Films and TV series of the 1990s
Time: 12:30 - 14:30
Location: Keeley Street
Course Code: HF337
Available start dates
Duration: 12 sessions (over 13 weeks)
What is the course about?
Wes Anderson made his directorial debut with Bottle Rocket in 1996 and was seemingly influenced by the new look of 80’s French cinema. The path for low- budget comedies had been cleared by Kevin Smith’s Clerks in 1994, filmed in 21 days on a budget of $27,000 in the Quick Sop convenience store where he worked. In the same year Tim Burton’s tender tribute to Bela Lugosi in Ed Wood (1994) harnessed the macabre style of German Expressionism.
Television comedy hit a new golden age when Roseanne (1988-1997) was followed by Larry Sanders (1992-98) and Seinfeld (1989-98)—which was about nothing. David Lynch revealed small-town America in Twin Peaks (1990-91). The decade had been building up to its two top series that both began in 1999: The West Wing brought us a world leader we could all believe in, while The Sopranos changed the face and pace of narrative TV.
What will we cover?
Was it a new type of comedy or a return to the screwball comedies. Was Wes Anderson influenced by the stylish French ‘cinema du look’?
The Silence of the Lambs and Pulp Fiction were landmarks in modern film, shot through with arch comedy, while changing the rules of the narrative game. At the end of a decade in which Indies were taking over, Hollywood breathed a sigh of relief when the epic Titanic hit Oscar gold.
Did the ‘90s shape the way we live now? The 2020s: identity politics, crypto currency, cancel culture, climate emergency, levelling up, China rising, war. How did we get here? The 1990s: Clinton, Cool Britannia, Blair, girl power, football, no frills, war. You missed something. We all missed something. What really happened in the ‘90s?
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
- Describe how cinema developed technically, culturally in the 1990s
- Distinguish the key films and genres across the decade
- Describe the weekly patterns of the key television series.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
This is a course for those interested in cinema and television or streaming. No previous experience or study is necessary but those who have done so previously will find it well-informed and genuinely educational.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
Opening lecture illustrated by film clips followed by group discussions and screenings. No outside work necessary (but going out to the cinema will benefit you, the class and the film industry).
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
There are no other costs. Tutor will show extracts of films or supply links to online viewing. Please bring pad or device for note taking.
Recommended (but not required) reading:
1001 TV Series edited by Paul Condon, 2015, Cassell.
Movies of the 90s by Jurgen Muller, 2010, Taschen.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
Look for other courses in Film Studies under www.citylit.ac.uk/history, culture and writing/film studies.
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.
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.