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Film and Media Studies

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Welcome to the Film and Media Studies subject guide

clapper board and film

This guide provides information on resources for Film and Media Studies.

UCL Library Services provides access to a wealth of online and print materials relating to the study of the history and theory of media, film and cinema, in the form of books, journals, and audio visual materials.

Select an option from the menu to find out more about print and online materials, film streaming databases, how-to videos, online chat and details of further training available through LibrarySkills@UCL.

Getting started: new to UCL? Try our online library induction to find out how to use our libraries and access all the resources you will need for your course.

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New books in Film & Media

Black Boys: The Aesthetics of British Urban Film

In Black Boys: The Aesthetics of British Urban Film, Nwonka offers the first dedicated analysis of Black British urban cinematic and televisual representation as a textual encounter with Blackness, masculinity and urban identity where the generic construction of images and narratives of Black urbanity is informed by the (un)knowable allure of Black urban Otherness. Foregrounding the textual Black urban identity as a historical formation, and drawing on a range of theoretical frameworks that allow for an examination of the emergence and continued social, cultural and industrial investment in the fictitious and non-fictitious images of Black urban identities and geographies, Nwonka convenes a dialogue between the disciplines of Film and Television Studies, Philosophy, Cultural Studies, Black Studies, Sociology and Criminology.

The British Trauma Film

While the historical influence of psychoanalysis on Hollywood cinema has received considerable attention, the same cannot be said for its influence on British cinema. This book examines the central position that psychoanalysis occupies in British cinema in the years immediately following the Second World War. Plummer uses a critical theory framework to understand the role that psychoanalysis plays in British culture at this time as an historical discourse, and in British cinema as a narrative, a cultural, and an ideological discourse.

Indigeneity and the decolonizing gaze : Transnational imaginaries, media aesthetics, and social thought

Against the long historical backdrop of 1492, Columbus, and the Conquest, Robert Stam's wide-ranging study traces a trajectory from the representation of indigenous peoples by others to self-representation by indigenous peoples, often as a form of resistance and rebellion to colonialist or neoliberal capitalism, across an eclectic range of forms of media, arts, and social philosophy.

Black Women and the Changing Television Landscape

Black women's work in television has been, since the beginning, a negotiation. Black Women and the Changing Television Landscape explores the steps black women, as actors, directors, and producers, have taken to improve representations of black people on the small screen. Beginning with The Beulah Show, Anderson articulates the interrelationship between US culture and the televisual, demonstrating the conditions under which black women particularly, and black people generally, exist in popular culture.

Watership Down

Watership Down (Martin Rosen, 1978) is as controversial as it is beloved. Whether due to the tear-jerking hit song 'Bright Eyes' or its notorious representation of violence inflicted by and upon animated rabbits, the film retains the ability to move and shock audiences of all ages, remaining an important cultural touchstone decades after its original release. This open access collection unites scholars and practitioners from a diversity of perspectives to consider the ongoing legacy of this landmark of British cinema and animation history.

Media and Gender Adaptation

Media and Gender Adaptation examines how fans and professionals change the gender of characters when they adapt existing work. Using research into fans, and case studies on Sherlock Holmes, Ghostbusters and Doctor Who, it illustrates the foundation of the process and ways the works engage with and critique media and gender at a political level. The default maleness of narratives in media are reworked to be inclusive of other points of view. Regendering as an adaptational technique relies on audience familiarity with existing works, however it also reveals an increasing trend in aggressive backlash against interpretations of media that include marginalised and minority communities. Combining analysis of fanfiction, television and big budget Hollywood productions, Media and Gender Adaptation also analyses fan responses to regendering in popular media.

Cinema in the Arab World

Cinema in the Arab world has been the subject of varied and rigorous studies, but most have focused on films as text, providing in-depth analyses of plot, style, ideologies, or examination of the biographies of prominent directors or actors. This innovative new volume shifts the focus on Arab cinema off-screen, to examine the histories, politics, and conditions of distribution, exhibition, and cinema-going in the Arab world.

Secret Violences: The Political Cinema of Michelangelo Antonioni, 1960-1975

Although Michelangelo Antonioni became one of the icons of "modernist" cinema in the 1960s, his position in the pantheon of great directors has never been quite secure. Unlike his famous contemporaries, such as Ingmar Bergman and Luchino Visconti, whose essential contribution to the art of cinema is hardly ever questioned, Antonioni's work has been repeatedly denigrated from many angles for both aesthetic and political reasons.

Life in Media

A new way to teach media studies that centers students' lived experiences and diverse perspectives from around the world. From the intimate to the mundane, most aspects of our lives--how we learn, love, work, and play--take place in media. Taking an expansive, global perspective, this introductory textbook covers what it means to live in, rather than with, media. Mark Deuze focuses on the lived experience--how people who use smartphones, the internet, and television sets;make sense of their digital environment--to investigate the broader role of media in society and everyday life.

David Lynch and the American West

This collection convenes diverse analyses of David Lynch's newly conceived, dreamlike neo-noir representations of the American West, a first in studies of regionalism and indigeneity in his films. Twelve essays and three interviews address Lynch's image of the American West and its impact on the genre. Fans and scholars of David Lynch's work will find a study of his interpretations of the West as place and myth, spanning from his first feature film, Eraserhead (1977), through the third season of Twin Peaks in 2017. Symbols of the West in Lynch's work can be as obvious as an Odessa, Texas street sign or as subtle as the visual themes rooted in indigenous artistry. Explorations of cowboy masculinity, violence, modern frontier narratives and representations of indigeneity are all included in this collection.

Signals: How Video Transformed the World

Having become widely accessible as a consumer technology in the 1960s, video is ever-present today-on our phones and our screens, defining new spaces and experiences, shaping our ideas and politics, and spreading disinformation, documentation, evidence, fervor. Signals: The Politics of Video charts the ways in which artists have both championed and questioned the promise of video, revealing a history that has been planetary, critical, and activist from its very beginnings. The Museum of Modern Art has been at the forefront of bringing video into museums-pioneering the collection, conservation, and definition of a new artistic medium. Signals aims to renew and revise our understanding of art and video, both within and outside the museum.

So What, or How to Make Films with Words

A series of philosophical meditations on the nature of aesthetics across a wide array of filmmaking styles. Images, whether filmic or not, cannot be replaced by words. Yet words can make images. This is the general thesis underlying So What, a collection of essays on canonical filmmakers like Luchino Visconti and Orson Welles; more experimental directors, such as Marguerite Duras and Albert Serra; and visual artists, including Hollis Frampton and Agnes Martin.

Italian Film in the Present Tense

For observers of the European film scene, Federico Fellini's death in 1993 came to stand for the demise of Italian cinema as a whole. Exploring an eclectic sampling of works from the new millennium, Italian Film in the Present Tense confronts this narrative of decline with strong evidence to the contrary. Millicent Marcus highlights Italian cinema's new sources of industrial strength, its re-placement of the Rome-centred studio system with regional film commissions, its contemporary breakthroughs on the aesthetic front, and its vital engagement with the changing economic and socio-political circumstances in twenty-first-century Italian life.

Visions of Invasion

Visions of Invasion: Alien Affects, Cinema, and Citizenship in Settler Colonies explores how the US government mobilizes media and surveillance technologies to operate a highly networked, multidimensional system for controlling migrants. Author Michael Lechuga focuses on three arenas where a citizenship control assemblage manufactures alienhood: Hollywood extraterrestrial invasion film, federal antimigration and border security legislation, and various immigration enforcement protocols implemented along the Mexico-United States border.

The Eye of the Cinematograph: Lévinas and Realisms of the Body

The Eye of the Cinematograph investigates the ethical and aesthetic implications of the automatic formation of the body’s image by the camera. Drawing on Emmanuel Levinas’ thought, Manafi asks what happens when the other makes their body available to the gaze of the camera to be automatically recorded, and this giving of the body is preserved within the image, juxtaposed with other images to allude to a story that might otherwise remain untold.

Lesbians on Television

A look at the emergence of queer women characters in popular storytelling and the wide-ranging effects of this mainstream representation. The twenty-first century has seen LGBTQ+ rights emerge at the forefront of public discourse and national politics in ways that would once have been hard to imagine. In Lesbians on Television, Kate McNicholas Smith maps concurrent contemporary shifts in lesbian visibility within popular media, focusing on the small screens of Europe and North America.

The Routledge Companion to Caste and Cinema in India

This companion is the first study of caste and its representation in Indian cinema. It unravels the multiple layers of caste that feature directly and indirectly in Indian movies, to examine not only the many ways caste pervades Indian society and culture but also how the struggle against it adopts multiple strategies.

The History and Politics of Star Wars

This book provides the first detailed and comprehensive examination of all the materials making up the Star Wars franchise relating to the portrayal and representation of real-world history and politics. Drawing on a variety of sources, including films, published interviews with directors and actors, novels, comics, and computer games, this volume explores the ways in which historical and contemporary events have been repurposed within Star Wars. It focuses on key themes such as fascism and the Galactic Empire, the failures of democracy, the portrayal of warfare, the morality of the Jedi, and the representations of sex, gender, and race.

Queer TV China

An examination of the rise and influence of the internationally popular "queer TV China" genre. Since the 2010s, Chinese television has seen an explosion in popularity in dramas featuring same-sex intimacies, LGBTQIA-identified celebrities, and explicitly homoerotic storylines, even as state regulations on "vulgar" and "immoral" content grow more prominent. This emerging "queer TV China" culture has generated sizable transcultural queer fan communities both online and offline.

The Endless End of Cinema

Film is dead! Three little words that have been heard around the world many times over the life of the cinema. Yet, some 120 years on, the old dog's ability to come up with new tricks and live another day remains as surprising and effective as ever. This book is an exploration of film's ability to escape its own 'The End' title card. It charts the history of cinema's development through a series of crises that could, should, ought to have 'ended' it.


The fifth edition of this popular textbook considers diversity in the mass media in three main settings: Audiences, Content, and Production. The book brings together 55 readings - the majority newly commissioned for this edition - by scholars representing a variety of humanities and social science disciplines. Together, these readings provide a multifaceted and intersectional look at how race, gender, and class relate to the creation and use of media texts, as well as the media texts themselves.

Fear before the fall : horror films in the late Soviet Union

Alienation, generational tensions, rampant nationalism and the pervasiveness of atomic danger are all topics that haunted late Soviet citizens, and those fears are reflected in the films meant to represent their horror genre.


Fresh insights into Yasujiro Ozu's films. Based on a close reading of Japanese director Yasujiro Ozu's extant films, this book provides insights into the ways the director created narrative structures and used symbolism to construct meaning in his films.

Queer Screams

The horror genre mirrors the American queer experience, both positively and negatively, overtly and subtextually, from the lumbering, flower-picking monster of Frankenstein (1931) to the fearless intersectional protagonist of the Fear Street Trilogy (2021). This is a historical look at the queer experiences of the horror genre's characters, performers, authors and filmmakers.

Return of the Monstrous-Feminine

This follow-up to the classic text of The Monstrous-Feminine analyses those contemporary films which explore social justice issues such as women's equality, violence against women, queer relationships, race and the plight of the planet and its multi-species. Examining a new movement - termed by Creed as Feminist New Wave Cinema - The Return of the Monstrous-Feminine explores a significant change that has occurred over the past two decades in the representation of the monstrous-feminine in visual discourse.

Women in Media

This title provides a broad overview of how women are portrayed and treated in America's news and entertainment industries, including film, television, radio, the internet, and social media. This book provides a one-stop resource for understanding the participation and representation of women in the U.S. media in such areas as narrative film, scripted television programming, advertising, video games, news, and sports.

Space and Time in African Cinema and Cine-Scapes

This book is the first of its kind to bring basic notions of contemporary physics to bear on African cine-scapes. In this book, renowned African cinema scholar Kenneth W. Harrow presents unique new ways to think about space and time in film, with a specific focus on African and African diasporic cinema.

Thinking Revolution Through Film

This book aims to redefine the relationship between film and revolution. Starting with Hannah Arendt's thoughts on the American and French Revolution, it argues that, from a theoretical perspective, revolutions can be understood as describing a relationship between time and movement and that ultimately the spectators and not the actors in a revolution decide its outcome. Focusing on the concepts of 'time,' 'movement,' and 'spectators,' this study develops an understanding of film not as a medium of agitation but as a way of thinking that relates to the idea of historicity that opened up with the American and French Revolution.

Cinematic Modernism and Contemporary Film

Cinema was the most important new artistic medium of the twentieth century and modernism was the most important new aesthetic movement across the arts in the twentieth century. However, what exactly is the relationship between cinema and modernism? Cinematic Modernism and Contemporary Film explores how in the early twentieth century cinema came to be seen as one of the new technologies which epitomised modernity and how cinema itself reflected ideas, hopes and fears concerning modern life.

Feminist Worldmaking and the Moving Image

This book offers intersectional, intergenerational, and international perspectives on nonfiction film- and videomaking by and about women, examining practices that range from activist documentaries to avant-garde experiments. Concentrating primarily on the period between the 1970s and 1990s, the contributions revisit major figures, contexts, and debates across a polycentric, global geography.

A Companion to Indian Cinema

In A Companion to Indian Cinema, film scholars Neepa Majumdar and Ranjani Mazumdar along with 25 established and emerging scholars, deliver new research on contemporary and historical questions on Indian cinema. The collection considers Indian cinema's widespread presence both within and outside the country, and pays particular attention to regional cinemas such as Bhojpuri, Bengali, Malayalam, Manipuri, and Marathi.

The Oxford Handbook of Film Theory

Despite changes in the media landscape, film remains a vital force in contemporary culture, as do our ideas of what "a movie" or "the cinematic" are. Indeed, we might say that the category of film now only exists in theory. Whereas film-theoretical discussion at the turn of the 21st century was preoccupied by digital technology's permeation of virtually all aspects of the film object, this volume moves the conversation away from a focus on film's materiality towards questions concerning the ethics, politics, and aesthetics of thinking about the medium of cinema.

At the Edges of Sleep

Many recent works of contemporary art, performance, and film turn a spotlight on sleep, wresting it from the hidden, private spaces to which it is commonly relegated. At the Edges of Sleep considers sleep in film and moving image art as both a subject matter to explore onscreen and a state to induce in the audience. Far from negating action or meaning, sleep extends into new territories as it designates ways of existing in the world, in relation to people, places, and the past.

The Aesthetics and Politics of Cinematic Pedestrianism

The Aesthetics and Politics of Cinematic Pedestrianism: Walking in Films offers a rich exploration of the cinematic aesthetics that filmmakers devised to reflect the corporeal and affective experience of walking in the city. Drawing from literature in urban studies, film theory, and aesthetic philosophy, it is the first monograph to approach the history of cinema from the perspective of walking.

Gender and Action Films 2000 and Beyond

Lying at the heart of the modern Action Cinema Canon is the concept of transformation. As the action genre evolves and shifts into the new millennia, innovative additions blend with nostalgic returns - the move away from a male-dominated space to feature even more prominent female roles co-exists alongside a revival of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton, and series such as Rocky and Rambo return to the screens.

Gender and Action Films

The noughties witnessed rapid change in Action Cinema, carrying with it the new action stars of the previous decade, and the boundary blurring experimentation of films such as The Matrix,that incorporated not only action but science fiction. The now dominant Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) debuted, and the Young Adult fictional worlds of Harry Potter and The Hunger Games further developed the scope of the action sequences. Despite this context, the action genre had still not engaged fully with contemporary social issues.

On Black Media Philosophy

Building on concepts from Black studies and cultural studies, Towns develops an insightful critique of this dominant conception of the human in media philosophy and introduces a foundation for Black media philosophy.

Rancière and Film

Rancière and Film

This is the first collection of critical essays on the film work of the philosopher Jacques Rancière.

Japanese Role-Playing Games

Examines the origins, boundaries, and transnational effects of the genre, addressing significant formal elements as well as narrative themes, character construction, and player involvement.

Resonant Bodies in Contemporary European Art Cinema

Resonant Bodies in Contemporary European Art Cinema

What does it mean to exist, in our experience of cinema, according to listening? How do sound and 'noise' reconfigure relations between spectators and screens, and by extension, spectators and their worlds?

Women, Feminism and Italian Cinema

Women, Feminism and Italian Cinema

This book explores the multiple intersections between feminism and Italian cinema from the perspective of women's everyday relationship with the medium.


Soundies and the Changing Image of Black Americans on Screen

In the 1940s, folks at bars and restaurants would gather around a Panoram movie machine to watch three-minute films called Soundies, precursors to today's music videos. Susan Delson takes a deeper look at these fascinating films by focusing on the role of Black performers in this little-known genre.

Subject Collections

The Film Studies books are located in the UCL Main Library and cover the philosophy of film, film in society, the industry and its economics, technical aspects, film genres, and film history.

Books on Media Studies can be found in the IOE Library and the Anthropology collection in the Science Library. Subject include media analysis, gaming, fan culture, film- and documentary-making, and researching media.

The Library also provides access to a huge range of online resources such as e-books and e-journals, newspaper archives, films and documentaries for streaming, and more.

Use Explore, the library's online catalogue, to search the collections.

Key resources include: 

Where to study?

You can choose to study in any of UCL's Libraries and study spaces, including bookable study and group work spaces. There are also areas for postgraduate use only.