Christmas at the cinema: holiday favourites

Course Dates: 11/12/21
Time: 10:30 - 13:00
Location: Online
A Christmas cracker stuffed with seasonal films, from It’s a Wonderful Life to The Apartment to Die Hard, is a carefully-curated cornucopia celebrating the genre of the Christmas movie with clips of classics and hidden gems: Scrooge as a film noir, the old Covent Garden - open Every Day Except Christmas; and a grown man dressed as an Elf. Full of delights, discussions and a quiz or two.
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
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Full fee £19.00 Senior fee £15.00 Concession £12.00

Course Code: HF222

Sat, day, 11 Dec - 11 Dec '21

Duration: 1 session

Or call to enrol:020 7831 7831

Please note: We offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. Just visit our online Help Center for more information on a range of topics including fees, online learning and FAQs.

What is the course about?

This is a special seasonal film course with a selection of cinematic Christmas treats, from much-loved classics to hidden gems. It’s a film class, so we will try to reveal and analyse some film-making techniques and storytelling secrets in this most perennial of all genres. The Christmas movie is one we can watch every Christmas but probably not during the rest of the year. It’s mostly season-specific, whether family fare or a deliciously dark winter's tale, but a great Christmas movie does more than simply set its story in the festive season, it captures something magical - the Christmas spirit.

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.
- Earphones/headphones/speakers.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.

What will we cover?

What makes a Christmas film and is it a genre all its own? Wholesome, not violent. Family viewing for every generation, inoffensive. But then there’s Die Hard or Bad Santa. Did our favourites start out as proper films but only later become seasonal favourites? Many Christmas films seem quite mundane and get away with things you wouldn’t watch normally. Are there Christmas films to avoid?

We need someone with the caustic, cynical wit of Billy Wilder to direct a Christmas movie. Oh, he did. It’s called The Apartment. That poor lonely guy in the bar on Christmas eve, it could be you or me. What makes a great Christmas film? We will consider all of the above in our journey through Christmas movie magic.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

-Understand the genre of Christmas films
-Distinguish and explain what makes a good Christmas film
-Discover some hidden gems you may never have seen
-Experience certain films as Christmas fare that are not usually considered part of the genre.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

All levels. For those who enjoy viewing films, discussing them and sharing ideas, and listening to the views of others.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

There will be a short introductory talk followed by a viewing of a variety of Christmas film clips for discussion and analysis.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

No other costs. The tutor will provide links to the online film clips for further viewing.

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

See our range of Film Studies courses starting in January 2022 by going onto and looking under History, Culture and Writing/Film Studies.

John Wischmeyer

John Wischmeyer (MA in Film Theory) set up, ran and programmed his own cinema in West London and has since taught film studies at the former Gainsborough studio, the BFI and City Lit since 1999, Hitchcock’s centenary year. John has covered a wide range film topics under the banner ‘Cinema Investigates America’ and has a particular interest in and considerable knowledge of Hitchcock, Hollywood studios, American independent cinema and film noir, film technique and style.

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.