Ways into advanced film studies: film aesthetics

Course Dates: 01/11/23 - 06/12/23
Time: 18:00 - 19:30
Location: Keeley Street
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.
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Full fee £99.00 Senior fee £99.00 Concession £64.00

This course has now started

Course Code: HF330

Started Wed, eve, 01 Nov - 06 Dec '23

Duration: 6 sessions (over 6 weeks)

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What is the course about?

This advanced level film studies course will explore the history of film aesthetics, a film's methodical use of the techniques of the medium, the language of cinema. These techniques are broadly: mise en scène (staging, lighting, performance, and setting); framing, focus, and other aspects of cinematography; editing; and sound. Film aesthetics or film style is, essentially, the texture of the film's images and sounds, the result of choices made by filmmakers within specific historical contexts. The aesthetic history of film also encompasses the history of film forms, such as narrative or non-narrative film, the history of genre (for example, the Western or the science fiction film), and the history of film modes, such as the documentary or the fiction film. This particular history is different to those concerned with the specific study of the film industry or film technology, for example, and focusses on the purely aesthetic, on those elements of film that relate to its visual style. Sometimes these different histories intersect – technology may impact upon visual style, for example, and industrial demands may produce particular aesthetic effects in terms of film production. The analytical focus on the purely aesthetic in relation to film criticism has been described as formalist criticism and this course will consider the writings of some of the authors most closely associated with this approach. This course is the first of a suite of three Ways into Advanced Film Study courses, with the second, Ways into Advanced Film Study: Film History taking place in Term 2 and Ways into Advanced Film Study: Film Theory in Term 3. These courses can be taken independently of each other or as a series, progressing one from the other across the three terms.

What will we cover?

• Mise en scène
• Cinematography
• Editing
• Sound
• The history of film aesthetics
• Formalist film theory.

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

• Describe the key facets of film production
• Demonstrate familiarity with the historical development of film form
• Identify certain key films and directors relevant to the history of film aesthetics
• Critically analyse a sequence of film and assess its aesthetic qualities
• Demonstrate familiarity with some of the key formalist film critics.

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

The course is designed for those wishing to expand upon their existing knowledge of film studies. It does presuppose some previous familiarity with film studies and as such is not aimed at beginners. The course will be useful for those considering further study, possibly at university level.

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

Screenings of extracts from films, talks by the tutor, reading materials, small and large group discussions. Some directed reading and viewing outside of the class will also be required.

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

You will require a pen and paper (or laptop/device) but the tutor will provide all other materials such as handouts. The tutor will show extracts from films and you do not have to obtain them.

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

This course is followed by HF331 Ways into Advanced Film Studies: Film History and HF332 Ways into Advanced Film Studies: Film Theory. You can also look for other Film Studies courses under History Culture and Writing/Film Studies at www.citylit.ac.uk.

Paul Sutton

Dr. Paul Sutton is an independent film scholar who has taught Film Studies in UK higher education for over 25 years. His research covers psychoanalytic and film theory as well as Italian and French cinema and critical theory. He has published articles in journals such as Screen, French Studies and the Journal for Cultural Research. He is currently writing a psychoanalytic book on film spectatorship, Afterwardsness in Film, and has recently published work on television as a form of palliative care, and an assessment of the films of the Italian experimental filmmaker Ugo Nespolo.

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.