Accessibility Skip to Global Navigation Skip to Local Navigation Skip to Content Skip to Search Skip to Site Map Menu

MFCO210 Theory of Film and Media

Key theories that inform film and media studies and the discourses that have defined the disciplines.

This paper provides a historical survey of theoretical approaches to the moving image from early cinema to the rise of the feature film and the post-WWII introduction of television.

The paper will focus primarily on analyses of the viewing experience in its historical and socio-cultural contexts, including the industrial revolution, mass culture and modernism/postmodernism.

Paper title Theory of Film and Media
Paper code MFCO210
Subject Media, Film and Communication
EFTS 0.15
Points 18 points
Teaching period Semester 2 (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $955.05
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

^ Top of page

18 100-level MFCO points
Schedule C
Arts and Music
A familiarity with film and media history and a working understanding of the language of film and media analysis.
Teaching staff

Convenor and Lecturer: Dr Sabrina Moro

Paper Structure

Topics include:

  • Theorising early cinema
  • Psychology and psychoanalysis of film experience
  • Cinema and mass culture
  • Formalism vs realism
  • Spectatorship
  • Ideology


  • Concept test: 30%
  • Critical essay: 40%
  • Final exam: 30%

Course readings will be available on Blackboard.

Course outline

View a sample course outline for MFCO 210

Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Communication, critical thinking, cultural understanding.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes
Students who successfully complete this paper will:
  • Demonstrate understanding of major approaches to film and media theory
  • Show knowledge of the historical development of film and media theory
  • Be able to apply theoretical approaches to the critical analysis of film and media texts

^ Top of page


Semester 2

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Monday 10:00-10:50 28-34, 36-41
Wednesday 12:00-12:50 28-34, 36-41


Stream Days Times Weeks
Attend one stream from
A1 Thursday 10:00-10:50 28-34, 36-41
A2 Thursday 11:00-11:50 28-34, 36-41
A3 Monday 13:00-13:50 28-34, 36-41