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FTR1003 Cinematic Language

Semester 1, 2020 On-campus Springfield
Short Description: Cinematic Language
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts
School or Department : School of Creative Arts
Student contribution band : Band 1
ASCED code : 100701 - Audio Visual Studies
Grading basis : Graded


Examiner: Leonie Jones


Cinematic Language is a first-year foundational course for students in the Film, Television and Radio Major. Students in other areas of study may choose this course as an elective. Students are introduced to elements of popular narrative film including film history, aesthetics and technical practice. This course focuses on the combination of methods, strategies and skills that filmmakers choose to convey the central message and the main ideas of the story that they are trying to tell. Similarly, students will learn how a filmmaker understands how to perfect the manipulation of the scene through cinematic timing, transitions, and effects that would convey similar feelings in the viewer through explicit and implicit meaning. Students will address questions of narrative form, style and genre and consider film as a social, cultural and ethical document. Cinematic Language aims to broaden a student's notion of cinema and expand ideas of what film is and might be.


This course serves as an introduction to narrative film history, aesthetics and language with a strong emphasis on cinema as an art form. Understanding the historical, technical, and cultural significance of film language is incredibly important to emerging filmmakers as a way of communicating their message to a visual audience. Students will therefore engage in screenings, discussions and reviews aimed at exploring, investigating and understanding the grammar of the visual language in contemporary, genre and auteur films. Topics and theoretical perspectives may include (but are not limited to) film concepts, techniques and skills such as plot, story, mise-en-scène, sound, editing, cinematography, auteur and genre.


On completion of this course students should be able to:

  1. acquire a foundational understanding of film history, aesthetics and language of film (TLO 1);
  2. identify and interpret principles of narrative forms of cinema (TLO 4);
  3. recall the function of film as a formal construction with particular reference to the artistic elements of film: mise-en-scene, editing, montage, cinematography and sound (TLO 4);
  4. recognise cultural, social and ethical issues associated with genre film. (TLO 6).


Description Weighting(%)
1. Film as an art form 25.00
2. Film form 25.00
3. Film style 25.00
4. Film genre 25.00

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

ALL textbooks and materials available to be purchased can be sourced from USQ's Online Bookshop (unless otherwise stated). (

Please contact us for alternative purchase options from USQ Bookshop. (

Bordwell, D & Thompson, K 2017, Film art: an introduction, 11th edn, McGraw -Hill, New York.

Reference materials

Reference materials are materials that, if accessed by students, may improve their knowledge and understanding of the material in the course and enrich their learning experience.
Aumont, J et al 1992, Aesthetics of film.
(Texas film studies series.)
Beaver, FE 2015, Dictionary of film terms: the aesthetic companion to film analysis, 5th edn, Peter Lang, New York.
(Twayne's filmmaker series.)
Cohen, H, Salazar, JF & Barkat, I 2009, Screen media arts: an introduction to concepts and practices, Oxford University Press, Australia.
Gledhill, C & Williams, L (eds) 2000, Reinventing film studies, Bloomsbury, London.
Hollows, J, Hutchings, P & Janovich, M (eds) 2010, The film studies reader, Bloomsbury, London.

Student workload expectations

Activity Hours
Directed Study 52.00
Independent Study 113.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
REVIEW 100 30 27 Mar 2020
ESSAY 100 35 01 May 2020
QUIZ 100 35 05 Jun 2020

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    Students must attend and complete the requirements of the Workplace Health and Safety training program for this course where required.

    External and Online: There are no attendance requirements for this course. However, it is the students’ responsibility to study all material provided to them or required to be accessed by them to maximise their chance of meeting the objectives of the course and to be informed of course-related activities and administration.

    On-campus: It is the students’ responsibility to attend and participate appropriately in all activities (such as lectures, tutorials, laboratories and practical work) scheduled for them, and to study all material provided to them or required to be accessed by them to maximise their chance of meeting the objectives of the course and to be informed of course-related activities and administration.

  2. Requirements for students to complete each assessment item satisfactorily:
    To successfully complete an individual assessment item, a student must achieve at least 50% of the marks or a grade of at least C-. This statement must be read in conjunction with Statement 4 below.

  3. Penalties for late submission of required work:
    Students should refer to the Assessment Procedure (point 4.2.4)

  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    To be assured of receiving a passing grade, a student must achieve at least 50% of the total weighted marks available for the course.

  5. Method used to combine assessment results to attain final grade:
    The final grades for students will be assigned on the basis of the aggregate of the weighted marks obtained for each of the summative assessment items in the course.

  6. Examination information:
    There is no examination for this course.

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    There is no examination in this course, there will be no deferred or supplementary examinations.

  8. University Student Policies:
    Students should read the USQ policies: Definitions, Assessment and Student Academic Misconduct to avoid actions which might contravene University policies and practices. These policies can be found at

Other requirements

  1. Students can expect that questions in assessment items in this course may draw upon knowledge and skills that they can reasonably be expected to have acquired before enrolling in the course. This includes knowledge contained in pre-requisite courses and appropriate communication, information literacy, analytical, critical thinking, problem solving or numeracy skills. Students who do not possess such knowledge and skills should not expect to achieve the same grades as those students who do possess them.

Date printed 19 June 2020