Cultural Ideology and Film

The details
Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies
Colchester Campus
Full Year
Undergraduate: Level 6
Thursday 03 October 2019
Friday 26 June 2020
03 May 2019


Requisites for this module



Key module for

BA QP10 English Language with Media Communication,
BA QP11 English Language with Media Communication (Including Year Abroad),
BA QP12 English Language with Media Communication (Including Placement Year)

Module description

This module explores the relationship between film and ideology, analyzing films from the mid-twentieth century up to the present day from a number of theoretical (Marxist, feminist, postcolonial, and psychoanalytical) and sociological perspectives. It aims to give an understanding of cinema as an ideological medium, which can both sustain and interrogate social and cultural norms and desires.

The autumn term syllabus introduces students to notions of ideology and ideology critique, through watershed moments of US history – including the Cold War, the Watergate crisis, the Vietnam and Gulf Wars – examining how particular films promote, shape, and subvert dominant political ideologies.

In the spring term, we shift to a more international perspective, to look at how a diverse selection of films from the US, Britain, Israel/Palestine, Germany, South Africa, and Argentina have tackled pressing ideological issues of recent times – including the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, surveillance, immigration and detention, gender and violence. Hence, alongside mainstream US cinema, we explore ideological (counter) statements from elsewhere.

Module aims

The aims of the module are:

1. To investigate, understand and critically appraise key concepts and issues pertaining to cinema as an ideological medium.
2. To promote students' ability to analyse films, demonstrating awareness of relevant cultural, historical and industrial contexts.
3. To research aspects of ideology on our screens and situate issues of representation within the wider structures of the entertainment industry.
4. To develop students' oral and written communication skills, including the ability to use appropriate conventions of scholarly argument
5. To develop students' knowledge and critical understanding of cultural ideology and film

Module learning outcomes

By the end of the module, students should have gained:

1. Knowledge of key concepts and issues pertaining to cinema as an ideological medium.
2. An ability to undertake close film analysis, demonstrating awareness of relevant cultural, historical and industrial contexts.
3. An ability to research aspects of ideology on our screens and situate issues of representation within the wider structures of the entertainment industry.
4. An ability to clearly communicate knowledge and understanding of cultural ideology and film, in both oral and written work, using the appropriate conventions of scholarly argument.

Module information

No additional information available.

Learning and teaching methods

Two hours of viewing/listening time each week, in addition to the two-hour seminar.


  • Francis Ford Coppola. (1974) The Conversation: FilmFour.
  • Forster, Marc; Pitt, Brad. (2013) World War Z, Hollywood, CA: Paramount.
  • Clive Owen; Alfonso Cuarón. (2007) Children of men, [S.l.]: Universal.
  • Peter Biskind. (1974) 'Rebel without a cause: Nicholas Ray in the fifties', in Film Quarterly. vol. 28 (1) , pp.32-38
  • Margaret Tarrat. (1995) 'Monsters from the Id', in Film Genre Reader II, Austin, TX: University of Texas Press., pp.330-349
  • Funder, Anna. (1964-) 'Eyes Without a Face', in Sight and sound, London: British Film Institute. vol. 17 (5) , pp.16-20
  • Mark Andrejevic. (2002) 'Between the New Medium and the Old', in Reality TV: The Work of Being Watched, Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield., pp.1-22
  • Chon Noriega. (1987) 'Godzilla and the Japanese Nightmare: When Them! is U.S.', in Cinema Journal. vol. 27 (1) , pp.63-77
  • Said, Edward W. (2003) Orientalism, London: Penguin. vol. Penguin classics
  • Eastwood, Clint; Cooper, Bradley. (2015) American sniper, United States: Warner Bros.
  • IMDb The Internet Movie Database,
  • Sylvia Shin Huey Chong. (2005) 'Restaging the War: The Deer Hunter and the Primal Scene of Violence', in Cinema Journal. vol. 44 (2) , pp.89-106
  • Darko Suvin. (©2016) 'Estrangement and Cognition', in Metamorphoses of science fiction: on the poetics and history of a literary genre, Oxford: Peter Lang. vol. volume 18, pp.15-28
  • Nicholas Ray. (1955) Rebel Without a Cause: Channel 5.
  • Peter Brunette. (2012) 'Blow-up (1966)', in The Films of Michelangelo Antonioni: Cambridge University Press (Virtual Publishing)., pp.109-126
  • Simon Critchley. (2014) On Humour: Routledge.
  • David Desser. (1999) 'Race, Space and Class: the Politics of Cityscapes in Science-Fiction Films', in Alien zone II: the spaces of science-fiction cinema, London: Verso., pp.80-96
  • Margaret Tarratt. (1970) 'Monsters from the Id - Part 1', in Films and filming. vol. 17 (3) , pp.38-42
  • Thomas Lindenberger. (2008) 'Stasiploitation: Why Not? The Scriptwriter's Historical Creativity in "The Lives of Others"', in German Studies Review: The Johns Hopkins University Press. vol. 31 (3) , pp.557-566
  • Khatib, Lina. (2006) Filming the modern Middle East: politics in the cinemas of Hollywood and the Arab world, London: I.B. Tauris. vol. 57
  • Catherine Zimmer. (2015) 'Introduction: Surveillance Cinema in Theory and Practice', in Surveillance cinema, New York: New York University Press. vol. Postmillennial pop, pp.4-24
  • Andrew Worsdale. (2009) 'Joburg inspired Blomkamp', in Screen Africa. vol. 21, pp.35-
  • Kaja Silverman. (1988) 'The Fantasy of the Maternal Voice: Paranoia and Compensation', in The Acoustic Mirror: The Female Voice in Psychoanalysis and Cinema, Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press., pp.72-100
  • Bishop, Kyle. (2009) 'Dead Man Still Walking', in Journal of Popular Film and Television. vol. 37 (1) , pp.16-25
  • Greg Philo; Alison Gilmour; Maureen Gilmour; Susanna Rust; Etta Gaskell; Lucy West. (2003) 'The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: TV News and Public Understanding', in War and the media: reporting conflict 24/7, London: Sage., pp.102-112
  • Robert K. Lightning. (1999) 'A Domestic Trilogy', in Cineaction. vol. 50, pp.32-44
  • Hochberg, Gil Z. (2015) 'The (Soldier’s) Gaze and the (Palestinian) Body', in Visual occupations: violence and visibility in a conflict zone, London: Duke University Press. vol. Perverse modernities, pp.79-95
  • Shohini Chaudhuri. (2016) 'Nine Cinematic Devices for Staging (In)Visible War and the (Vanishing) Colonial Present', in Disappearing War: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Cinema and Erasure in the Post-9/11 World, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press., pp.170-190
  • Howard Hawks; Christian Nyby. (1951) The Thing from Another World: BBC2 England.
  • Peter Lev. (1989) 'Blow-Up, Swinging London, and the Film Generation', in Literature/Film Quarterly. vol. 17 (2) , pp.134-137
  • Roger Luckhurst. (©2015) Zombies: a cultural history, London: Reaktion Books.
  • Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck; Martina Gedeck; Ulrich Mühe; Sebastian Koch; Ulrich Tukur. (2007) The lives of others, London: Lionsgate.
  • Honda, Ishiro. (1954) Godzilla / Gojira.
  • Jones, Matthew. (2010) 'District 9', in Film & History: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Film and Television Studies. vol. 40 (1) , pp.120-122
  • Peter Weir. (1999) The Truman show, Hollywood, CA: Paramount.
  • Margaret Tarratt. (1971) 'Monsters from the Id - Part 2', in Films and filming. vol. 17 (4) , pp.40-42
  • Hitchcock, Alfred. (1956) The Man Who Knew Too Much: More4.
  • Zahid Chaudhary. (2009) 'Humanity Adrift: Race, Materiality, and Allegory in Alfonso Cuarón’s Children of Men', in Camera obscura: Duke University Press. vol. 24 (3) , pp.73-109
  • Jay Beck. (2002) 'Citing the Sound: The Conversation, Blow Out and the Mythological Ontology of the Soundtrack in ‘70s Film', in Journal of Popular Film and Television. vol. 29 (4) , pp.156-163
  • Robin Wood. (2002) 'The Men Who Knew Too Much (and the women who knew much better)', in Hitchcock's Films Revisited, New York: Columbia University Press., pp.358-370
  • Karl Marx. (1970) 'First Premises of Materialist Method', in The German ideology: with selections from parts two and three, together with Marx's "Introduction to a critique of political economy", Part one, New York: International Publishers., pp.61-70
  • Michelangelo Antonioni. (1966) Blow Up: BBC4.
  • Cimino, Michael. (1978) Deer Hunter: ITV4.
  • Stanley Kubrick. (1964) Dr Strangelove: FilmFour.
  • Sontag, Susan. (1994) 'The imagination of disaster', in Against Interpretation, London: Vintage., pp.209-225
  • Jonathan Kirshner. (2001) 'Subverting the Cold War in the 1960s: Dr Strangelove, The Manchurian Candidate and Planet of the Apes', in Film and History. vol. 31 (2) , pp.40-44
  • Hannah McGill. (2007) 'Close to home', in Sight and sound. vol. 17 (5) , pp.58-58
  • Geraghty, Lincoln. (2009) 'Conflict and Consensus: The Cold War and the Space Race', in American Science Fiction Film and Television: Berg Publishers.
  • Sophie Fiennes. (2012) The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology: FilmFour.
  • Bilu, Vidi; Hagar, Dalia; Shendar, Neama; Sayar, Smadar; Reginiano, Sharon. (2007) Close to home, London: Soda Pictures.
  • Neill Blomkamp; Sharlto Copley. (2009) District 9, London: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.
  • Nina C. Leibman. (1995) Living room lectures, Austin: University of Texas Press.

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 Weighting
Coursework Moodle quiz 5%
Coursework Participation marks 5%
Coursework Poster Analysis (2,000 words) 03/01/2020 30%
Coursework Essay proposal (500 words + bibliography) 03/03/2020 5%
Coursework Presentation 13/03/2020 15%
Coursework Essay (2,500 words) 30/04/2020 40%

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
LiFTS General Office - email Telephone 01206 872626



External examiner

Dr Mikel Koven
Senior Lecturer - Film Studies
Available via Moodle
Of 140 hours, 80 (57.1%) hours available to students:
60 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information

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