Poll: Should Film Studies be given more respect?
Yes (101)
50.25%
No (100)
49.75%
Off To The Races
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I intend to take Film Studies A-level in September and I am just a bit curious as to why it is held in such a poor regard. The limited respectability of the subject isn't perturbing me as I know I will enjoy the subject and my UCAS application will not suffer greatly as I am taking two facilitating subjects (in the form of English Literature and History), and so don't view this thread as an attempt to make myself feel better.

Firstly, film is the art form of the 20th Century which illustrates the relevance of the subject, in my humble opinion. Nowadays, books and film can be seen as equal in the cultural and social significance they can offer.

Secondly, the approach to the subject is very similar to the approach required for the study of English Literature. Both subjects require critical analysis and the ability to deconstruct both micro and macro features. The only significant difference is quite obviously that one subject requires the study of novels/poetry whilst the other requires the study of films. Whilst there is more emphasis on linguistic analysis in English Literature, Film Studies requires the student to examine how features such as lighting, camera, sound, mise-en-scene etc. contribute meaning.

Film Studies also requires an understanding of the economics of film consumption. There is no such equivalent present in the study of English Literature (one never has to discuss or analyse the economics behind the publication of books).

With regards to examinations, both subjects require answers in the form of essays, usually involving 'to what extent...' style arguments. What is the difference in gain between someone studying books and the other studying films? (Making the assumption that both are performing to the same level)

As previously mentioned, it is not much of a pressing issue for me, I prioritise educational enjoyment over subject elitism, I am just curious as to what others think regarding the low respect for Film Studies.
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shorttstuff
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#2
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Because some people regard Film Studies as just having to watch films.
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Off To The Races
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(Original post by shorttstuff)
Because some people regard Film Studies as just having to watch films.
Then surely English Literature is just having to read books? Both can be done critically or lazily.
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shorttstuff
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(Original post by Off To The Races)
Then surely English Literature is just having to read books? Both can be done critically or lazily.
I'm sure there's more to English Literature than that but I don't really know since I don't take it. Then again, I would rather watch a film and enjoy is leisurely than analysis to a tee (I had to analysis TV dramas for my media studies exam and absolutely hated it!)
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EmmyLauren
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I think it may be down to a lack of understanding of what you actually do in the subject as you don't just watch films at all which is what a lot people, including my friends, think. I think it also requires some skill to analyse a film and understand how the film industry works-some people in the class just didn't get it whereas others had a stong understanding just like in any other subject. At AS last year we only watched 4 films in total and all of them were needed for the exam (it's not like we spent the WHOLE year just watching films), afterwards we analysed them thoroughly which for some is hard work. You also have to remember theories, quotes and the history of film. I have a friend who is an grade A student in Maths but when i demonstrated to him how i analyse a Film he just didn't get it, so it's different for everybody and not everybody is good at it. I do Film Studies at A level and i love it, it's brilliant but i wish it got a bit more respect
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sophieleannexo
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#6
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(Original post by Off To The Races)
I intend to take Film Studies A-level in September and I am just a bit curious as to why it is held in such a poor regard. The limited respectability of the subject isn't perturbing me as I know I will enjoy the subject and my UCAS application will not suffer greatly as I am taking two facilitating subjects (in the form of English Literature and History), and so don't view this thread as an attempt to make myself feel better.

Firstly, film is the art form of the 20th Century which illustrates the relevance of the subject, in my humble opinion. Nowadays, books and film can be seen as equal in the cultural and social significance they can offer.

Secondly, the approach to the subject is very similar to the approach required for the study of English Literature. Both subjects require critical analysis and the ability to deconstruct both micro and macro features. The only significant difference is quite obviously that one subject requires the study of novels/poetry whilst the other requires the study of films. Whilst there is more emphasis on linguistic analysis in English Literature, Film Studies requires the student to examine how features such as lighting, camera, sound, mise-en-scene etc. contribute meaning.

Film Studies also requires an understanding of the economics of film consumption. There is no such equivalent present in the study of English Literature (one never has to discuss or analyse the economics behind the publication of books).

With regards to examinations, both subjects require answers in the form of essays, usually involving 'to what extent...' style arguments. What is the difference in gain between someone studying books and the other studying films? (Making the assumption that both are performing to the same level)

As previously mentioned, it is not much of a pressing issue for me, I prioritise educational enjoyment over subject elitism, I am just curious as to what others think regarding the low respect for Film Studies.
I have just completed an A-Level in Film Studies and I don't think of it as a 'soft' subject. I agree with everything you have said. I really enjoyed the course and have learnt a lot from it. It isn't all about watching films, you have to apply critical approaches and critics opinions as well as analyse macro and micro features. Not as easy as it sounds! Sure we watch films but Film Studies is all about understanding 'why and how' someone has done something in a film, similar to English Literature. I studied English Language and English Literature alongside Film Studies and found Film Studies to be the most enjoyable! Sorry for the rant, I have such a passion for the subject!

Sophie.
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Off To The Races
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#7
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(Original post by shorttstuff)
I'm sure there's more to English Literature than that but I don't really know since I don't take it. Then again, I would rather watch a film and enjoy is leisurely than analysis to a tee (I had to analysis TV dramas for my media studies exam and absolutely hated it!)
I believe there is more to English Literature than simply reading books, I take it so I can confirm! I was simply applying your logic about Film Studies being about watching films to English Lit. Of course watching films and reading books are instrumental to Film and English respectively. You can read books and watch films in an 'unacademic' manner just as you can adopt a critical and analytical approach.
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Tilly87
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one of my friends did it along with English and a language and said he didn't need to put much effort in compared to the others and got an A*. I don't think there's anything wrong with it, just if you're good at writing essays you shouldn't find it too difficult.
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sophieleannexo
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(Original post by EmmyLauren)
I think it may be down to a lack of understanding of what you actually do in the subject as you don't just watch films at all which is what a lot people, including my friends, think. I think it also requires some skill to analyse a film and understand how the film industry works-some people in the class just didn't get it whereas others had a stong understanding just like in any other subject. At AS last year we only watched 4 films in total and all of them were needed for the exam (it's not like we spent the WHOLE year just watching films), afterwards we analysed them thoroughly which for some is hard work. I do Film Studies at A level and i love it, it's brilliant but i wish it got a bit more respect
I agree!
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DannyBoy123
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#10
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I suppose the main difference between English Literature and Film Studies is that, generally speaking, (there are of course exceptions), literature is able to explore more concepts in more depth than film is able to and therefore requires a deeper level of critical analysis to reach an understanding. In reality (and particularly at A-level) there probably isn't an awful lot of difference in the level of difficulty, but that's just how people seem to view it unfortunately.
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Felchingman
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In my humble opinion, analizing movies seems much more simpler than analizing books, simply because it is much more visual. Whilst there will be one or two figures of speech in a movie (often metaphor), a book is much more complex and I believe it requires more skill and possibly more intelligence.
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Off To The Races
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#12
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(Original post by Felchingman)
In my humble opinion, analizing movies seems much more simpler than analizing books, simply because it is much more visual. Whilst there will be one or two figures of speech in a movie (often metaphor), a book is much more complex and I believe it requires more skill and possibly more intelligence.
But films can contain countless visual metaphors captured through the use of camera, light and sound no?
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sophieleannexo
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(Original post by Felchingman)
In my humble opinion, analizing movies seems much more simpler than analizing books, simply because it is much more visual. Whilst there will be one or two figures of speech in a movie (often metaphor), a book is much more complex and I believe it requires more skill and possibly more intelligence.
I don't see a difference between analysing a book and a film. You can get different interpretations from different mediums. Analysing a book does not require more skill or intelligence because I did English Literature and Film Studies at A-Level, they were both the same regarding difficulty. I think Film Studies should be more respected, because it is in my opinion an academic but vocational subject simultaneously. (:
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Felchingman
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(Original post by sophieleannexo)
I don't see a difference between analysing a book and a film. You can get different interpretations from different mediums. Analysing a book does not require more skill or intelligence because I did English Literature and Film Studies at A-Level, they were both the same regarding difficulty. I think Film Studies should be more respected, because it is in my opinion an academic but vocational subject simultaneously. (:
One thing you don't do in Film Studies I guess, is quoting, and it is one of the hardest thing to master when you do an English essay.

English and Film Studies are similar subjects, but with English you get to study the language, the use of words, figures of speech (not visual ones).
You also get to go back in time, studying Shakespeare and other greats, and all this gives you a culture, that has much more value than the knowledge of films.

But it's just my opinion.
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sophieleannexo
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(Original post by Felchingman)
One thing you don't do in Film Studies I guess, is quoting, and it is one of the hardest thing to master when you do an English essay.

English and Film Studies are similar subjects, but with English you get to study the language, the use of words, figures of speech (not visual ones).
You also get to go back in time, studying Shakespeare and other greats, and all this gives you a culture, that has much more value than the knowledge of films.

But it's just my opinion.
I've done both subjects. You do quote in Film Studies, from theory, from critics and from films themselves. But all in all I respect your opinion.
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R3cognize
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#16
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For what it's worth, I agree that vocational courses such as Film and Media studies are often disregarded despite the amount of content and knowledge it demands, though I believe the comparison of Film towards the Sciences and Maths is what mostly renders the subject as insignificant or not as 'respected' as other courses.

After finishing my A-level in Media in June, I personally can understand why it's often belittled by other 'stronger' subjects - I accept there are many similarities regarding content with subjects such as English Literature which you also point out, (Which I also took at A-level, incidentally) but the simple fact is Media or Film studies is largely easier - and therefore less respected - than many other subjects, for many students.
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sophieleannexo
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(Original post by R3cognize)
For what it's worth, I agree that vocational courses such as Film and Media studies are often disregarded despite the amount of content and knowledge it demands, though I believe the comparison of Film towards the Sciences and Maths is what mostly renders the subject as insignificant or not as 'respected' as other courses.

After finishing my A-level in Media in June, I personally can understand why it's often belittled by other 'stronger' subjects - I accept there are many similarities regarding content with subjects such as English Literature which you also point out, (Which I also took at A-level, incidentally) but the simple fact is Media or Film studies is largely easier - and therefore less respected - than many other subjects, for many students.
Maths/Science subjects are distinctly harder, without a doubt. However I don't agree that Film Studies is easier, I did Media Studies too and it isn't easier than many other subjects. The subjects just require different skills. I think that without having experienced the course a sound judgement cannot be made.
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R3cognize
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#18
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(Original post by sophieleannexo)
Maths/Science subjects are distinctly harder, without a doubt. However I don't agree that Film Studies is easier, I did Media Studies too and it isn't easier than many other subjects. The subjects just require different skills. I think that without having experienced the course a sound judgement cannot be made.
Which subjects do you consider as the same difficulty?
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sophieleannexo
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(Original post by R3cognize)
Which subjects do you consider as the same difficulty?
As Film Studies, in my personal opinion, I think English Language, Media Studies (I know they are considered 'soft' subjects) and English Literature. Speaking to others that have done Film Studies - some have mentioned Psychology, Maths (Can't see how but not my opinion) and Biology. (:
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Aj12
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(Original post by EmmyLauren)
I think it may be down to a lack of understanding of what you actually do in the subject as you don't just watch films at all which is what a lot people, including my friends, think. I think it also requires some skill to analyse a film and understand how the film industry works-some people in the class just didn't get it whereas others had a stong understanding just like in any other subject. At AS last year we only watched 4 films in total and all of them were needed for the exam (it's not like we spent the WHOLE year just watching films), afterwards we analysed them thoroughly which for some is hard work. You also have to remember theories, quotes and the history of film. I have a friend who is an grade A student in Maths but when i demonstrated to him how i analyse a Film he just didn't get it, so it's different for everybody and not everybody is good at it. I do Film Studies at A level and i love it, it's brilliant but i wish it got a bit more respect
I did Film Studies A level. It is a soft subject. I'm sorry but it really is. I did it alongside History and Philosophy and it was by far the easiest A level I have ever done. There's nothing wrong with doing it but I don't see why it deserves much more respect than it already gets.
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