Module Catalogue 2019/20

GEO3149 : Geographies of Film

  • Offered for Year: 2019/20
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Caleb Johnston
  • Lecturer: Dr Craig Jones, Dr Raksha Pande
  • Owning School: Geography, Politics & Sociology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
Pre Requisites
Pre Requisite Comment

Students in the course will require prior knowledge of key concepts and debates in both political and social geography for this module

Co Requisites
Co Requisite Comment



To provide knowledge on a range of theoretical approaches to film and human geography

• To develop analytical skills to critically engage film as a site of popular cultural production
• To strengthen the ability to present verbally and constructively debate ideas with colleagues
• To develop written skills in a substantive essay

Outline Of Syllabus

Module Description

We live in a hyper-visual world in which we are exposed to and consume visual information on a scale unprecedented in human history. Whether we are engrossed in the latest Netflix series or scrolling through Facebook or YouTube, we are saturated with visual culture. Within this new global media-scape, it is vital that we develop the tools to critically engage with visual culture through informed viewing practices. In this module, we will focus on the medium of film, and will engage with film as a textual assemblage which when examined through a geographical lens can not only enrich our ‘geographical imagination’ but can also help us to engage and respond critically to key social and political issues of our times. By exploring the exchange between film, representation and critical spectatorship, this module will consider how film functions as a dominant visual and discursive economy through which social, geopolitical and cultural meanings are imagined, produced, circulated, and contested. We will think through the ways that film offers a medium for travelling across and juxtaposing different worlds, and rupturing dominant narratives about place. Working through a selection of films from Western and non-Western contexts, we examine film’s ability to provide a powerful tool of visual storytelling; to provoke critical thought; to stimulate novel sensory experiences; and as a means of dis-ordering and re-ordering time and space. Each week, following an orientation lecture, we will watch a film. This will be followed by an extended seminar discussion engaging with a set of required readings that students are expected to read closely. An important emphasis is placed on seminar participation, meaning that students are expected to come to class prepared to discuss course materials. Each week different students will be responsible for leading seminar discussions. Students will sign up to lead group discussion from a list of required readings, and they will be asked to come to seminars with 4-5 questions designed to prompt and guide group discussion. This component will not be assessed but it nevertheless represents an important contribution to the course.

Lecture 1: Introduction to Film, Modernity and Urban Space
Film: Man With a Movie Camera (Dziga Vertoz, 1929)

Lecture 2: Spatial Ruptures and Italian Neo-Realism
Film: Bicycle Thieves (Vittorio de Sica, 1948)

Lecture 3: Hindi Art Cinema: Borders and People
Film: Earth (Deepa Mehta, 1992)

Lecture 4: Queering the City
Film: My Beautiful Laundrette (Stephen Frears, 1985)


Lecture 6: Hollywood, Film Noir and Cities of Night
Film: Chinatown (Roman Polanski, 1974)

Lecture 7: Of Geography: Women and Empire
Film: Letters from Baghdad (Zeva Oelbaum, Sabine Krayenbuhl, 2016)

Lecture 8: Japanese Anime: Fantasy and Globalisation
Film: Spirited Away (Hayao, Miyazaki, 2001)

Lecture 9: Melancholic Realism and Disposable Life
Film: 24 Hour City (Jia Zhangke, 2006)

Lecture 10: Displaced World
Film: Human Flow (Ai Weiwei, 2017)

Lecture 11: Cities Under Siege
Film: Return to Homs (Talal Derki, 2013)

Lecture 12: Class Stories and Storytellers
Film: The Arbour (Clio Barnard, 2010)

Lecture 13: TBC

Each lecture and film screening will be followed by seminar discussion. There will be 2 to 3 required readings for each week and students will be expected to read these closely and come to class prepared to discuss these readings in relation to films.

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

The module will provide students:

a)       A critical understanding of the intersection between film and human geography
b)       A greater familiarity with literatures on film, representation, spectatorship, and other key concepts and debates cutting across human geography
c)       The ability to apply key concepts in their own writing.
d)       Greater understanding of their own engagement and spectatorship.

Intended Skill Outcomes

By the end of the module students will have:

a)       An ability to work independently
b)       An ability to work collaborative with their colleagues
c)       An ability to put concepts into action

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion174:0074:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture121:3018:00Film Screenings
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture121:0012:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading184:0084:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching121:0012:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The module will be structured in a weekly 3-hour teaching block, comprising of a lecture and film screening. This will be followed by a 1-hour seminar discussion led by Teaching Assistant. This will allow the students to engage with the module themes in an intensive way with first hand guidance from the lecturers. The lecture will introduce the key concepts and will set up the learning expectations from the film screening. The seminar will be based on pre-set readings and will be aimed at helping students to develop analytical and critical skills. We want students to work collaboratively and the collective viewing experience will help them to do so by encouraging them to enhance their listening, reading/writing and communications skills in a safe and supportive environment.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Prof skill assessmnt2M10Students’ engagement with and contribution to seminar discussions will be assessed.
Essay2M25Students will write a 750-word essay. Designed to get students developing their own independent argument and analysis
Essay2M65Students will write a 2000-word essay.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Seminar discussions enable students:
-       Work and think critically and independently
-       Share and debate ideas with their colleagues in a supportive and collegial setting
-       Lead discussions on key readings

Written assignments (film review and essay) require students to:
-       Develop their own independent argument
-       Put concepts into practice
-       Find and use relevant literature
-       Develop and hone their own writing and analytical skills


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


Disclaimer: The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2019/20 academic year. In accordance with University Terms and Conditions, the University makes all reasonable efforts to deliver the modules as described. Modules may be amended on an annual basis to take account of changing staff expertise, developments in the discipline, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback. Module information for the 2020/21 entry will be published here in early-April 2019. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.