An Introduction to British Cinema

Course Dates: 02/03/22 - 30/03/22
Time: 19:45 - 21:30
Location: Online
Defining itself around themes such as British identity and class, and against the global appeal of Hollywood, British cinema nonetheless continues to find critical and popular acclaim both domestically and internationally. Explore British cinema through concepts including national cinema, realism, documentary, art cinema, popular cinema, 'heritage' film, and critical accounts of British cinema.
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
Book your place
In stock
Full fee £89.00 Senior fee £89.00 Concession £54.00

Course Code: HF205

Wed, eve, 02 Mar - 30 Mar '22

Duration: 5 sessions (over 5 weeks)

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 online film studies course looks at British cinema as a national cinema, one that and differentiates itself from Hollywood product by focusing on specifically British themes and offering a 'British' cinema for British audiences, while also exploiting its 'export' potential in international markets.

The course will also take in British film history and key areas of development, including the 'documentary tradition' of the 1930 and 1940s (and beyond), the 'golden age' of British cinema in the 1940s (including the 'quality cinema' movement of the 1940s), the new wave of the 1960s, the rise of the 'heritage film' in the 1980s, and contemporary British cinema. It will also consider a range of critical accounts of British cinema. We will be looking at a range of films and from across British film history. A full list of films featured will be provided at the start of the course. The tutor will provide notes for each session and no prior reading is required but you may wish to consider: The British Cinema Book (3rd Edition) edited by Robert Murphy.

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?

• National cinema ('British' cinema)
• Realism - as a major aesthetic choice in British cinema
• Documentary film - and 'documentary realism' in the British fiction film
• Popular cinema - genre films
• Art cinema - including the concepts of authorship and realism
• 'Heritage' film and the 'prestige' literary adaptation,
• British film history (including developments in production and exhibition),
• Critical accounts of British cinema.

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

• Assess British cinema as a 'national' cinema
• Identify the major concepts associated with the study of British cinema (e.g., realism)
• Evaluate key phases and developments in British film history (e.g., the 'heritage' film)
• Evaluate a range of British films (including popular cinema, art cinema and documentary)
• Evaluate a range of critical accounts of British cinema.

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

The course is suitable for all levels and you do not require any particular skills - just an enthusiasm for film and discussing film. The course will provide an introduction to the subject but will also be useful for those wishing to build on existing knowledge in the subject area.

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

Screenings of extracts from films, talks by the tutor, reading materials, small and large group discussions. It might also be a good idea to see what you can find out about the subject in advance of the class (see the reading and films mentioned above) but this is not essential.

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

You will require a pen and paper (or laptop/device) but the tutor will provide all other materials such as handouts. The tutor will show extracts from films and you do not have to obtain them.

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

Look for other film studies courses on our website at, Culture & Writing/Film Studies. You might wish to look for film courses that look at other national cinemas.

Jon Wisbey

Jon Wisbey teaches film at City Lit and Morley College. He was for many years a committee member and vice-chair of Chelmsford Film Club, screening contemporary and classic world cinema releases. He has an MA in Film Studies from the University of East Anglia. His teaching focuses on classical and post-classical Hollywood, European cinema, British cinema, film noir and horror cinema.

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.