Film studies

Film Studies Courses
Study online & in London

Enjoy a fresh look at big screen classics, ground-breaking titles and cult favourites featuring a cast of iconic names, former stars and the men and women who called the shots.

Check out our blog post on our new Cultureplex Ciné-Club, where once a week, for 12 weeks (and throughout the academic year in terms 2 and 3), we will watch and discuss film.

Courses available both in-person and online

We offer a range of courses allowing you to choose between online and in-person learning. All our courses are live, interactive, and taught by expert tutors. No matter how you prefer to learn, you’ll receive the same great City Lit experience. See our guide to online learning for more information about accessing our live online courses.

Study in-person, or online from the comfort of home, with classes that allow you to participate in discussions with fellow adult students and share your passion for Film as part of a learning community. We offer daytime, evening and weekend courses, both short and long. Our tutors are experts in their fields and experienced educators. Tutors share their knowledge and passion for Film through presentations, screenings, interactive discussion, analysis, and other activities.

Many students return to take more courses, telling us they enjoy being part of our City Lit literary community. Our popular courses often sell out quickly, so we invite you to browse and book your place now.

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  1. The Legacy of Lord Reith: The BBC and Public Service Broadcasting
    ONLINE, Weekend
    Course start date:  Sat 1 Oct 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Paul Rixon
    This two-week course explores John Reith’s role in helping to set up the British Broadcasting Company (1922) and its transformation into the British Broadcasting Corporation (1927) as well as his ideas relating to what contribution broadcasting should make to national life. We will reflect on how influential his ideas of public service have been for British Broadcasting, as well as other national systems around the world, and how important they might still be in the digital age.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £59.00 Senior fee £47.00 Concession £38.00
  2. Masters of Cinema: Paolo Sorrentino
    ONLINE, Weekend
    Course start date:  Sun 2 Oct 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Graham Rinaldi
    “Everything's important in a film, not just the shots. Even the sound man's mood or the quality of the catering.” Explore the virtuosic, melancholic cinema of Paolo Sorrentino from his early hypnotic and claustrophobic The Consequences of Love (2004) through his grandiose award winning The Great Beauty (2013) to his most personal and recent work, The Hand of God (2021).



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £59.00 Senior fee £47.00 Concession £38.00
  3. From Page to Screen: Frankenstein and the Phantom of the Opera
    ONLINE, Weekend
    Course start date:  Sat 8 Oct 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Ellen Cheshire
    They say ‘never judge a book, by its movie’. In this spooky Halloween inspired double bill we will explore two classic Gothic novels Frankenstein (1818, Mary Shelley) which could also be considered one of the first science-fiction novels and The Phantom of the Opera (1910, Gaston Leroux). We will have a look at how these two novels have been translated from page to screen by various filmmakers from the past 100 years or so of filmmaking.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £59.00 Senior fee £47.00 Concession £38.00
  4. Aliens, melodrama and the family: Hollywood in the 1950s
    ONLINE, Weekend
    Course start date:  Sun 9 Oct 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Jon Wisbey
    Explore Hollywood cinema in the 1950s, a period marked by the demise of the studio system and the growing power of independent producers. We will consider a range of issues, including the emergence of new genres in response to contemporary anxieties, and the 'upscaling' of established genres as Hollywood attempted to counter the challenge presented by television and the demands of new audiences.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £59.00 Senior fee £47.00 Concession £38.00
  5. Film, television and transformation
    Course start date:  Tue 11 Oct 2022

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Paul Sutton
    Can watching film and television change us? Drawing on both personal experience and a range of theoretical ideas, Paul Sutton will explore the potentially transformatory effects of our everyday viewing habits both at home and in the cinema. This session is part of the 2022 Mental Wealth Festival hosted by City Lit and partners.
    Full fee £5.00 Senior fee £5.00 Concession £5.00
  6. Nosferatu at 100
    Weekend
    Course start date:  Sat 15 Oct 2022

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Cristina Massaccesi
    F. W. Murnau’s Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror (1922) is acknowledged as one of the all-time greats of cinema, expressing as one critic describes it, the ‘poetry of fear’. Join us for a study day, during which we will celebrate the centenary of this enduring silent classic, while also exploring precisely why this film continues to exercise such power over spectators. As part of the day, we will screen the film accompanied by a live piano performance, allowing you to experience the film as its original audiences would have seen (and heard) it. This day of reflection and celebration will involve a series of talks by internationally renowned scholars and critics while also providing an opportunity to discuss the film in depth. One hundred years on from its original release, accompany us as we commemorate this landmark filmic ‘fantasia of evil’.
    Full fee £69.00 Senior fee £55.00 Concession £45.00
  7. A critical history of American television
    Evening, ONLINE
    Course start date:  Wed 19 Oct 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Paul Rixon
    This online course explores the development of television in America, focusing on the role of the main national commercial networks which emerged with the development of radio. The course will look at the power struggles which occurred between the networks, the sponsors (advertisers) and the Hollywood studios as each vied to take advantage of this new medium. The course will also reflect on key moments in the history of American television which have been viewed by some as golden ages.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £109.00 Senior fee £109.00 Concession £71.00
  8. City Lit at the BFI: screen horrors - screen monsters
    Evening
    Course start date:  Thu 20 Oct 2022

    Location on this date:  BFI Southbank

    Tutors:  Stacey Abbott
    From the ghostly apparitions of George Méliès’ Le Manoir du Diable (1896) to Ana Lily Amirpour’s skateboarding vampire in A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night (2014) to Jordan Peele’s uncanny encounters in Us (2019), horror on screen has been home to ghosts, vampires, zombies, aliens, and other monsters, visualising our nightmares and repressed desires. This eight-week course will accompany a season of films at the BFI devoted to the genre and will examine horror’s visceral pleasures; its capacity to thrill, transgress, and provoke; and its ability to express fear, anxiety, identity, and rage. Drawing upon examples from global horror cinema, this course will explore why screen horror is the most disreputable and compelling of genres.



    Please note this course will have a break week on Thursday 3 November due to the London Film festival.











    Please note that some of the films studied on this course contain graphic imagery. While care will be taken in the presentation of sequences from these films and in the discussions around them, please be aware that some of the material will be unsettling.



    Please note that this 8 week course will break for a week on Thursday 3rd November, but will resume the following week on Thursday 10th November. Your tutor will remind you of this at the beginning of the course.
    Full fee £189.00 Senior fee £189.00 Concession £189.00
  9. Prequels, Sequels and Remakes
    Weekend
    Course start date:  Sat 22 Oct 2022

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Paul Sutton
    This year has seen the release of Top Gun: Maverick (Joseph Kosinski 2022 US), Texas Chainsaw Massacre (David Blue Garcia 2022 US), Avatar: The Way of Water (James Cameron 2022 US), and Scream (Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett 2022 US), while next year’s list of forthcoming films includes, John Wick: Chapter 4 (Chad Stahelski 2023 US) and Indiana Jones 5 (James Mangold 2023 US). What is it that keeps these prequels, sequels and remakes coming back for more? Why does Hollywood keep making them, and why do we continue to watch them? This one-day course will try to answer some of these questions and consider those that you hadn’t perhaps even thought of asking. We will look at the lengthy history of prequels, sequels and remakes and consider them as both industrial products and cultural artefacts. We will think about the role of national cinemas in the production of prequels, sequels and remakes, in particular, and we will reflect on questions of aesthetics and visual style. We will examine a number of filmic examples in detail throughout the day in order to try to make sense of this fascinating cinematic phenomenon.
    Full fee £59.00 Senior fee £47.00 Concession £38.00
  10. Masters of Cinema: Bergman and Bresson - Existential Cinema
    Weekend
    Course start date:  Sun 30 Oct 2022

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  John Wischmeyer
    Stanley Kubrick considered Swedish director Ingmar Bergman “the greatest, most influential filmmaker of the 20th century’”. Summer With Monica (1953) was his breakthrough and a huge influence on the French New Wave. Robert Bresson is among the most highly regarded filmmakers of all time. Jean-Luc Godard wrote: “He is French cinema, as Dostoevsky is the Russian novel and Mozart is German music.” Both Bergman and Bresson explored a certain kind of existentialism in the most profoundly personal films. Bergman’s Seventh Seal (1957) is an interior journey of the soul, while Bresson’s minimalism evokes the wildest spirits in Pickpocket (1959), directly influencing Taxi Driver (1976). Unlike mainstream cinema’s dominant psychological realism, the transcendental style expresses a spiritual state through austere camerawork, acting devoid of self-consciousness, and editing that avoids editorial comment.
    Full fee £59.00 Senior fee £47.00 Concession £38.00
  11. Ways into Advanced Film Studies: Film Aesthetics
    Course start date:  Tue 1 Nov 2022

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Paul Sutton
    Have you wondered why a film might have moved you so powerfully or why it looked so stunningly beautiful? Have you wanted to know quite how a film was able to communicate its story to you so effectively? If so, then this advanced level film studies course is for you. It aims to explore in depth the language of cinema, the way in which film connects with its spectators at the level of film form, in other words, film aesthetics. Writers and critics have long asked similar questions, as have filmmakers themselves, and we will follow some of the most celebrated in their quest for answers. We will look briefly at how films are made and at the importance of cinematography, editing, mise en scène and sound, before exploring in depth film’s aesthetic qualities. We will think about the importance of history for the development of film form and we will analyse clips and sequences from individual films so as to better approach and understand film aesthetics.
    Full fee £99.00 Senior fee £99.00 Concession £64.00
  12. How to Read a Film: A Beginners' Guide to Cinema
    Evening
    Course start date:  Tue 1 Nov 2022 (and 3 other dates)

    Location on this date:  Online (other locations are available)

    Tutors:  Paul Sutton
    This course will develop your critical appreciation of the cinema by teaching you how to read and understand film texts. We will look at the elements that underpin film form – narrative, mise en scène, cinematography, editing and sound – alongside its historical development. We will consider film style by exploring classical, post-classical and art cinema and we will examine influential critical modes of analysis, such as genre, authorship and spectatorship.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £109.00 Senior fee £109.00 Concession £71.00
    Rating:
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  13. An Introduction to the British Horror Film
    Evening, ONLINE
    Course start date:  Wed 2 Nov 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Jon Wisbey
    Emerging fully only in the second half of the 1950s, the British horror film was initially characterised by Hammer's striking productions, but other producers and styles soon became part of a British horror boom. Explore the British horror film, from its origins in the 1930s and 1940s to its heyday in the 1950s and 1960s and beyond, while considering both its critical and popular reception.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £99.00 Senior fee £99.00 Concession £64.00
  14. Transformation in the 'New' Hollywood: 1967 - 1977
    ONLINE, Weekend
    Course start date:  Sat 26 Nov 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Jon Wisbey
    By the second half of the 1960s 'old' Hollywood had fragmented and a new generation of studio heads and filmmakers had set the industry on a different course in which 'blockbuster' and 'event' films, along with more personal auteurist projects, came to typify production. Explore the 'new' Hollywood, the films and filmmakers behind it, and the innovations that shaped this key moment of change.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £59.00 Senior fee £47.00 Concession £38.00
  15. An introduction to Japanese Anime: history, genres and authors
    Weekend
    Course start date:  Sun 27 Nov 2022

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Cristina Massaccesi
    What is anime? What are the artistic and narrative features that make these films so instantly recognizable? This one-day film course will provide an overview of the history of Japanese animation cinema, its inextricable links with manga and its multi-faceted and varied productions that range from children’s films to genres such as cyberpunk and yaoi. During the course, we will watch and discuss clips from a variety of production companies and directors, such as Haya Miyazaki, the Studio Ghibli and Katsuhiro Otomo.
    Full fee £59.00 Senior fee £47.00 Concession £38.00

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