A Psychoanalytic investigation of the Joker
Time: 10:30 - 13:00
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
Course Code: HF246
Duration: 2 sessions (over 2 weeks)
What is the course about?
This online film studies course is dedicated to DC Universe’s notorious crime boss The Joker: a killer clown with a maniacal laugh hellbent on undermining Batman’s influence and unleashing chaos in Gotham City. Another version of the Ace of Knaves, popular in mid-20th Century comic books, portrays a relatively harmless camp prankster and thief. The Joker thrives on his mutable identities and uncertain origin story; he enjoys tricking self-proclaimed ‘decent people’ into doing very bad things, sadistically corrupting their perception of virtue and eroding the boundaries between good and evil.
What sets The Joker apart is that he displays virtually no instinct for self-preservation, and doesn’t really stand for anything — in this way he is a fascinating psychoanalytic subject because he embodies the irrational. In the current “culture wars” it is fashionable to cancel The Joker because he lacks a moral centre, but in doing so we miss the broader philosophical significance of his character. The Joker does not seek to resolve the problem of a narrative — the proposition is that his nihilistic outlook, far from serving a toxic function, reveals The Joker as a valuable aesthetic force to be reckoned with.
Mary Wild is a film lecturer with an academic background in psychoanalytic theory. Her research interests include cinematic representation of identity, the unconscious, mental illness and auteur studies. In addition to teaching at City Lit, she is a regular speaker at Freud Museum London. Mary also co-hosts Projections Podcast (a dialogue on film and psychoanalysis).
This is a live online course. You will need:
- Internet connection. The classes work best with Chrome.
- A computer with microphone and camera is best (e.g. a PC/laptop/iMac/MacBook), or a tablet/iPad/smart phone/iPhone if you don't have a computer.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.
What will we cover?
Cesar Romero – Batman: The Movie (1966) dir. Leslie H. Martinson
Mark Hamill – Batman: The Animated Series (1990s TV)
Cameron Monaghan – Gotham (2010s TV)
John DiMaggio – Batman: Under the Red Hood (2010) dir. Brandon Vietti
Jack Nicholson – Batman (1990) dir. Tim Burton
Heath Ledger – The Dark Knight (2008) dir. Christopher Nolan
Jared Leto – Suicide Squad (2016) dir. David Ayer
Joaquin Phoenix – Joker (2019) dir. Todd Phillips
Please note: Some people may find the content disturbing to view.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
-Understand the relationship between psychoanalysis and cinema
-Learn film interpretation techniques to approach cinema in a deep and investigative way
-Discover the work of film directors that represent Freudian themes and motifs.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
This course is open to all levels; there are no pre-requisites to register. An interest in film is desirable.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
Psychoanalytic terms will be taught in an inclusive, accessible and engaging way with the help of bespoke There will be a lecture with accompanying power point slides and video montages. Group discussion will be encouraged; there will be no assignments outside of class.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
There are no additional costs. Please bring material for taking notes.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
Look for other film studies courses on our website at www.citylit.ac.uk/history, culture and writing/film studies.
Mary Wild is a film lecturer with an academic background in psychoanalytic theory. Her research interests include cinematic representation of identity, the unconscious, mental illness and auteur studies (e.g., Andrei Tarkovsky, Lars von Trier, and Fritz Lang). In addition to teaching at City Lit, Mary is a regular speaker at the Freud Museum and Hackney Picturehouse.
Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.