The Uncanny in Cinema

Course Dates: 18/06/22 - 25/06/22
Time: 10:30 - 13:00
Location: Online
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.
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Full fee £59.00 Senior fee £47.00 Concession £36.00

This course has now finished

Course Code: HF235

Finished Sat, day, 18 Jun - 25 Jun '22

Duration: 2 sessions (over 2 weeks)

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What is the course about?

In his paper ‘Das Unheimliche’ (1919), Sigmund Freud discusses a phenomenon that is simultaneously familiar and foreign, resulting in a feeling of discomfort. He qualifies the uncanny as belonging to “all that is terrible”, arousing dread and creeping horror. Situations that produce an eerie sensation (e.g., déjà-vu, animism, sorcery, omnipotence of thought, the Doppelgänger, instantaneous wish fulfilment, dolls) capture the paradox of being attracted to yet somehow also disturbed by an object. Freud said that the uncanny is the only feeling that is more powerfully experienced in art than in life, and so in this course we will explore said concept through the medium of film, locating the strangeness in the ordinary via the remarkable capacity of cinema to stage ambivalence and uneasiness.

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?

Secret Beyond the Door (1947) Fritz Lang
Vertigo (1958) Alfred Hitchcock
Repulsion (1965) Roman Polanski
Jacob’s Ladder (1990) Adrian Lyne
Dogtooth (2009) Yorgos Lanthimos
Goodnight Mommy (2014) Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala
Get Out (2017) Jordan Peele
Unsane (2018) Steven Soderbergh.

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

- Understand the relationship between psychoanalysis and cinema
-Learn film interpretation techniques to approach cinema in a deep and investigative way
-Discover the work of film directors that represent psychoanalytic themes and motifs.

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

Psychoanalytic terms will be taught in an inclusive, accessible and engaging way with the help of bespoke PowerPoint slides and video montages. Group discussion will be encouraged, and there will be no assignments outside of class.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

There are no additional costs beyond the enrolment fee. Material for taking notes will suffice during sessions.

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

No other costs. Clips will be shown during the online course; students are not required to obtain them.

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

Look for other film studies courses on the web at, culture and writing/film studies.

Mary Wild

Mary Wild is a film lecturer with an academic background in psychoanalytic theory. Her research interests include cinematic representation of identity, the unconscious, mental illness and auteur studies (e.g., Andrei Tarkovsky, Lars von Trier, and Fritz Lang). In addition to teaching at City Lit, Mary is a regular speaker at the Freud Museum and Hackney Picturehouse.

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.