SOAS University of London

International Foundation Courses and English Language Studies

Introduction to Film Studies

Academic Subject Summer Course

  • Overview
  • Structure
  • How to Apply


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N.B. This course is not running in 2021

The course is an introduction to Film Studies with a particular focus on cinema in London. It will introduce students to broader aspects of Film Studies, including key moments and movements in cinema history, film production and the studio system, genre, film style and film adaptation.

Students will discover and investigate key themes, debates and filmmaking strategies through lecture and seminar discussions of a wide range of films (in the form of clips and extracts) from early London Hitchcock to post-2000 crime and James Bond films.

There will also be screenings of a total of five feature films during the course

The following are some of the areas we will explore:

  • Key film theorists from Bazin to Deleuze
  • Hitchcock’s pioneering film Blackmail and the transition from silent to sound film
  • The cinema of ‘swinging 60’s’ London
  • Literature on film: Shakespeare, Austen and Dickens
  • The crime-detective genre from Sherlock Holmes to Guy Ritchie’s Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels
  • London: the global and the local, from Notting Hill to Harry Potter
  • Iconic films of Ken Loach, Michelangelo Antonioni, Roman Polanski and Stephen Frears

The course also includes a tour of London film locations and a visit to either one of the London film studios or the British Film Institute (BFI).

Click on the Structure tab for more details and to see what structure the lectures will follow.


English language recommendations for students choosing subject courses: Students will need at least an intermediate level of English in order to understand the lectures, which are delivered at undergraduate level, and to engage in lively discussion in the seminars and tutorials. See our brochure for further details of appropriate language test scores. 


Order of Topics

  1. Silent to sound film debates including Hitchcock’s Blackmail
  1. Documentary film and its influence on the social realism movement, looking at key documentaries and early Ken Loach films
  1. Sexual Liberation and Social Revolt: Swinging 60’s cinema through to 1980’s cinema under Thatcherism
  1. Literature on film: the heritage film debate and adaptations of Dickens, Shakespeare and Austen
  1. The crime-detective genre. Sherlock Holmes, The Long Good Friday to Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels
  1. The city as cinematic space – London, the local and the global: Naked, Dirty Pretty Things, Wonderland. Post-2000 James Bond films and ‘global London’



How to Apply

Apply through the Summer Online Application, or if you have problems with the online form, the application form is also available in PDF and Word format to download on the right side of the main Summer Programme Page.

Please ensure you send a scanned copy of a suitable identity document (see form for details).

You will be sent an invoice and receipt for the course fees when you have accepted the offer and paid for your place on the course. Refunds of the course fees are only made at the discretion of SOAS in exceptional circumstances. If you have any queries, please see the FAQs or email

For instructions on how to pay, see IFCELS Fees. Please also see the full Terms and Conditions