What is the course about?
In this course we will be exploring the careers of a selection of women film directors whose work has made an impact on the history and appreciation of filmmaking. The format of each week will look in detail at one film director, and end with a sampling of two other women whose careers are linked thematically, stylistically or chronologically.
During each 90 minute session we will look at a variety of film clips from the lead director and break them down to their component parts (Film Form) and discuss the ways in which the director has used these to create hidden depth and feeling and a uniformed body of work. Key areas to be examined are mise en scène, cinematography, editing and music. The sessions will provide biographical information on the directors, their place within the wider historical and cultural landscape of film, and how these may inform recurrent narrative themes and characters. This will be followed by an overview and example from two other directors.
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?
Throughout the course you will be introduced to new ways of looking and thinking about film, including and understanding of Film Form (cinematography, editing, music, mise-en-scene etc) and how a director uses these to create a unique body of work. The careers of at least 18 women film directors will be covered: Lois Weber, Alice Guy-Blaché, Nell Shipman, Ida Lupino, Dorothy Arzner, Dorothy Davenport, Agnes Varda, Vera Chytilová, Shirley Clarke, Jane Campion, Deborah Heywood, Greta Gerwig, Mira Nair, Nadine Labaki, Deniz Gamze Ergüven, Sally Potter, Clio Barnard and Carol Morley.
The directors featured worked across different time periods from the birth of the cinema in 1895 to recent Oscar nominated movies, from the Golden Age of Hollywood, to those challenging conventional filmmaking techniques, from those striving to capture the reality of lives around the world, to those putting front and centre provocative and though-provoking depictions of women.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
- evaluate stylistic choices available to filmmakers in the construction of mise-en-scène
- conduct a basic formal and thematic analysis of an individual film
- understand and accurately articulate specialist terms used in the language of film
- demonstrate skills in close textual analysis
- gain insights into different film movements and styles
- appreciate basic concepts of the impact historical and production contexts have on a film
- discuss key gender film theories including representation and objectification
- gain insights into the way in which women directors have been discussed as part of the wider film landscape.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
For those who enjoy viewing and discussing films and are interested in sharing ideas and listening to the views of others.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
The format of the course will be through a PowerPoint Illustrated Talk with film clips; there will be opportunities for discussion and questions around each example.
Watching films directed by the women under discussion would be useful but not essential.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
No costs. The tutor will provide links to online reading and viewing, as well as additional reading and viewing materials.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
Look for other film studies courses at www.citylit.ac.uk/history, culture & writing/film studies.