Film studies: Introduction to British cinema

Ref: C2418766

Using a wide range of extracts we will study how key British films were made and what they mean for the audience. We will consider how key films represent the world we live in, including the representation of race, gender, ethnicity and culture.

Course aim

To study British cinema through a wide range of extracts. The course will enable students to discuss and write about many different kinds of British film. We will consider how these films represent different aspect of British society including race, ethnicity, gender and culture.

Who is the course for?

This is for everyone with an interest in cinema who would like to study the subject in greater depth. The course will provide accessible introductions to key topics, and engage students at all levels with debates and discussion.

What topics will this course cover

The course will include the following topics: 1. what is British cinema? including consideration of regional and ethnic diversity; 2; an over-view of British film history; 3 and 4; male and female British directors - from Alfred Hitchcock to Antonia Bird; 5. class, culture and race in British cinema in the 1960s including extracts from 'A Taste of Honey'; 5. representation through male and female stars in British film; 6. how British cinema has represented other nations and cultures including extracts from 'Tickets' and 'Quantum of Solace'; 7 and 8. Contemporary British cinema - does it exist in the era of globalisation and digital technology? A variety of extracts will be used to introduce and explore each topic.

What will it be like?

WEA classes are friendly and supportive. You will be encouraged to work together with your fellow students and tutor. You will be asked to share your ideas and views in the class and work with the group to give and accept feedback in a supportive environment. The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you to be actively involved in your learning. You may be asked to undertake work to support your course outside of your class.

By the end of the course I should be able to:

Students will be able to: 1. identify key elements in the construction of British films 2. explain how British films represent diverse social experiences 3. discuss the representation of different identities in British film, including the way race, ethnicity and gender are represented 4. analyse the role of the director in selected British films 5. understand an over-view of British film history

How will I know I'm making progress?

As the tutor I will encourage student discussion and writing. I will provide feedback on all the exercises with suggestions for development of understanding, and skills necessary for analysis. Specific exercises will include questions on individual extracts, and application of key concepts. Students will discuss and write about subjects drawing on their existing knowledge, as well as the set reading and viewing material.

What else do I need to know, do or bring?

Students will need to bring pen and paper, and a course folder to keep handouts. Viewing of films outside the course will be encouraged, but this will be flexible and students can use the internet, television, dvds or cinema for their further study.

Reading and information sources

A useful textbook is: 'The British Cinema Book' Edited by Robert Murphy (BFI). Students could start with this. However, this is not essential, and alternative reading material will be suggested each week, making use of material available through the internet.

What could the course lead to?

This course could lead to study of film at a more advanced level, including a degree course in film, film and media, or media studies. The course could also lead to more specialised film courses available in adult education. Although this course is about film theory and history it provides useful material for anyone wishing to work creatively in film and media.

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Film studies: Introduction to British cinema Course Outline

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  • are paying the standard fee or are on any of the qualifying benefits
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  • have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2016
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
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