UCL Summer School


Action! Introduction to Film Studies

Key Information

Module code
Taught during
Session One
Module leader
Dr Cristina Massaccesi
None. Standard UCL Summer entry criteria apply.
Assessment method
500-word report (15%), 500-word report (15%), Essay (70%)
Download syllabus (PDF)
Action! Introduction to Film Studies

Module overview

This module will introduce students to the discipline of film studies, by focusing on the main theoretical and technical aspects of filmmaking.

Through lectures, seminars, screenings and excursions, students will learn how to approach and discuss films analytically and will acquire an awareness of the history and development of cinema and of the key concepts that can be used to discuss and write about films. During the module, students will familiarise themselves with those elements that are at the basis of film analysis, while developing an appropriate technical vocabulary to be used in class discussions and in their written assessments. They will focus on the features of the main cinematographic genres (horror, documentary, drama, etc.) and on the history, development and impact of important movements such as German Expressionism, Soviet cinema, Italian Neorealism, and American independent cinema.

Learning outcomes

Upon successful completion of this module, students will:

  • Have acquired appropriate technical vocabulary and cinematic terminology (e.g. mise-en-scène, editing, sound, etc.)
  • Have developed their analytical skills when conducting a formal investigation of films
  • Have gained awareness of basic social, cultural and political issues that have triggered or are connected with key developments and tendencies in the history of cinema (e.g. silent cinema, the advent of synchronised sound, avant-garde, auteurism, digital cinema and genre theory)
  • Have developed their ability to discuss films in a written and oral manner through presentations, in-class discussions and sequence analyses

Module prerequisites

This is a level one module (equivalent to first year undergraduate). No prior subject knowledge is required to study this module but students are expected to have a keen interest in the subject area.

Module hours

Classes (usually three or four hours per day) take place on the Bloomsbury campus from Monday to Friday any time between 9am and 6pm.


  • 500-word report (15%)
  • 500-word report (15%)
  • 2,500-word essay (70%)

Module leader

Dr Cristina Massaccesi obtained her PhD in Italian Studies, with a thesis on postmodernity and intertextuality, from UCL, in 2007. She holds an MA in History of Film and Visual Media from Birkbeck College, London. She has published articles on cinema and contemporary Italian fiction and her main fields of interest are film adaptation, horror cinema and sequential art. Her book on FW Murnau’s Nosferatu (1922) for the Devil’s Advocates series, was published by Auteur Books in October 2015.

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