Fearful worlds: the cinema of dystopia

Course Dates: 28/10/20 - 02/12/20
Time: 19:45 - 21:30
Location: Online

From the contemporary and familiar to the otherness of future worlds the dystopian film explores political, social and technological anxieties and conflict through the lens of fantasy and science fiction cinema and their many sub-genres. We will look at the history and development of the dystopian film, its treatment of a range of themes and the extent to which it might reflect our own fears.

This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.


What is the course about?

Dystopian cinema as a genre, its key features and function as a genre, its themes and its engagement with political, social and technological issues.

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?

• The history and development of the dystopian film.
• Genre: fantasy, science fiction, horror and related sub-genres, including apocalypse films, films dealing with the revolt of nature and the revolt of the machine, conspiracy films and disaster films.
• Themes in dystopian cinema.
• The representation of fantasy and reality in dystopian cinema (the look and production design of dystopian cinema).
• The dystopian film as popular cinema and cult cinema.
• Critical accounts of, and responses to, dystopian cinema.

Some of the films featured on the course (a programme outlining the course week by week and including all films will be made available to students prior to the commencement of the course):
Metropolis (1927), Things to Come (1936), Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956 and 1978 versions), La Jetée (1962), It Happened Here (1964), Alphaville (1965), Fahrenheit 451 (1966), The War Game (1966), Weekend (1967), A Clockwork Orange (1971), Dawn of the Dead (1978 and 2004 versions), Blade Runner (1982), The Terminator (1984), Brazil (1985), Crash (1996), Children of Men (2006), The Road (2009), High Rise (2015).

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

• Describe the history and development of the dystopian film.
• Describe and evaluate the function of genre in the dystopian film.
• Identify a range of themes in dystopian cinema.
• Evaluate production design in the dystopian film (or look the look of the dystopian film).
• Evaluate the dystopian film as both popular cinema and cult cinema.
• Assess the dystopian film within a critical framework.

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

The course is suitable for all levels. It will provide an introduction to the subject but will also be useful for those wishing to build on existing knowledge.

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, group discussion. Suggested viewing and reading materials for the course will be available on Google Classroom prior to the commencement of the course.

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

As above, reading materials and details of suggested viewing will be provided prior to the commencement of the course, but other than this you will require only a pen and notepad (or laptop/device) but all other materials will be provided by the tutor.

Tutor Biographies
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.

Sorry, this course is now full

Course Code: HF213

Full Wed, eve, 28 Oct - 02 Dec '20

Duration: 6 sessions (over 6 weeks)

Full fee: £99.00
Senior fee: £99.00
Concession: £60.00

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.