Introduction to European Cinema

Ref: C2227231

Both inspiring and innovative, sublime and shocking, European cinema has never failed to fascinate. This informal course will explore the key movies, movements and directors, with each session devoted to one particular country. Featuring films both famous and unfamiliar, it will analyse how political and social factors shaped the countrys' film industries and led to such influential movements as German Expressionism, Italian neo-realism, and the French nouvelle vague. Among the major directors who will be examined are Federico Fellini, Jean-Luc Godard, Ingmar Bergman, Pedro Almodovar, and Lars von Trier - along with some obscure, but equally fascinating filmmakers. Special attention will be paid to how European cinema fared during and after World War Two and how it has reacted to the global dominance of the Hollywood film industry. In all, this course gives the opportunity to discover - or reaffirm - the delights to be found in the vast panoply of European cinema. Wunderbar!

Course aim

This informal course will explore the key films, directors and movements in European cinema, with the aim of enabling these - and other European - films to be watched with greater knowledge, insight and enjoyment.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is for beginners
  • This course is for anyone who loves film and wishes to know more.

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

  • Define the key differences between European cinema and Hollywood.
  • Understand the historical factors involved in the development of European cinema.
  • Identify the key movements which helped shape European cinema.
  • Recognise the major directors of European cinema and their individual styles.
  • Watch a European film with greater insight and enjoyment.

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed
  • A willingness to watch and discuss films!

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required
  • No pre reading is required but research on the subject on the internet or in the library may be helpful
  • Watching any European film would be useful! Among the key films on the course are: The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1919); L'Age d'Or (1930); Rome - Open City (1945); The Seventh Seal (1957); Breathless (1959); Jules et Jim (1961); Fellini's 8 1/2 (1963); La Haine (1995); Amelie (2001).

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider
  • Become involved with the WEA in a range of voluntary work and other activities including campaigning as a WEA member
  • Become involved as a volunteer for a WEA partner or another organisation
  • Access the WEA What Next? booklet here

Download full course information sheet

Introduction to European Cinema

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This course is not available for online enrolment.


As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you book. Please could we ask that you check the list below to ensure you meet our basic criteria:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2019
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

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