An introduction to film

Course Dates: 03/05/24 - 07/06/24
Time: 18:00 - 19:30
Location: Online
Develop your critical understanding of cinema through a range of concepts and critical approaches in film studies, including narrative, genre, spectatorship, authorship and directors, popular cinema, art cinema, national cinema and early film, along with technological developments including the transition to sound, while we view and discuss a range of key films from cinema's history as examples.
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
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An introduction to film
  • Course Code: HF203
  • Dates: 03/05/24 - 07/06/24
  • Time: 18:00 - 19:30
  • Taught: Fri, Evening
  • Duration: 6 sessions (over 6 weeks)
  • Location: Online
  • Tutor: Jon Wisbey

Course Code: HF203

Fri, eve, 03 May - 07 Jun '24

Duration: 6 sessions (over 6 weeks)

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 key concepts and critical approaches in the study of film (see below). We will be viewing and discussing a range of films and filmmakers, from Hollywood, European and World cinemas, and a range of film styles, such as the classical style and art cinema, in order to illustrate these concepts and approaches, while also situating these within a historical context in order that we can understand the development of cinema from its earliest days to the present moment.

Prior viewing and reading is not required. We will be watching extracts from a wide range of films. The tutor will provide a course programme at its outset, detailing subjects and films for each week, along with notes for each session and suggested further viewing and reading.

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?

• Narrative and narration - storytelling in the fiction film (including classical and art cinema - see below)
• Genre - film types, e.g., melodrama
• Spectatorship - cinema, gender and audiences
• Authorship - the creative presence of the filmmaker/director
• Popular cinema - e.g., classical film style and cinema/genre cinema
• Art cinema - art film style, authorship and realism
• National cinema - e.g., British cinema
• Technological developments - e.g., the transition to sound, colour and widescreen processes
• Film history - e.g., early film, the classical/post-classical eras
• Institutional factors - e.g., the Hollywood studio system
• Key films an filmmakers.

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

• Describe and evaluate different narrative and narrational strategies
• Identify different genres and their operations at different historical moments
• Describe and evaluate theories of spectatorship and the 'role' of the audience
• Describe and evaluate theories of authorship
• Describe the key elements of both popular and art cinema
• Describe and evaluate national cinema
• Identify and describe key technological developments
• Evaluate key moments in film history
• Identify and evaluate the part played by cinematic institutions
• Identify and evaluate key films and filmmakers.

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, 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 at, culture & writing/film studies.

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.