FIL-20005 - Science Fiction Cinema: Utopias and Dystopias
Coordinator: Neil Archer Tel: +44 1782 7 33202
Lecture Time: See Timetable...
Level: Level 5
Credits: 15
Study Hours: 150
School Office: 01782 733147

Programme/Approved Electives for 2022/23


Available as a Free Standing Elective






Barred Combinations


Description for 2022/23

This module aims to provide a critical introduction to many of the key theoretical ideas and historical contexts informing the development of science fiction cinema. Focusing on a number of significant films from the history of cinema, the module will look to define what constitutes science fiction as a film genre. In particular, we will consider science fiction cinema's function as a mode for exploring ideas and hypotheses, both about the future and - by reflection - about our present. We will also engage with debates about the status of science-fiction cinema in relation to science-fiction literature analysing their differences, and looking at the particular relationships viewers and readers have to science-fictional texts.

To develop an extensive knowledge of science fiction cinema as a specific area of film and cultural production, and to develop critical and analytical skills for assessing this cinema in its historical and cultural contexts; to be able to contribute to debates about the place and role of science fiction as a cultural form, and the distinctions between science fiction cinema and literature; to be able to compose detailed critical analyses of science-fiction texts, and produce reasoned written argument based on wide critical reading.

Talis Aspire Reading List
Any reading lists will be provided by the start of the course.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Situate film and theoretical texts in specific historical and cultural contexts: 1,2
Discuss and analyse texts in a comparative framework: 1,2
Demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between cultural production and transformations in society, technology, politics and philosophy: 1,2
Identify key features of film language and form, and assess how these contribute to the meaning of films for audiences: 1,2
Reflect on their own viewing experiences and interests in an engaged and critical fashion: 1,2
Distinguish between the form and cultural significance of science fiction film and science fiction literature: 1,2

Study hours

12x1 hour lecture, 12x1 hour seminar, 5x2 hour screening, 2 hour individual consultation/feedback
24 hours preparation for seminars
30 hours preparation of first assessment
60 hours preparation for second assessment

School Rules


Description of Module Assessment

1: Critique weighted 40%
750 word critical review of chosen case study
Students produce a 750-word critical review, responding to a question chosen by the tutor, on a film of their own choosing, outside the list of those screened on the module

2: Essay weighted 60%
1250 word essay
One essay to be chosen from a selection of questions, based on the themes and theories discussed on the module, and referring to two of the analysed films