Introduction to film spectatorship

Course Dates: 08/06/24
Time: 10:30 - 16:30
Location: Keeley Street
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.
Book your place
In stock
Full fee £59.00 Senior fee £47.00 Concession £38.00

Introduction to film spectatorship
  • Course Code: HF306
  • Dates: 08/06/24 - 08/06/24
  • Time: 10:30 - 16:30
  • Taught: Sat, Daytime
  • Duration: 1 session
  • Location: Keeley Street
  • Tutor: Paul Sutton

Course Code: HF306

Sat, day, 08 Jun - 08 Jun '24

Duration: 1 session

Please note: We offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. Just visit our online Help Center for more information on a range of topics including fees, online learning and FAQs.

What is the course about?

This course will explore a range of historic and theoretical approaches to film spectatorship. Since cinema’s origins writers and critics have sought to understand the powerful effects that this medium has upon its spectators, as well as to explore its capacity to both reflect and comment on history, society and culture more broadly. Some of the earliest examinations of the cinema were made in the 1910s and took psychological approaches to the screen spectator relationship. A wide of range of theoretical approaches have been applied to the study of spectatorship ever since, including the philosophical, the psychoanalytic, the historic and the cultural. Studies involving audience research have also been undertaken, all seeking to understand the fascination and the influence that film has, and continues to, exert on its viewers.

This course will explore briefly all of these approaches but also articulate, again in brief, some of the key theories of film spectatorship that have been developed since the birth of cinema in 1895. The course will be illustrated with film clips from films such as The Truman Show (Peter Weir 1998 US), Cinema Paradiso (Giuseppe Tornatore 1998 Italy), The Matrix (Wachowskis 1999 US) and others. There will be opportunities to analyse short film sequences as well as to engage in discussion.

What will we cover?

The course will cover, in brief, some of the key theories of film spectatorship that have been articulated since the emergence of cinema in 1895. It will look at a range of different approaches to spectatorship, including the philosophical, the psychoanalytic, and the feminist among others. The course will consider the historical development of theoretical approaches to film spectatorship and explain the contexts for their emergence.

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

• Describe the development of theories of film spectatorship that have emerged since cinema’s inception
• Evaluate a range of ways of thinking about film spectatorship
• Demonstrate a critical appreciation of theories of spectatorship and their possible application to the analysis of individual films.

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

This course is designed for those who have a passion for film and would like to deepen their knowledge of film theory and film history. It will provide a brief introduction to the subject but will also be useful for those wishing to build on existing knowledge.

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

The course will be delivered by the tutor with small and large group discussions. Short film extracts will be screened throughout.

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

You will require a pen and paper (or laptop/device) but any ancillary materials required will be provided in the form of handouts or links to online resources.

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

Look for other Film Studies courses under History Culture and Writing/Film Studies at

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.