Philosophy Through Film - What Movies Say about the Human Experience

Ref: C3528463

At their best art and philosophy become inseparable.This course will look at the philosophical ideas and themes present in the works of well-known and possibly not-so-well-known cinema. From Kubrick to Woody Allen, Hitchcock to Paul Thomas Anderson, using illustrative sections from films, the tutor will introduce the context through which each can be interpreted followed by group discussion, asking what we can learn about philosophy from cinema? Covering a wide range of introductory topics from literary theory to existentialism, transcendentalism to postmodernism, feminism to absurdism, these (and others) will provide the background for asking such questions as: what is acting and how does it differ to the roles we play? Does real life have a 4th wall? Can film add 'reality' to current events? Can film (art) influence science? Is the ethical experience what makes films great?

Course aim

To introduce and explore philosophical ideas through the medium of film.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers

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

  • Identify and explain at least one approach to thinking about philosophy and film
  • Examine and critique at least one way philosophy and film are possibly connected?
  • Correct use of technical terms

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
  • You may be asked to undertake additional work in your own time to support your learning
  • Mainly by way of in-class discussion, group and pair work as well as open and closed questioning from the tutor. You will be encouraged to use e-mail and share free, legal, safety checked online resources for further discussion and 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
  • You will be encouraged to share your work with the group and discuss your learning
  • You will be encouraged to consider other students work and give your opinions and suggestions
  • Students will be encouraged to do their own research and interact/ share via e-mail.

What else do I need to know?

  • All materials will be provided
  • A selection of materials and basic equipment will be provided but you are welcome to bring additional materials with you

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required

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 outline

Philosophy Through Film - What Movies Say about the Human Experience Course Outline


You can if you meet all of the following requirements:

  • are paying the standard fee or are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • are paying with a credit/debit card or are not paying a fee because of a qualifying benefit
  • have a valid email address
  • have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2017
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
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