A Level Film Studies: The Essential Introduction, 3rd Edition (Paperback) book cover

A Level Film Studies

The Essential Introduction, 3rd Edition

By Sarah Casey Benyahia, John White, Freddie Gaffney


420 pages | 114 Color Illus.

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pub: 2020-02-28
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This essential book covers the key areas for A Level Film Studies students, building confidence through a careful, step-by-step approach.

The first part of the book establishes a basic understanding of the grounding of film analysis in the various elements of film construction, mise en scène, cinematography, editing, sound and performance, developing the knowledge students have of movies whilst challenging them to consider new films and ideas. Key theoretical approaches around narrative, genre, representation, spectatorship and authorship are introduced in part two, before we consider specific national cinemas from around the world in parts three and four. In part five, the book assesses a range of slightly different film experiences, looking at silent cinema, experimental films and documentaries; before, finally, part six shifts to evaluating creative approaches to students’ own filmmaking.

Specifically designed to be user-friendly, the book has an easy-to-follow design, includes more than sixty colour images and is packed with features such as:

1. case studies on a range of films and filmmakers,

2. activities on such films as Sunrise (Murnau, 1927, US), Vertigo (Hitchcock, 1958, US), Do the Right Thing (Lee, 1989, US), We Need to Talk About Kevin (Ramsay, 2011, UK), Stories We Tell (Polley, 2012, Can),

3. definitions of key terms,

4. suggestions for further reading and website resources.

Matched to the current exam specification, A Level Film Studies: The Essential Introduction covers everything students need to study as part of the course. The book is supported by a companion website at www.alevelfilmstudies.co.uk offering further advice and activities.

Table of Contents

Introduction: This is Film Studies

Part I: Film Form and Analysis

Chapter 1: Mise en scène

Chapter 2: Cinematography

Chapter 3: Editing

Chapter 4: Sound

Chapter 5: Performance

Part II: Theoretical Approaches and Critical Debates

Chapter 6: Narrative and Genre

Chapter 7: Representation and Ideology  

Chapter 8: Spectatorship and Audience Studies  

Chapter 9: Authorship

Chapter 10: Historical, Social and Cultural Contexts

Part III: Hollywood and US Cinema

Chapter 11: Classic Hollywood, 1930-1960

Chapter 12: New Hollywood, 1961-1990

Chapter 13: Contemporary American Cinema

Part IV: National Cinemas, Global Cinema and Arthouse Film

Chapter 14: Contemporary British Cinema

Chapter 15: European Film

Chapter 16: Global Film

Part V: Further Varieties of Film Experience

Chapter 17: Silent Cinema

Chapter 18: Experimental Film

Chapter 19: Documentary Film: Theory and Practice

Part VI: Understanding Film through Creative Practice

Chapter 20: Conventions of the Screenplay and Shooting Script: Narrative Construction

About the Authors

Dr.Sarah Casey Benyahia is a film and media teacher in post-16 education. She is the author of Crime (2011), 'Between Place and Non-Place: Disrupting the Categorizations of the Past in Ida' in Allen, S and Møllegaard, K (eds.) Narratives of Place in Literature and Film (2019), and co-author of Doing Film Studies (2012).

John White teaches Film Studies at Anglia Ruskin University. He is the author of Westerns (2011), European Art Cinema (2017) and The Contemporary Western: An American Genre Post-9/11 (2019). He is co-editor of The Routledge Encyclopedia of Films (2014).

Freddie Gaffney is a lecturer, screenwriter and filmmaker. He is co-author of AS Film Studies: The Essential Introduction (2nd edition, 2008) and On Screenwriting (2009).

About the Series


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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PERFORMING ARTS / Film & Video / General
PERFORMING ARTS / Film & Video / Guides & Reviews
PERFORMING ARTS / Film & Video / History & Criticism
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Media Studies