Oh how Shakespeare would have loved cinema!
I thoroughly enjoyed taking Film Studies and have really developed my understanding of how films make meaning. The only downside has been that every time I watch a film now, I’m constantly analysing it!
– Derek Jarman
Despite how many movies our students may have seen over the course of their lives – or even over the last week – there is far more to an academic study of film. From its early days to the modern blockbuster, the language of film is nuanced and detailed, drawing in expertise from hundreds of different contributors, each adding a brushstroke to a collaborative canvas that every audience member experiences differently.
In this subject, students will learn how to “read” a film in ways that reveal far more than the story, revealing hidden messages, meanings, and perspectives that the casual viewer rarely sees. It engages with the wider ideas of Politics, History, Sociology, Art, and Photography in order to allow students to understand a film as both art and business. We encourage them to delve into not only the texts themselves, but what they reveal about the society that created them, and how they reflect or challenge that society’s attitudes and values.
Film Studies has more in common with English Literature than any other subject, taking its cues from the critical perspectives and political philsophies of the published authors who have analysed the canon of world literature.
The OCR Film Studies course takes students through the history of cinema, from 1920’s experimental cinema and its influences by German Expressionism, through the French New Wave, Film Noir, the Black Cinema of the 1980s, and to the world of the contemporary studio system. With a syllabus packed with documentaries, thrillers, comedies, dramas, science fiction and the modern blockbuster, our students engage with a range of different styles, ideas, genres, and narratives.
The coursework element, worth 30% of the final grade, challenges students to prove what they’ve learned by creating a text that applies their theoretical knowledge to the production of their own film, or film script and storyboard, the best of which are often indistinguishable from professional productions.
During the course, we will give you opportunities to:
2 hour exam (35% of total A level)
Students will respond to a number of pre-selected texts, commenting on how meaning is created in film, and understanding its established language alongside experimental cinema throughout history.
Section A: US Cinema
Section B: European Cinema
2 hour exam (35% of total A level)
Students will develop their understanding of the larger ideas in film, such as narrative, genre and representation within contemporary British, US, and World cinema.
Section A: Contemporary British and US Film
Section B: Documentary
Section C: Ideology
Coursework Component (30% of total A level)
Students will use the knowledge that they have learned from the other units to apply their theoretical knowledge to the production of a film (or components of film) that they create themselves. They will also evaluate and critically analyse their own work using the same skills that they have been developing.
Task 1: Research
Task 2: The production
Task 3: Individual Evaluation
I’ve enjoyed my Film Studies course a lot, as it has allowed me to see cinema in a new light. It’s expanded my own creativity, too, through the filmmaking process. My favourite units were on German expressionism and how we see different groups represented on screen.
David Dowson graduated from Loughborough University before taking a Master’s degree in Film Studies at Nottingham. A sixth-form education specialist, he has worked in London schools and colleges for 15 years, teaching a diverse range of students of different backgrounds and abilities as a classroom teacher, a head of department, and as a senior “innovation leader” involved in training teachers and creating new ways of providing interesting and thought-provoking lessons for students.
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