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An Essential Introduction to Film Studies

In this course we will delve into film as an art form. In order to gain a better understanding of the complexities of the medium we will first focus on individual aspects of film form, such as mise-en-scène, cinematography, sound and editing, and how they create meaning. We will then explore how these aspects come together to tell a story. Throughout the course we will work with plenty of examples – both historical and contemporary – putting them into context and gaining practice in the analysis of a variety of film clips. Two course screenings provide the basis for more extended discussions.

Led by Maggie Hoffgen, Freelance Film Educator.

Course outline:

Week 1

  • Expectations
  • How do we make meaning/interpret what we experience when watching a film: a taster
  • Overview of course

Week 2

  • Approaching mise-en-scène + cinematography (part 1)

Week 3

  • Course screening 1: Casablanca (Michael Curtiz, 1942)

Week 4

  • Discussion of course screening: Applying knowledge!
  • Cinematography (part 2)
  • Getting to grips with editing (part 1)

Week 5

  • Getting to grips with editing (part 2)
  • Preparing course screening 2

Week 6

  • Course screening 2: Fargo (Joel and Ethan Coen, 1996)

Week 7

  • Discussion of course screening
  • Talking about sound
  • Looking at narrative conventions (Hollywood)

Week 8

  • More about narrative
  • Having fun with genres