The A-level Film Studies course focuses on practical tasks to demonstrate learning, but starts from a more theoretical and critical perspective, and is intended as a complementary qualification which allows students to specialise in an area they enjoy or wish to enter professionally. It looks at the way film institutions, audiences and products are inter-related, and involves a particular focus on the UK cinema industry through a case study of famous UK film production companies, as well as a direct textual comparison between two Hollywood films on the same theme. Activities include the study of production practices, film techniques and meanings, and audience readings, and these are assessed through the examined case studies as well as the practical production of a two-minute section of a film from conception to final edit. The rationale behind the course is to develop students' critical skills so that they become critically autonomous, able to work out the meanings of texts, their ideological intentions and intended audience effects, and the techniques through which these have been achieved. Using these skills as a cornerstone, students can then begin to develop their practical film skills and build up a portfolio of products.

A2 Film Studies: Student Course Outline

FM3 - Coursework

FM4 - Exam (2.75 hours)

  • Section A - Small-Scale Research Project
  • Research into issues of auteurship issues
  • Exploration of a focused question or problematic
  • Focus on one central film and 2-3 supporting films
  • Primary and secondary research
  • Catalogue of items: Bibliographical details and commentary on the usefulness of each source - 1000-1200 words
  • Rationale behind rejected items
  • Presentation script - 1500 words


  • Section B - Practical Application of Learning Project
  • Aims and context: Completed on a standard cover sheet
  • Sequence: A 3-5 minute extract from a film or complete short film, in the form of a screenplay or film
  • Individual Reflective Analysis: Considers key MICRO features of sequence in terms of intended and actual effect - 1000 words
  • Group members should focus on their own role and chosen micro aspect.
  • Section A - World Cinema
  • Urban Stories - Power, poverty and conflict
    • Skills required: Ability to explore themes from a variety of international films
    • Examination: 60-minute essay based on your own case studies to answer a set question
    • Content: European and international cinema, themes of violence, conflict, power and poverty, based on exploration of 4-5 films


  • Section B - Spectatorship
  • Emotional Response in Popular Cinema
    • Skills required: Ability to identify different types of audience emotional response, and who is responsible for them
    • Examination: 60-minute essay in response to a set question on audience and spectatorship issues
    • Content: A study of 4-5 different popular films, the construction of emotional response, and the debates about how and why they occur, through different theoretical perspectives
  • Section C - Single Film Critical Study
    • Skills required: Ability to analyse a chosen film, ability to use contextual knowledge, theories and debates synoptically to answer set questions
    • Examination: 45-minute essay, based on a single film
    • Content: Study of Pedro Almadovar's Talk To Her, focusing on critical reactions to the film, critical approaches to examining the film through theoretical perspectives, and specific areas such as themes, characters and representation, narrative and genre