Film studies

Film studies

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

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. For more information about our live online courses, please see our guide to online learning.

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. Melodrama, Fantasy and Realism: British cinema in the 1940s
    ONLINE, Weekend
    Course start date:  Sat 21 May 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Jon Wisbey
    The 1940s saw major developments in British films and filmmaking matched by record numbers of cinema-goers and lively critical debate. Explore this 'golden age' of British cinema through films such as Millions Like Us, Brief Encounter and The Red Shoes, and themes including national cinema, realism, melodrama and fantasy, while assessing its critical reception and impact on British film culture.



    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 £36.00
  2. The Evolution of the Western: American Mythology
    ONLINE, Weekend
    Course start date:  Sun 29 May 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  John Wischmeyer
    The first narrative film in 1903 was a Western and eventually major directors were attracted to this most American of genres, famously John Ford. His landmark Stagecoach (1939) was an exciting ride into an imaginary space between the Red River and the Rio Bravo. The Western celebrates but also rewrites US history, given the hold that the myth of the Frontier has over the American psyche. “This is the West. When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.”.



    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 £36.00
  3. Reading images: an introduction to film studies
    Evening
    Course start date:  Wed 1 Jun 2022

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Cristina Massaccesi
    This comprehensive introductory course provides an overview of the main historical, technical and theoretical aspects of filmmaking and film analysis.
    Full fee £89.00 Senior fee £89.00 Concession £54.00
    Rating:
    100% of 100
  4. Seminal films of the 1980s
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Fri 10 Jun 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Mick McAloon
    In the 1980s, as Hollywood rejected the auteur-driven movies of the 1970s in favour of “high-concept” action films (Top Gun, Days of Thunder) there were still filmmakers – Martin Scorsese, Agnès Varda, Jane Campion and Spike Lee – who continued to expand the art form. Drawing from Europe, Britain, New Zealand and America, this course explores some of the defining films of a much-maligned decade.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £159.00 Senior fee £127.00 Concession £97.00
  5. Introduction to Film Spectatorship
    Weekend
    Course start date:  Sat 11 Jun 2022

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Paul Sutton
    This course will provide a brief introduction to the history of film spectatorship, tracing its origins in the silent era up to the present day. The course will explore a number of films in detail, includingThe Truman Show (Peter Weir 1998 US), Cinema Paradiso (Giuseppe Tornatore 1998 Italy), The Matrix (Wachowskis 1999 US) and others.
    Full fee £59.00 Senior fee £47.00 Concession £36.00
  6. The Uncanny in Cinema
    ONLINE, Weekend
    Course start date:  Sat 18 Jun 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Mary Wild
    Examining cinematic representations of the “Freudian uncanny”, in psychologically-oriented films that give rise to a sense of reassurance, whilst curiously also provoking a suppressed primordial fear and unnerving confusion in audience members.



    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 £36.00
  7. Hollywood Screwball Comedies
    ONLINE, Weekend
    Course start date:  Sat 25 Jun 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  John Wischmeyer
    Suddenly sound brought a new genre in the early 1930s, a new type of romantic comedy, led by women throwing curveballs at Production Code censorship. Carole Lombard, Kate Hepburn, Rosalind Russell, and the mysterious Lady Eve, killing it in the face of the Great Depression. Screwball satirised the traditional love story, it was the battle of the sexes fought by women armed with rapid-fire, overlapping, cross-purposes Dorothy Parker dialogue directed by Howard Hawks, Frank Capra and Preston Sturges. This was a new theme for Hollywood and for audiences at the time.



    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 £36.00
  8. Nostalgia Cinema: the return of the 50s and 80s
    Evening, ONLINE
    Course start date:  Tue 28 Jun 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Ann-Marie Fleming
    In the 1970s, nostalgia became commercialised. Most notably, cinema looked to the fifties for material. This cinematic version of the era has a recognisable aesthetic. This course looks at how and why the past is recalled in cinema. Additionally, the course discusses the theory of nostalgia and how it changed throughout the 20th century.



    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 £60.00
  9. The women who changed history
    Evening, ONLINE
    Course start date:  Thu 7 Jul 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Ellen Cheshire
    This online course will look at a series of mainstream feature films, including Silkwood (Mike Nichols 1984 US), Made in Dagenham (Nigel Cole 2010 UK) and Erin Brockovich (Steven Soderbergh 2000 US), which are based on historical incidents in which women took a stand for better working and/or living conditions. We'll explore the real women who changed history via their political/social activism; their on screen counterparts, and we will have a look at how filmmakers shaped their narratives for the silver screen.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £10.00 Senior fee £10.00 Concession £10.00
  10. Charlie Chaplin: ‘Inventor’ of Cinema
    Weekend
    Course start date:  Sat 9 Jul 2022

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  John Wischmeyer
    Charlie Chaplin was Hollywood’s first real star. In the whole history of cinema, few movie stars were bigger than the movies - but Chaplin undoubtedly was. ‘Celebrity’ began with Chaplin. From fame to infamy and back again, his comedy style remains as popular as ever, as his ubiquity on TikTok demonstrates. The Little Tramp was the biggest name draw for the 20th century’s hottest novelty, the movies. How much, though, do we remember the man, Charlie, now? Much better in 2022 thanks to a new book (see below) and a new film, The Real Charlie Chaplin (Peter Middleton/James Spinney 2021), a gripping, clear-eyed overview of his life and works. This one-day course, filled with clips from his films, demonstrating his unique style, will showcase his singular place in cinema.
    Full fee £59.00 Senior fee £59.00 Concession £36.00
  11. British gangster cinema
    ONLINE, Weekend
    Course start date:  Sun 10 Jul 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Jon Wisbey
    A key British genre, the gangster film is characterised by a realism that forms the basis and backdrop for its action. This course explores the conventions of the British gangster film from the 1940s to the present day, but will also consider the ways in which its recognisably British tone and settings inform both the genre itself and its function as an aspect of British cinema as a whole.



    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 £36.00
  12. Masters of Cinema: Fritz Lang
    ONLINE, Weekend
    Course start date:  Sat 16 Jul 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Jon Wisbey
    Explore the cinema of Fritz Lang from his German films featuring fantasy themes, including Die Nibelungen and Metropolis and others reflecting Weimar society, such as M and The Testament of Dr Mabuse, to his Hollywood period and films dealing with American society, such as Fury, psychological film noirs, including Woman in the Window and Scarlet Street, and crime films such as The Big Heat.



    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 £36.00
  13. Oscar Trivia: The Secret History of Hollywood’s Academy Awards
    ONLINE, Weekend
    Course start date:  Sat 16 Jul 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  John Wischmeyer
    The story of the Oscars is the story of behind-the-scenes Hollywood. Oscar-winning script guru William Goldman famously said of Hollywood: “Nobody knows anything.” Certainly, nobody knows what wins Oscars, otherwise they would just follow a formula. Did you know that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences was founded in 1927 by MGM studio boss Louis B. Mayer to prevent unionisation? It didn’t, but the Academy continued as a way to promote the film industry. To this day, its membership is self-selecting, and done in secret. Billy Crystal thought 'The Academy’ meant people in robes high in the Hollywood Hills seriously discussing film. It didn’t, but we will.



    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 £36.00
  14. Morricone: The Movie Maestro
    Weekend
    Course start date:  Sun 17 Jul 2022

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Graham Rinaldi
    The composer of over 450 films, Ennio Morricone’s soundtracks combined electric guitars, panpipes, whistling and orchestrations with natural sound to reinvent the sound of cinema. This course will look at Morricone’s techniques and creative relationships with Italian directors including Leone, Pasolini and Tornatore plus his memorable film scores for films including The Mission, The Untouchables and The Hateful Eight.
    Full fee £59.00 Senior fee £47.00 Concession £36.00
  15. British Science Fiction Fantasies of the 1950s and 1960s
    ONLINE, Weekend
    Course start date:  Sun 24 Jul 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Jon Wisbey
    In contrast to American science fiction (SF) cinema of the same period, British SF cinema of the 1950s and 1960s tends, in the main, to adopt a low-key and realist style to its narrative concerns. Explore a range of films, including Hammer's celebrated Quatermass trilogy, and the way in which they constitute a distinctive branch of the genre,



    and of British cinema more generally.



    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 £36.00

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