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Film Studies

Key Stage 5

At the root of all film studies is a recognition that films are made: they are constructed using a range of elements – cinematography, mise-en-scène, sound, editing and performance (the key elements of film form) - which are organised structurally in terms of narrative and often genre (the structural elements of film form). How filmmakers use these elements, frequently in complex and highly artistic ways, is a large part of what constitutes the formal study of film. Equally important is how we respond to the works filmmakers create, both as spectators and as learners studying relevant contexts, applying critical approaches and engaging in critical debate.

For this specification, these underpinning elements have been used to create a framework for studying film, which learners will be able to apply to all the films they explore:

  1. the key elements of film form – cinematography, miseen-scène, editing, sound and performance, which have significance both individually and in combination with one another
  2. the structural elements of film form – narrative, the processes of narration, including the role of the screenplay in providing narrative structure, and genre (where relevant to the film studied)
  3. how film creates meaning and generates response, including how it functions as a medium of representation.
  4. film as an aesthetic medium
  5. the spectator and spectatorship
  6. the social, cultural, political, historical and institutional, including production, contexts of film
  7. critical approaches to studying film – arising from the idea of film as ‘constructed’ and including different conceptions of narrative, ideology and the idea of the ‘auteur’
  8. key debates (the realist versus the expressive in film and the digital) and filmmakers’ theories of film.


The minimum entry requirements for level 3 applied study apply. In addition, a Grade 5 in English is required. Students with a Grade 4 who demonstrate good literacy skills through the transition pack and initial assessment will also be considered.