Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2023-2024


Department: Modern Languages and Cultures (Russian)


Type Open Level 2 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2023/24 Module Cap 30 Location Durham


  • Russian Language 1A (RUSS1161) OR Russian Language 1B (RUSS1042).


  • Either Russian Language 2B (RUSS2012) OR Russian Language 2A (RUSS2191).

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To impart an understanding of the main industrial, cultural and aesthetic trends in the development of Russian and Soviet cinema.
  • To examine the social, political and ideological contexts in which Russian and Soviet cinema was produced.
  • To impart an understanding of the mechanics of representation in film, and to develop an appreciation of various cinematic genres and modes.


  • This module focuses on the development of Russian and Soviet cinema from its inception to the present day, covering the main trends and bringing in the key directors and films of the period.
  • The module pays equal attention to the intrinsically aesthetic features of Russian and Soviet cinema and to the unique social positioning of the cinematic medium in Russian and, especially, Soviet society.
  • Students on this module will master discipline-specific knowledge, pertinent in particular to Russian and Soviet cinema studies, while at the same time gaining major historical insights into the complex interplay between ‘the most important of all arts’ and official ideology in Russia and the Soviet Union.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • By the end of this module, students will have a thorough knowledge of the main trends in the development of Russian cinema, an understanding of the changing relationship between cinema and its social and political context, and a knowledge of the key directors and films of the period. They will also have the ability to assess the relative significance of, on one hand, the social role of the cinema, and, on the other, its aesthetic and technical specificity.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Students will acquire the ability to evaluate film texts in the original Russian, and to identify, evaluate, and, to some extent, critique relevant critical sources. Students will also acquire an appreciation of the specifics of working with visual as well as textual source material.
Key Skills:
  • Students will begin to develop the ability to work independently within a prescribed framework, and to respond critically to a range of primary and secondary sources. On completion of the course, students will be able to present a cogent and structured argument in both oral and written form; in the former case, this may involve, where appropriate, a team-working approach to oral presentation in the context of a seminar.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • The lectures deliver key information and concepts, acting as exegesis for the weekly set readings and allowing for discussion and clarification as necessary.
  • The seminars are devoted to class discussion, and/or presentation of results of independent study by students working individually or in pairs. It provides for development of analytical and interpretative skills.
  • Use is made of Duo for students to further consolidate their learning independently.
  • Summative assessment is in the form of a film-analysis (to enhance students visual-analytical skills), an annotated bibliography (to encourage independent research) and of a final essay (to synthesize all learning outcomes).

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lecture/Seminar 20 Weekly 1 hour 20
Seminars 10 Fortnightly 1 hour 10
Student preparation and reading time 170
Total SLAT hours 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Film Analysis Component Weighting: 20%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Film Analysis 1,000 words 100% No
Component: Annotated Bibliography Component Weighting: 30%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Annotated Bibliography 1,500 words 100% No
Component: Summative Essay Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Summative Essay 2,000 words 100% No

Formative Assessment:

Formative assessment takes the form of a presentation building on independent study by students. It should take place in T1.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University