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Unit information: Political Film in 2021/22

Unit name Political Film
Unit code FATV30018
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Massoumi
Open unit status Not open

FATV10001 Filmmaking Fundamentals



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


This unit will explore the formal, aesthetic, thematic, historical and institutional concerns of cinema from a distinctly political standpoint. It begins with the principle that all films can be defined, in one way or another, as political. Through a political examination of a selection of films the unit will explore issues such as the emancipatory potential and ideological function/s of cinema; its historical links to political power and social change; the role and affects of film as propaganda; theoretical debates concerning the relationship between politics and aesthetics; the differing intellectual and artistic responses to dominant film forms and institutional practices. The unit will engage a variety of political theories (e.g. Marxism, post/modernism, post-colonialism and feminism) and their implications for film practice, touching on the politics of Hollywood cinema, European art house, avant-garde film, Third Cinema and activist/community video. Students will develop and produce their own film engaging with the issues raised in the unit.

The Unit aims:

1. To examine the political, historical, social and ideological role of cinema;

2. To explore the relationship between politics and aesthetics in film;

3. To consider the theoretical perspectives and approaches to the politics of film;

4. To develop skills in critical analysis of films in their social and political contexts;

5. To enhance critically-engaged, practical skills in filmmaking.

Intended learning outcomes

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

1. Demonstrate an understanding of political possibilities and limitations of film form;

2. Situate and analyse films politically in terms of their context, function, aesthetics and/or approach;

3. Identify and use politically informed methods of film practice;

4. Employ advanced practice-based skills in the making of a short film;

5. Communicate an understanding of aesthetic/formal decisions and their underlying political implications.

Teaching details

Weekly seminar/workshop, lecture, and screening.

Assessment Details

100% Practical Portfolio, equivalent to 5000 words


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. FATV30018).