film and television from Hollywood and Europe, Bollywood, Asia and Latin America alongside a range of more experimental non-narrative film, television and digital media forms.  Taught in partnership with the film experts in Royal Holloway’s School of Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures, there is particular emphasis on a diverse range of European cinema.

You'll get a comprehensive grounding in the history and theory of moving image media, including the opportunity to undertake courses in screenwriting.  After a grounding in the key theoretical and historical aspects of film in your first year, you can go on to explore those topics that intrigue you and capture your attention in film and television’s rich artistic, social and political traditions.

You will work with world-leading experts in European and World cinema, and award-winning practitioners from across the media industry and thrive on our creative campus – we have regular industry visitors and close contact with other arts departments and student societies.

Our flexible degree programmes enable you to apply to take a Placement Year, which can be spent studying abroad, working or carrying out voluntary work. You can even do all three if you want to (minimum of three months each)! To recognise the importance of this additional skills development and university experience, your Placement Year will be formally recognised on your degree certificate and will contribute to your overall result. Please note conditions may apply if your degree already includes an integrated year out, please contact the Careers & Employability Service for more information. Find out more

  • Learn the history and theory of moving image media.
  • Watch and analyse films from around the world.
  • Study European cinema in the School of Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures
  • Work with world-leading and award-winning practitioners from across the media industry.
  • Explore film’s artistic, social and political traditions.

Core Modules

Year 1
  • In this module you will develop an understanding of film, television and digital media history. You will look at how and where digital media intersect and converge with these moving image forms, examining media from the late 19th century through to the present. You will consider how even 'old' technologies were 'new' at some point, and analyse the relationship between technological, social and aesthetic developments in new media forms.

  • In this module you will develop an understanding of the key debates in critical theory. You will look at a range of different methods in studying film, television and digital media, including artistic achievement and critical interpretation, close textual analysis, ideological analysis, national cinema, and psychoanalysis. You will examine the relationship between the intentions of individual film and programme-makers and wider processes. You will consider films and television programmes in close detail, analysing the relationship between how something is achieved and what it means.

  • In this module you will develop an understanding of patterns of narrative in film, television and documentary. You will look at narrative structure, patterns and distinctions in storytelling methods and styles, the relationship between narrative and identity, and points of view. You will also examine the social and cultural context of narrative and consider adaptation, postmodern and open-ended narrative, issue-driven narrative and television drama narrative structures.

  • In this module you will develop an understanding of a variety of narrative strategies and structures in audio-visual media, in particular, film and television. You will look at narrative form, structure and cultural context, and examine the principles of narrative screenwriting. You will analyse a range of primary and secondary audio-visual and written sources, and create your own short original screenplay, applying relevant formal and presentation conventions.

  • In this module you will develop an understanding of the key tenets of film theory and learn to apply these to a selection of important pre- and post-war European and international films. You will look at aspects of film style, genre and national and international contexts.You will consider canonical works from a century of cinema history by filmmakers such as Joseph von Sternberg, Alfred Hitchcock and Pedro Almodovar, and examine significant examples of technique and style.

  • The purpose of this module is to provide students with an introduction to the early phase of film history. Broadly speaking, the module will be concerned with the period between 1895 and the early 1930s, from the invention of motion pictures to the establishment of sound cinema. During this phase, film-making was largely national but the absence of the spoken word gave film a truly cosmopolitan dimension, with directors, actors and technical personnel moving freely across national boundaries. Nonetheless distinctive national film cultures emerged, with Italy specialising in dramas set in the ancient world, France making ample use of theatre and popular literature, Germany developing the new medium within broader artistic phenomena such as Expressionism, the Soviets pioneering political montage, and, of module, Hollywood, and its studio system, popularising stars and genres across the world.

Year 2
  • All modules are optional
Year 3
  • Media Arts Dissertation

Optional Modules

There are a number of optional course modules available during your degree studies. The following is a selection of optional course modules that are likely to be available. Please note that although the College will keep changes to a minimum, new modules may be offered or existing modules may be withdrawn, for example, in response to a change in staff. Applicants will be informed if any significant changes need to be made.

Year 1
  • All modules are core
Year 2
  • Film Theory: Hitchcock and Point of View
  • Post-Classical Hollywood
  • Television Histories
  • Modern European Cinema
  • Contemporary Chinese Cinemas
  • Exotic Cinema: Encounters with Cultural Difference
  • Modernism and Avant Garde Film
  • Beyond Bollywood: Indian Cinema in a Transitional Frame
  • In this module you will develop an understanding of the core concepts of the digital age, looking at how today's computer networks, devices and infrastructure underpin nearly all forms of aesthetic, cultural social and political life. You will consider the concepts of technicity, affective turn, digital subjectivity and extended mind, creative expression and participation in the digital era, amateur production, free software, fun and politics, self-organisation, media archaeology and sonic architectures. You will examine the systematic challenges brought about by digital change and critically interpret and analyse digital phenomena.

  • In this module you will develop an understanding of how creativity is constrained and enabled by the industrial logics of the creative industries. You will focus on film, television and digital media, exploring issues such as economics and financing, pitching and commissioning, policy and regulation, copyright, formats and global trade, ratings and audience measurement, branding and marketing, digital production logics, and production cultures. You will also consider a number of important industry-oriented research skills, such as interviewing, market/demographic analysis, locating and interpreting legal documents, and archival research.

  • The module is divided into two parts, the first exploring crucial issues of filmmaking, film studies and the ‘transnational’ from the perspective of largely contemporary Latin American cinema, the second focusing on a range of European films from the 1970s to the present. The introductory two weeks of the module will introduce students to these concerns; the final two weeks of the module will bring both parts together and establish some conclusions (for example, what, if anything, constitutes a ‘European’ or ‘Latin American’ or ‘transnational’ film).

  • This year-long module examines key examples of French cinema from its beginnings to the present day, focusing on the avant-garde and surrealist films of the 1920s, social realist films of the 1930s, the New Wave which began in the late 1950s, and its ‘postmodern’ legacy in the 1980s followed by a return to realism in the new millennium. The module entails close, critical analysis of film style, though no prior knowledge of film theory is required.

  • Childhood and youth - the formative periods in our lives - are obviously crucial for individuals, society and culture. They are also contested and controversial concepts. Children and adolescents have long been the subject of social, familial and educational pressures against which they have often rebelled in an attempt to assert their individuality and develop their own identities. This module introduces you to a range of literary and cinematic responses to the lives of children and young people in the context of the German speaking countries from the late nineteenth century to the present day. Drawing on a range of classic and recent texts and films, it explores the historical contexts of the theme and considers the social, political and ethical issues involved in the representation of young people and of institutions such as the school and the military.

  • During the module attention will be devoted to analysing samples from early Twentieth century Mexican visual arts. Students will study the Mexican Mural Movement and will analyse the work of its most prominent members. Attention will be paid to the works of Diego Rivera, David Alfaro Siqueiros and José Clemente Orozco. The first part of this module will also cover the photographic works of Edward Weston, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Tina Modotti, Mariana Yampolski, Araceli Herrera and Graciela Iturbide. During the second part of this module students will be introduced to some of the most significant cinematic works from Mexico’s century of filmmaking. Students will analyse some of the most important filmic genres from a wide range of directors and periods in Mexican cinematic history. On this module students will be introduced to some areas of film theory and will learn how to apply theoretical concepts to a reading of Mexican visual arts and films.

  • In this module students will study films from the last twenty years in Spain. The films selected will in different ways express representations of identity in Spain. We will explore issues such as national and regional identities, linguistic diversity and national identity, Spanishness, cultural memory, history on screen, urban versus rural experience, cultural diversity, immigration and the portrayal of gender within new family paradigms.

  • On this module students will examine the ways in which critical historical moments in Latin America have been represented visually in a global context. We will explore how political unrest in Latin America has been memorialised by both filmmakers and photographers, with the aim of re-thinking how global imaginaries concerning the rebel and revolution have been constructed in film and photography.

  • Postwar Italian Cinema: the Auteur Tradition
Year 3
  • Contemporary British Cinema 1
  • Digital Cultures
  • Film Aesthetics 1: Issues of Interpretation and Evaluation
  • Psychoanalysis and Cinema
  • In this module you will develop an understanding of how the destruction of European Jewry by the Nazis between 1933 and 1945 has been represented and responded to across a range of both fictional and non-fictional media. You will look at the specific theoretical debates surrounding how the Holocaust can or should (or should not) be represented in art and popular culture. You will consider the role of mass media in constructing both popular and elite relationships to historical experience, and in documenting history.

  • Media Technologies
  • See This Sound - Audiovisuology
  • Cinephilia
  • 360º Cinema
  • Political Cinema: From Eisenstein to Youtube
  • The Poetics of Contemporary Television
  • Contemporary British Cinema 2
  • Film Aesthetics 2

You will be taught through a combination of lectures, seminars, small-group tutorials, screenings, guided independent research and study. Private study and preparation are essential parts of every course, and you will have access to many online resources and the University’s comprehensive e-learning facility, Moodle. When you start with us, you are assigned a Personal Tutor to support you academically and personally.

Assessment is carried out by written assignments, such as essays, film reviews, blogs and dissertations, as well as examinations at the end of your first year. Students also have the opportunity to write their own screenplay and, in their final year, have the chance to see this put into production by students on the BA Film, Television & Digital Production course.

5th highest average graduate earnings

Source: 5 years after graduation, Longitudinal Education Outcomes, 2018

10th in the UK for Film Production

Source: Guardian University Guide, 2020

7th in the UK for research quality

Source: Complete University Guide, 2020

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