Narrative and Film

The details
Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies
Colchester Campus
Undergraduate: Level 5
Monday 13 January 2025
Friday 21 March 2025
28 March 2022


Requisites for this module



Key module for


Module description

How do films tell their stories? How have filmmakers used novels, short stories, poetry, comics, and video games to create new stories for cinema? And how has transmedia storytelling changed our experience of storyworlds?

In this module we study the ways in which filmmakers have recycled, queered, updated, and given new life to canonical and popular literatures, to graphic novels and comics, and to movie originals. We look at different types of adaptation, such as free adaptations and intermedial borrowings, and we analyse what is involved in the transposition of narrative from one medium into another.

We also explore the differences between remakes and reboots, and the differences between adaptations which retell the "same" story again (and again) and transmedia storytelling which arguably invents prequels, sequels and spin-offs out of a desire of never wanting a particular story to end, thus satisfying our modern "novelistic" taste for seriality.

We study a range of works from movie classics such as Nosferatu (1922, based on Stoker's Dracula novel) to the transmedia franchise Avengers: Endgame (2019).

Module content note: some films may include sexual violence.
Please contact the module supervisor if you have any questions.

Module aims

The learning aims of the module are to:
1. develop an understanding of how narratives are retold, updated and recycled across different art forms and media
2. gain an overview of different types of serial storytelling, including adaptations, remakes, reboots, prequels, sequels, and transmedia
3. familiarize students with key concepts in film analysis, adaptation theory, and transmedia studies

Module learning outcomes

On completing this module students should be able to:
1. undertake comparative analyses and demonstrate an understanding of the aesthetic relations between verbal and visual media
2. demonstrate critical awareness of key issues and concepts pertaining to cross-media adaptations and serial storytelling
3. apply, and reflect on adaptation theory

Module information

Alice in the Cities, dir. Wim Wenders (1974)
Alien, dir. Ridley Scott (1979)
Avengers: Endgame, dir. Anthony and Joe Russo (2019)
Batman Begins, dir. Christopher Nolan (2005)
Blade Runner 2049, dir. Denis Villeneuve (2017)
Hugo, dir. Martin Scorsese (2007)
Nosferatu, dir. F. W. Murnau (1922)
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, dir. Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey & Rodney Rothman (2018)
The Fly, dir. David Cronenberg (1986)

Learning and teaching methods

Weekly two-hour lectorial


The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course.
The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students.
Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Coursework weighting
Coursework   Essay (2,500 words)    95% 
Practical   Participation    5% 

Exam format definitions

  • Remote, open book: Your exam will take place remotely via an online learning platform. You may refer to any physical or electronic materials during the exam.
  • In-person, open book: Your exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer to any physical materials such as paper study notes or a textbook during the exam. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, open book (restricted): The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer only to specific physical materials such as a named textbook during the exam. Permitted materials will be specified by your department. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, closed book: The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may not refer to any physical materials or electronic devices during the exam. There may be times when a paper dictionary, for example, may be permitted in an otherwise closed book exam. Any exceptions will be specified by your department.

Your department will provide further guidance before your exams.

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Prof Karin Littau, email:
Professor Karin Littau
LiFTS General Office, Tel. (01206) 872626, email:



External examiner

Dr Andrew Birtwistle
Canterbury Christ Church University
Reader in Film and Sound
Available via Moodle
No lecture recording information available for this module.


Further information

* Please note: due to differing publication schedules, items marked with an asterisk (*) base their information upon the previous academic year.

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