Honours modules


FM4099 | FM4106 | FM4107 | FM4110 | FM4113 | FM4114 | FM4118 | FM4121 | FM4122 | FM4123

FM4099: Film Studies Dissertation

Semester: Whole year

Dr Lucy Fife Donaldson (Lecturer) and Dr Paul Flaig (Lecturer)

This dissertation offers students the possibility of personal advanced study on a topic in Film Studies on which they already have adequate basic knowledge and for which a suitable supervisor can be found. Guidance will be offered on research methods and on presentation. The dissertation will, as a rule, consist of a study of a given body of primary material in a defined perspective. Its length should be 10,000 words maximum. It should be submitted in accordance with guidelines and deadlines, and be written in English. The topic must be agreed in advance by the Chairman of Department following a favourable report from the Supervisor, whom students should contact in the first instance. (Guidelines for printing and binding dissertations can be found at: http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/printanddesign/dissertation/)

Recent dissertation topics include:


A Changing Perspective:  Examining the New Wave in Greek Cinema

Framing Totalitarianism: Voyeurism and Spectatorship in Pier Paolo Pasolini’s Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom

‘Devious Maids, Modern Wives or Virgins’: the Current Representation of Latinas on US Television

Never Assume the Slasher is Dead: The Influence of Scream on the Evolution of the Slasher Subgenre in Contemporary American Cinema

“Is It Future, or is it Past?” The Evolution of American Landscape in Twin Peaks and Twin Peaks: The Return.

Deliberating Character Authority through David Tennant’s Cult Star Presence in Jessica Jones after Doctor Who

‘There’s Power in a Union’: Redefining the Representations of Sexual and National Identity in the Contemporary Context in God’s Own Country and Pride

Notions of the Body and Dress in Film: Superhero Costume Design and the Affected Viewer

Institution of Critique: An analysis of Frederick Wiseman’s documentary films and their relationship to the critique of institutions

How Far She’ll Go: The Reimagining of ‘The Princess’ in Disney Films

Entertainment, reviews, and YouTube: How the fan-made and fake trailers turned from previews into a new form of new media

Capturing the Violent Heart: The Pleasures of Embodied Spectatorship in Screen Violence of the American Gangster Genre in the Late Twentieth Century.

Bergman, Existentialism & Feminism: A Beauvoirian Analysis of Four Key Works

Time Travelling Soundtracks in Present-Day Movies: How Contemporary Films Connote A Past Sensibility Through Their Music.

The Promised Land: The West as a Trope in the New Romanian Cinema

Diverse Landscapes: A Study of World Cinema in the Festival Circuit




Something Old, Something New: The Recognition of Cinema in Video Games

Reinvention and Relevance: How ‘The Joker’ Reflects Anxiety in America

The Home and the World: Tracking new models of female aspirational desire in Contemporary Hindi Popular Cinema

Italian Dubbing: Translating and Voicing Gender Stereotypes in Contemporary Cinema

Dangerous Misrepresentations of the Arab Onscreen: An Exploration into Spatial Confinements and Orientalist Understandings



Aestheticising Disruption and Finding Home: Style, Gender, and Cultural Appropriation in the Hip Hop Videos of MIA

The Intention of Feeling: An Examination of Texture and Generic Affect in Film

Speaking the Way to New Genre Identities: a Critical Study of Dialogue in 1930s Hollywood Cinema

Everything to Lose but their Chains: Class Oppression, Patriarchy, and Masculinity, as Represented in the Films of Ken Loach

The Remediation of Cinematic Codes in Virtual Reality

If the Glass Slipper Fits: Examining the Disney Princesses as Models of Womanhood

A History of the Female Android in Science Fiction Film


FM4106: War and Cinema

Semester: 1

Dr Zoë Shacklock (Lecturer) and Dr Tom Rice (Lecturer)

lThe war film is one of the great modes of cinematic expression, with outstanding examples of the genre stretching from the early silent period to the contemporary era. In this module, we will explore the chronological history of the War Film, beginning with reenactments and actualities from the Spanish-American War, proceeding through treatments of World War I such as All Quiet on the Western Front, and continuing with films such as Apocalypse Now, Waltz with Bashir, and The Hurt Locker. Students will gain knowledge and awareness of the links between the history of cinema and the development of optical weaponry, the different ways the body of the soldier has been represented in war, and the shaping of cultural memory in film.

FM4107: Cinema and Nation

Semester: 2

Dr Zoë Shacklock (Co-ordinator)

This module addresses the central notion that a national cinema can be more fruitfully understood in terms of the conflicts and discrepancies within a given culture to which its constituent films give a voice. These conflicts point to the fact that film does not simply represent the homogeneous characteristics of a national culture: national cinemas can be seen as sites of contestation where the meanings and interpretations of national culture and history can be debated, dismissed or fortified. As a site, the cinema can be conceptualised as a public arena where the meanings of a culture are negotiated, not simply disseminated. What has been forgotten, what has been elided, and what should be remembered? What is the relationship between these cultural histories and the work of individual filmmakers? The module will introduce different methodologies for the study of national cinemas, either through a specific national cinema (such as the cinemas of Britain, Canada, India, Italy, South Korea or Spain) or through a comparative focus. Case studies will vary from year to year depending on staff availability. For further details, students are advised to contact module coordinator.

FM4110: Images and Impact

Semester: 1

Dr Leshu Torchin (Co-ordinator)

Screen media, whether broadcast news, commercials, documentaries or docudramas, or even mass entertainment, are presumed to act as agents of social change. They inform us about the world around us and encourage our views and responses. This module investigates the relationship between visual media – specifically film and video – and action from historical, practical and theoretical perspectives. Examining styles and content alongside strategies of distribution and exhibition, we will explore the ways in which various producers (for instance, governmental and nongovernmental organisations, marginalised communities, social movements, and ‘culture jammers’) have used screen media for political and social purposes.

FM4113: Ecocinema: The Nature of Film

Semester: 2

Dr Lucy Fife Donaldson (Co-ordinator), Dr Philippa Lovatt (Lecturer) and Dr Paul Flaig (Lecturer)

This Honours module explores cinema’s relationship to the natural environment through a combination of historical, textual, and theoretical analysis. Students will study the history of film’s reliance upon both natural materials and technologies. They will consider how the environment has been represented in a range of films, including natural history films, environmentalist documentaries, art and experimental films, and popular genre films, from Hollywood westerns to science fiction and apocalypse films. And they will study the role of nature, landscape, and the environment in film theory. Specific films and theories will vary from semester to semester. For further details on the specific focus of the module for the current semester, contact the Department of Film Studies.

FM4114: Film Genres

Semester: 1

Film Genres will re-examine, and problematise, film genre today by exploring the topic in a variety of contexts. The module will incorporate a combination of approaches (theoretical, industrial and textual) and, in its assessments, will encourage students to think innovatively about, amongst other things, genre markers, global industry practice and exhibition culture. The module will ordinarily be organised in three related clusters. These clusters may include, but will not be limited to: Genre studies in Classical Hollywood; Genre and authorship (e.g. Hitchcock, Ford, Miike, Woo); Genre and Stars (eg. Clint Eastwood, Jackie Chan, Hugh Grant); Historicising Genre; Global genres; Genre and adaptation; Genre hybrids; Genre and blockbusters; Film Noir as a genre, cycle or mood; Genre and violence; Asian Genres; Genre and studios.

FM4118: Film and Fashion

Semester: 2

Professor Dina Iordanova (Co-ordinator)

The module explores two aspects of the interaction between film and fashion: On the one hand, it looks at the ways fashion intersects with film in the area of costume design and general approaches to style. On the other, it surveys the variety of representations that the fashion world has enjoyed in global cinema. It looks at matters of taste, style, glamour, creativity, celebrity, global fashion hubs and gurus, consumerism, but also at the way fashion is produced, managed, and sold, from glossy magazines and advertising through to luxury brands and sweat-shops. Students will have the opportunity to view and discuss documentary and feature films made by a host of important international directors (including, but not limited to Wim Wenders, Albert Maysles, Jun Ichikawa, Bertrand Bonello, Tom Ford, Ben Stiller, Robert Altman, Nora Ephron, and Gillian Armstrong), as well as to research and write on these matters. The discussions will also touch on matters of fashion photography and film.

FM4121: Screen Comedy

Semester: 1

Dr Paul Flaig (Co-ordinator)

This module will trace comic forms, genres and theories developed over the course of film and television history. Taking comedy seriously, the module will bring together formal analysis of comic scenes and images, seeking to explore the how and why of funniness, with a broad historical survey, bridging early cinematic gags with Vine videos to explore the broader cultural and political causes and consequences of screen humour. Essential theories of comedy will be in dialogue with each week’s screening, analysing concepts ranging from the grotesque to laughter, the absurd to humour noir. We will focus on several key questions: How does comedy subvert or support social norms, whether they be political, ethnic or gendered? What is the relationship between the comic body on screen and the spectatorial response of laughter? What are the most extreme forms of comic experience? Screenings may include works by Keaton, McCarey, Chytilová, Kusturica, Sturges, Iannucci and others.

FM4122: Watching the Detectives: Murder, Mystery and the Media

Semester: 1

Dr Tom Rice (Co-ordinator) and Dr Lucy Fife Donaldson (Co-ordinator)

This module will examine the integral role of the detective story across media and throughout history. This hugely popular and enduring phenomenon is both culturally significant (for example the detective story has historically shaped film narrative and processes of audience identification on film) and a lens through which to explore broader issues often marginalised on other modules (for example questions of adaptation, character, or race). The first five weeks will examine the form and function of detective dramas, before later foregrounding thematic considerations. The module will encourage students to examine film alongside other media (including tv, literature, video games, stage plays, radio), placing different media texts in dialogue each week. It will consider media historically, both internationally and regionally and, through its innovative assessments, will explore the continued popularity and evolution of the detective today.

FM4123: Artists’ Film and Video

Semester: 1

Dr Philippa Lovatt (Co-ordinator)

Exploring connections between other art forms and media including television, sculpture, painting, photography, new media & the sonic arts, experimental film movements have often drawn attention to the materiality of the medium in such a way as to radically challenge conventional modes of storytelling, and of narrative cinema, in particular. This module will introduce students to the critical and historical contexts of artists’ film and experimental cinema. Taking a global perspective, it will examine work from a range of national contexts, while also examining the transnational flows of these film movements. Particular attention will be paid to question of identity politics that these works raise, recognising the importance of women & queer filmmakers whose contributions have often been marginalised in more traditional film histories. In this context, ‘artists’ film’ is understood as work made for the primary purpose of aesthetic experimentation rather than for commercial reasons .