Comedy in Film

Ref: C2341727

The course will look at the various forms of comedy shown in various films. These will focus on: 1. Physical comedy (from silent slapstick, through to Jacques Tati and on to more contemporary examples) 2. Social satire - how comedy has been used to lampoon certain social types or to show up contemporary issues in a different and often irreverent light 3. The Hollywood 'screwball' comedies of the 1930s/40s, what they said about the aspirations of the time and how they have influenced contemporary romcoms 4. Sex comedies, from exploitation through to new ways of looking at sexual relationships in both heterosexual and gay communities 5. The absurd and beyond - how 'unreality' is shown in such works and how they reflect on contemporary society

Course aim

To provide an investigation into the range of approaches to comedy taken in various films and to examine how they work.

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:

  • Describe how comedy works in film and how effects are created through technical and artistic means
  • Analyse and explainsome of the values, worries and aspirations of different societies at various periods over the last 100 years
  • Examine whether comedy essentially relies on cruelty for its effect
  • Debate whether some comedy is now unacceptable in contemporary society
  • Analyse whether comedy can truly be dangerously subversive

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?

  • 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
  • A range of film clips and images from film will be used

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed

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

Download full course information sheet

Comedy in Film

Is this course right for me? Request more information

This course has been cancelled.


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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