Film Studies – A Level
Film Studies involves a wide-ranging analysis of British, American and World cinema. You will study the ‘language’ of film (editing, soundtrack, screenplay, etc.) and examine cinema as an entertainments industry (Hollywood studios and how films are financed, produced and marketed). You will also study genres and directors ranging from cinema’s origin in 1895 through to the latest releases. The coursework gives you the chance to analyse the editing in a short film clip, to produce a digital storyboard, and to write a brief screenplay.
In the early 21st century we live in a predominantly visual culture in which what things look like is often more important than what they say. Film Studies helps you make sense of this perplexing and exciting culture by equipping you with tools of analysis and criticism to aid the development of your verbal-visual intelligence. Looking back through the 20th century, it is easy to see why many regard cinema as its most important and influential art form.
AS Units 1 and 2
Exploring Film Form: This coursework project gives you the chance to show what you have learned by using words or pictures. You can write a ‘step outline’ which is an early draft of a film-script, or create a short storyboard using digital photos. The second piece is an extended essay in which you analyse the editing in a short film clip of your choice.
British & American Film: You will study the film industry as a business, looking at how modern films are financed, produced and advertised, and how consumers make decisions about which films they watch, and when, how and why they watch them. You will then review great British films of the 60’s and examine what light these films shed on British society at that time. Lastly, you will compare and contrast two related American films, which you will choose with your tutor’s guidance.
A2 Units 3 and 4
Film Research & Creative Projects: You will have the opportunity to research a film director or actor who particularly interests you. You will gather information into an annotated catalogue and use this to write a presentation of your findings. You will also be required to produce a more detailed ‘step outline’ or part of a full screenplay, laid out in professional format.
Varieties of Film Experience – Issues & Debates: The final A2 unit is composed of three sections. In the first part you will explore the similarities and differences between films made in Russia and Germany in the 1920’s, explaining their stylistic features and how they reflect the time and place they were made. In the second part you will learn about the origins of cinema as an art form by looking at the strange and wonderful short films made in the last years of the 19th century and the early 20th century. Lastly, you will study a single film -‘Solaris’ by Andrei Tarkovsky- in some detail, exploring the production of the film, the film itself, and how it was received by audiences and critics on its release.
How will I be assessed?
There is an equal combination of essay-based exams and coursework assignments in both AS and A2 years.
Do I need to have studied Film Studies before?
Enthusiasm and curiosity about film and cinema are more important than prior knowledge, although a good grade in GCSE English would be an advantage.
Who will teach me?
Tim Maher has been teaching Film Studies successfully at Lansdowne since the early 1990s and studied American cinema as part of his MA. Excellent results are due to his close individual supervision of coursework, tried and tested tips for learning, revising and preparing for examinations, and a detailed inside knowledge of the requirements of the syllabus.
Which subjects complement Film Studies?
Film Studies is suitable for study alongside all the major Arts, Humanities and Social Science subjects including Literature, History, Politics, Media Studies, Psychology, Art, Photography, Theatre Studies and Languages.
Which careers can Film Studies lead to?
The AS level provides both practical and theoretical insight into the subject while the A2 units focus skills and knowledge in a way appropriate for those considering an Arts and Humanities degree en route to a career in journalism, in the media or in the film industry itself.