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BA (Hons) Film course preparation

To help you feel prepared for your BA (Hons) Film studies, we’ve gathered together a range of course related activities including suggested viewing, reading, useful websites and some great things to do right now. Read on to find out more.

Suggested viewing

Here are some films and a television show that our lecturers in the Creative Arts Department have recommended:

  • Casablanca (Curtiz, 1942) U. This film is considered one of the most influential Hollywood productions of all time. What do you think it is about the style and content, acting and narrative, that means people define it as such?
  • The Lavender Hill Mob (Crichton, 1951) U This is seen as one of the classic British films from the golden age of Ealing Comedies; whilst watching this, think about what makes this a British film and what are the unique elements that distinguish a British film from Hollywood?
  • Hinterland (2013-2016) on Netflix 15 This cop drama was made in both its native Welsh language and English and uses many of the techniques of Scandinavian Noir that transformed the television industry in the last decade. What is the tone and mood of this television series?
  • Arrival (Villeneuve, 2016) on Netflix 12A This science fiction film depicts extra-terrestrial visitors to Earth and the difficulties of communicating with them. Consider the way editing contributes to the reveal towards the end of the film.
  • 1917 (Mendes, 2019) Amazon Prime 15 This impressive film, set during World War One, won the Academy Award for Best Cinematography. How does the style of this film immerse the viewer in the action throughout?

Here’s a selection of some recent films chosen by our lecturers, currently available on popular streaming services. We hope you enjoy them.

Amazon Prime
Disney Plus

Suggested reading

You’ll be given lots of information about which textbooks to read and introduced to the University Library, as well as the many ebooks we have for you to access, when you begin your studies in September.

In the meantime, there are a some suggested texts you might like to read, if you can, before starting your degree. We don’t recommend rushing out to buy texts before you arrive. But if you can pick some up second hand, borrow from a library, or access online, we suggest:

  • Bordwell, D., K. Thompson & J. Smith Film Art: An Introduction (London: McGraw Hill, 2019)
  • Hayward, S., Cinema Studies: Key Concepts, (London: Routledge, 2017)
  • Storey, J., Cultural Theory and Popular Culture: An Introduction, (Harlow: Pearson, 2021)
  • Thompson, K. & D. Bordwell, Film History: An Introduction (London: McGraw Hill, 2018)

Useful websites and Podcasts

A selection of websites and blogs recommended by our Creative Arts Department tutors:


Things to try over summer

Over the summer months, you can prepare for your degree by watching as many different types of films as you can.

In addition, here are some suggestions from our lecturers for activities you can do this summer:

  • Watch a film every week. Don’t forget to include some foreign language ones.
  • Watch your favourite film, paying close attention to the credits. How many roles do you recognise? Are there any that you have never heard of? Find out what they are.
  • When you watch TV or a film, ask yourself how the content is put together and how does this keep the audience involved?
  • Get a small notebook and start noting down any ideas you have. Use a camera or your phone to take photographs that you find aesthetically or compositionally interesting. You will be involved with the creative process throughout your degree, so a bank of ideas is very useful.
  • Keep a diary of everything you watch over the next few months, what you found interesting and why you enjoyed it. This will help you to start thinking about audiences and the position of media in our society.