Film studies - Keeley Street - BFI Southbank

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. 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
  2. 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 £49.00 Senior fee £39.00 Concession £32.00
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. How to Read a Film: A Beginners' Guide to Cinema
    Evening
    Course start date:  Tue 20 Sep 2022 (and 3 other dates)

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street (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.
    Full fee £109.00 Senior fee £109.00 Concession £71.00
    Rating:
    87% of 100
  8. 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
  9. Film Studies Taster
    Evening
    Course start date:  Wed 21 Sep 2022 (and 4 other dates)

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street (other locations are available)

    Tutors:  Paul Sutton
    Learn how to evaluate and discuss films while enjoying a working example of a City Lit film studies class.



    We will view clips from a wide variety of films, exploring themes and technique in British cinema and modern American cinema. There will be a chance to review term one film courses at City Lit (September - December 2022).
    Full fee £10.00 Senior fee £10.00 Concession £10.00
  10. Ways into Advanced Film Studies: Film History
    Evening
    Course start date:  Tue 10 Jan 2023

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Paul Sutton
    The history of the cinema is a rich, rewarding and dynamic area of study. Cinema, because it is both an art form and an industrial product, can be studied from several different historical perspectives. These have included investigations into the history of technological development associated with cinema’s origins and its subsequent development, but historians have also explored its evolution into an art form. They have written about important individual figures or influential groups and have examined specific films in great detail. Historians have also examined the national, cultural, political and social contexts that might offer insight into the cinema at a given historical moment. They have examined the changing demographic and viewing habits of spectators and explored the mutability of cinemas themselves. With so much to consider and so many different approaches to take, the history of cinema continues to evolve. As such this advanced level film studies course will explore what it means to study film history, examine the various methodologies that one might take, while at the same time looking at relevant filmic and cinematic examples.
    Full fee £99.00 Senior fee £99.00 Concession £64.00
  11. Reading Images: Exploring Film Studies
    Evening
    Course start date:  Wed 11 Jan 2023 (and 1 other date)

    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 £99.00 Senior fee £99.00 Concession £64.00
  12. Cultureplex Ciné-club
    Evening
    Course start date:  Thu 22 Sep 2022 (and 2 other dates)

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Paul Sutton
    Come and join us at the Cultureplex Ciné-Club, where once a week, for 12 weeks (and throughout the academic year), we will watch and discuss film. Taking its cue from the famous Parisian ciné-club set up by the celebrated critic and writer, André Bazin, ‘the single thinker most responsible for bestowing on cinema the prestige both of an artform and of an object of knowledge’, and the man who foresaw the emergence of film studies as a legitimate discipline of academic study, our contemporary incarnation of the film club will offer a curated series of films for detailed study, discussion and debate. Each film will be introduced, placed in both its cinematic, cultural and historic context. In sharing our viewing in City Lit’s premier screening room, the Cultureplex, we will approximate the experience of watching film in the cinema, one that is intense and fully focussed in a way that other modes of viewing often are not. After the screening we will devote the rest of the class to a collective exploration of the film, led by the tutor, but involving everyone in a participatory discussion that will allow all to express their responses, their views, their thoughts on the film screened.
    Full fee £199.00 Senior fee £159.00 Concession £129.00
  13. Powerful women of the cinema
    Weekend
    Course start date:  Sat 28 Jan 2023

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Graham Rinaldi
    How is film stardom created? Who creates it and what for? These are the underlying questions behind reading the images of film stars – especially stars who happen to be female. This course examines the working lives of four women who exemplified the notion of screen stardom and acting.
    Full fee £59.00 Senior fee £47.00 Concession £38.00
  14. An Introduction to Psychoanalysis and Film
    Weekend
    Course start date:  Sat 25 Mar 2023

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Mary Wild
    A guide to contemporary films directed by women, examined through a psychoanalytic lens. An opportunity to discuss the ways in which cinema can continue to evolve to more authentically depict female desire, fears and subjectivity.
    Full fee £59.00 Senior fee £47.00 Concession £38.00
  15. Masters of cinema: Agnes Varda
    Weekend
    Course start date:  Sat 1 Apr 2023

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Paul Sutton
    2019 was marked by the death of a true mistress of world cinema, Agne`s Varda. We will introduce you to her oeuvre, from La pointe courte (1955) to her final work, Varda par Agnes (2019), exploring her status as a ‘feminist’ icon. The digital was central to her later career, making her, perhaps, a multi-media artist rather than just a film director.
    Full fee £59.00 Senior fee £47.00 Concession £38.00

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