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Unit information: Screen Performance in 2018/19

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Screen Performance
Unit code FATV20003
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Alex Clayton
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of Film and Television
Faculty Faculty of Arts


This unit will explore varieties of screen performance in conjunction with the theory and criticism of film acting. Students will gain knowledge of the history of different modes and conventions of acting for the screen, and develop the capacity to appreciate diverse styles of performance. Close attention will be paid to the way gesture, posture, physiognomy and vocal delivery work expressively in relation to other elements of film/TV style, including editing, camera placement, costume, lighting and set design. Students will also engage with discourses around screen acting, and with theoretical issues including the relationship between character, actor, persona and star.

(1) To introduce students to the theory and criticism of film acting
(2) To build an appreciation and understanding of the factors involved in performance craft
(3) To develop skills of observation and articulation with regard to describing and evaluating aspects of performance

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:

(1) demonstrate detailed knowledge of how different styles of acting relate to historical modes and conventions;

(2) carry out high-level film analysis, sensitive to the synthesis of elements;

(3) apply critical understanding of theoretical issues and discursive contexts pertaining to performance;

(4) construct a critical argument and justify an interpretation with close reference to details of screen performance.

Teaching details

2-hour seminar, 3-hour weekly screening (with 15 minute introduction)

Assessment Details

2000 word essay (40%) ILO 1-4

3000 word essay (60%) ILO 1-4

Reading and References

Affron, C. (1977) Star Acting: Gish, Garbo, Davis (New York: Dutton)

Baron, C.A. (2008) Reframing Screen Performance (University of Michigan Press)

Baron, C.A., Carson, D. & Tomasulo, F.P. (2004) More Than a Method: Trends and Traditions in Contemporary Film Performance (Wayne State University Press)

Dyer, R. (2008) Stars (London: BFI)

Klevan, A. (2005) Film Performance: From Achievement to Appreciation (London: Wallflower)

Naremore, J. (1988) Acting in the Cinema (University of California Press)

Taylor, A. (ed.) (2012) Theorizing Film Acting (Routledge)