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Module UXS-1062:
Film Language

Module Facts

Run by School of Languages, Literatures, Linguistics and Media

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 2

Organiser: Dr Steffan Thomas

Overall aims and purpose

  1. To provide knowledge of key terms and issues surrounding the analysis of film/television form.
  2. To introduce students to a range of formal choices that can be made by filmmakers.
  3. To interrogate the way in which filmmakers construct meaning using a range of devices in film.

Course content

This module provides students with a toolkit for the analysis of the moving image and aims to provide students with a technical vocabulary to enable them to analyse and to discuss how films communicate meaning. The individual elements of this toolkit are analysed in detail. Lectures cover topics such as: Mise-en-Scene, Editing, Camerawork, Sound, Lighting, and Style. Weekly screenings illustrate relevant aspects of film form.

Films to be screened may include: A Man Escaped (Bresson, 1956), Heathers (Lehmann, 1988), Run Lola Run (Tykwer, 1998), Bourne Ultimatum (Greengrass, 2007), Vertigo (Hitchcock, 1958), Cabin in the Woods (Whedon, 2012) and Moulin Rouge! (Luhrman, 2001)

Assessment Criteria



  • Knowledge of key areas/principles only
  • Weaknesses in understanding of main areas
  • Limited evidence of background study
  • Answer only poorly focussed on question and with some irrelevant material and poor structure
  • Arguments presented but lack coherence
  • Several factual/computational errors
  • No original interpretation
  • Only major links between topics are described
  • Limited problem solving
  • Many weaknesses in presentation and accuracy



  • Strong knowledge
  • Understands most but not all
  • Evidence of background study
  • Focussed answer with good structure
  • Arguments presented coherently
  • Mostly free of factual and computational errors
  • Some limited original interpretation
  • Well known links between topics are described
  • Problems addressed by existing methods/approaches
  • Good presentation with accurate communication



  • Comprehensive knowledge
  • Detailed understanding
  • Extensive background study
  • Highly focussed answer and well structured
  • Logically presented and defended arguments
  • No factual/computational errors
  • Original interpretation
  • New links between topics are developed
  • New approach to a problem
  • Excellent presentation with very accurate communication

Learning outcomes

  1. Be able to read and analyse a moving image text in a structured and informed way

  2. Have access to a technical and critical vocabulary relevant to the discussion of audio-visual imagery

  3. Understand the workings of shot structure and scene composition

  4. Be able to analyse short film clips, paying attention to their formal techniques

  5. Be able to assimilate visual information and use that information to construct a written argument

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
Film analysis 60
Sight-unseen audiovisual analysis 40

Teaching and Learning Strategy


3 hour screening per week

Private study 145

1 hour workshop per week


1 hour lecture per week


Courses including this module

Compulsory in courses:

Optional in courses: