What is the course about?
Exploring and decoding the dreamworlds of Hitchcock and Nolan
Experimentation in cinema: studio execs are risk averse so experimentation isn’t as common in films meant for broad audiences (noting that Nolan has made his share of films that fit the studio system (rebooting a superhero franchise with Batman Begins)
The use of and impact of particular techniques and approaches by these two directors
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.
What will we cover?
Genre: Themes of crime, conspiracy, mystery and dark materials run rampant throughout all of the films from the two directors. Hitchcock made mystery thrillers almost exclusively, and Nolan has certainly not strayed very far from the dark, noir-thriller-mystery genre.
Experimentation and method: Both are extremely detailed directors. Hitchcock felt the writing, story-boarding and editing were the actual creative film making (rather than the shooting of the film). Nolan has expressed a similar standpoint: with The Dark Knight he said he found the actual shooting to be somewhat tedious, preferring to cut from one scene to another so quickly that dialogue is cut off in order to hurry the film along.
Memory: Nolan’s clear interest is memory: how it works and how it gets corrupted. Many of his films (e.g. Memento and Inception) deal with memory. Hitchcock’s masterpiece of memory is Vertigo (for which he was chided) but faulty memory plays its part in The Wrong Man, Sabotage, The Lady Vanishes, The 39 Steps and Spellbound.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
Describe the characteristics of the genres associated with Hitchcock and Nolan
List any direct, one to one comparisons between their films
Recognise forms of experimentation and the particular approaches used by these directors.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
No prior knowledge necessary.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
Lecture, screenings, and discussion along with weekly handouts for further reading/research.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
Enthusiasm, an openness to learn, a notebook.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
There are a range of film courses on offer in the Humanities Department. Please see our website at www.citylit.ac.uk under History, Culture and Writing.
General information and advice on courses at City Lit is available from the Student Centre and Library on Monday to Friday from 12:00 – 19:00.
See the course guide for term dates and further details