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The Language of Film

  • The Language of Film


    Star Wars (1977)

    Taught by Andrew J. Douglas, Ph.D., Director of Education, BMFI

    Diegesis, mise-en-scene, and chiaroscuro are not trendy Center City nightspots but rather some of the key terms of film analysis. This course introduces students to cinematic grammar, giving them the vocabulary and frames of reference to view and discuss motion pictures in an insightful and critical manner.

    Screenings largely consist of clips from a wide assortment of films illustrating different aspects of the medium’s language, including cinematography, sound, editing, and narrative. In addition, we’ll showcase some of cinema’s most memorable images accompanied by commentary from the cinematographers that made them.

    From an early age, we learn to observe movies with awe and delight. Now, as we carry that wonder with us into adulthood, we can also approach cinema as more active and sophisticated viewers. Join us to learn to engage with the medium on its own terms and to discover some of the techniques by which we make meaning of the movies we see. Understanding the language of film allows you to get more enjoyment out of your cinematic experience—and to impress your friends at the post-movie discussion!

    Bryn Mawr Film Institute has upgraded its website, and you will now need to log into an account on BrynMawrFilm.org to register for classes, buy tickets, and renew your membership online. Don’t worry! The process is quick and easy, and you’ll only need to do it once. Click here to complete your online account. If you’re having difficulty creating an account or logging in, call our dedicated helpline at (610) 295-1356 between 10:00 am and 9:00 pm.

  • The Language of Film (Fall 2014)


    The Graduate (1967)

    Taught by Andrew J. Douglas, Ph.D., Director of Education, BMFI

    Diegesis, mise-en-scene, and chiaroscuro are not trendy Center City nightspots but rather some of the key terms of film analysis. This course introduces students to cinematic grammar, giving them the vocabulary and frames of reference to view and discuss motion pictures in an insightful and critical manner.

    Screenings largely consist of clips from a wide assortment of films illustrating different aspects of the medium's language, including cinematography, sound, editing, and narrative. In addition, some of the most memorable images in cinema history are showcased and enriched with commentary by the cinematographers who made them.

    From a very early age, we are all able to follow—and be delighted by—movies, but far too often, we continue to approach cinema like the same passive viewers we were as children. Join us to learn to engage with the medium on its own terms and to discover some of the techniques by which we make meaning of the movies we see. Understanding the language of film allows you to get more enjoyment out of your cinematic experience—and to impress your friends at the post-movie discussion!

    Please note: This course is typically offered at BMFI in the fall, usually on a Monday or Tuesday night in October, but please check the current film studies offerings for specific, scheduled dates.

  • The Language of Film (Fall 2015)


    The Godfather (1972)

    Taught by Andrew J. Douglas, Ph.D., Director of Education, BMFI

    Diegesis, mise-en-scene, and chiaroscuro are not trendy Center City nightspots but rather some of the key terms of film analysis. This course introduces students to cinematic grammar, giving them the vocabulary and frames of reference to view and discuss motion pictures in an insightful and critical manner.

    Screenings largely consist of clips from a wide assortment of films illustrating different aspects of the medium's language, including cinematography, sound, editing, and narrative. In addition, some of the most memorable images in cinema history are showcased and enriched with commentary by the cinematographers who made them.

    From a very early age, we are all able to follow'and be delighted by'movies, but far too often, we continue to approach cinema like the same passive viewers we were as children. Join us to learn to engage with the medium on its own terms and to discover some of the techniques by which we make meaning of the movies we see. Understanding the language of film allows you to get more enjoyment out of your cinematic experience'and to impress your friends at the post-movie discussion!


  • The Language of Film at PMA (Fall 2013)


    The Graduate (1967)

    Taught by Andrew J. Douglas, Ph.D., Director of Education, BMFI

    Diegesis, mise-en-scene, and chiaroscuro are not trendy Center City nightspots but rather some of the key terms of film analysis. This course introduces students to cinematic grammar, giving them the vocabulary and frames of reference to view and discuss motion pictures in an insightful and critical manner.

    Screenings largely consist of clips from a wide assortment of films illustrating different aspects of the medium’s language, including cinematography, sound, editing, and narrative. In addition, some of the most memorable images in cinema history are showcased and enriched with commentary by the cinematographers who made them.

    From a very early age, we are all able to follow—and be delighted by—movies, but far too often, we continue to approach cinema like the same passive viewers we were as children. Join us to learn to engage with the medium on its own terms and to discover some of the techniques by which we make meaning of the movies we see. Understanding the language of film allows you to get more enjoyment out of your cinematic experience—and to impress your friends at the post-movie discussion!


    Please note: This class meets at the Perelman Building of the Philadelphia Museum of Art (2525 Pennsylvania Avenue in Philadelphia).

    Please note: This course is typically offered at the Philadelphia Museum of Art in the spring, usually during the day on Wednesdays in April, but please check the current film studies offerings for specific, scheduled dates.

  • The Language of Film at PMA (Spring 2015)


    The Graduate (1967)

    Taught by Andrew J. Douglas, Ph.D., Director of Education, BMFI

    Diegesis, mise-en-scene, and chiaroscuro are not trendy Center City nightspots but rather some of the key terms of film analysis. This course introduces students to cinematic grammar, giving them the vocabulary and frames of reference to view and discuss motion pictures in an insightful and critical manner.

    Screenings largely consist of clips from a wide assortment of films illustrating different aspects of the medium's language, including cinematography, sound, editing, and narrative. In addition, some of the most memorable images in cinema history are showcased and enriched with commentary by the cinematographers who made them.

    From a very early age, we are all able to follow--and be delighted by--movies, but far too often, we continue to approach cinema like the same passive viewers we were as children. Join us to learn to engage with the medium on its own terms and to discover some of the techniques by which we make meaning of the movies we see. Understanding the language of film allows you to get more enjoyment out of your cinematic experience--and to impress your friends at the post-movie discussion!

    Please note: This class meets at the Perelman Building of the Philadelphia Museum of Art (2525 Pennsylvania Avenue in Philadelphia), and students must register for the course through the PMA, by calling (215) 235-7469.

    BMFI members: Please call (610) 527-4008 x106 for instructions on receiving your tuition discount.

  • The Language of Film at PMA–CANCELED


    Psycho (1960)

    Diegesis, mise-en-scene, and chiaroscuro are not trendy Center City nightspots but rather some of the key terms of film analysis. This course introduces students to cinematic grammar, giving them the vocabulary and frames of reference to view and discuss motion pictures in an insightful and critical manner.

    Screenings largely consist of clips from a wide assortment of films illustrating different aspects of the medium’s language, including cinematography, sound, editing, and narrative. In addition, we’ll showcase some of cinema’s most memorable images accompanied by commentary from the cinematographers that made them.

    From an early age, we learn to observe movies with awe and delight. Now, as we carry that wonder with us into adulthood, we can also approach cinema as more active and sophisticated viewers. Join us to learn to engage with the medium on its own terms and to discover some of the techniques by which we make meaning of the movies we see. Understanding the language of film allows you to get more enjoyment out of your cinematic experience—and to impress your friends at the post-movie discussion!


    Class meets at the Perelman Building of the Philadelphia Museum of Art (2525 Pennsylvania Avenue in Philadelphia).

  • The Language of Film II


    The Godfather (1972)

    Taught by Andrew J. Douglas, Ph.D., Director of Education, BMFI

    Please note: The Language of Film is a pre-requisite for this class. In addition, unlike other BMFI classes, this one has 'homework.'

    Now that you know what diegesis, mise-en-scene, and chiaroscuro are, what's next? You've learned the vocabulary of the language of film, so now get conversant! This course builds on the cinematic grammar taught in the first one to delve more deeply into the medium's formal elements and teaches students how to craft their own insightful aesthetic analyses of films. Screenings largely consist of clips from a wide assortment of movies rich with provocative uses of different aspects of cinematic language.

    More specifically, the course considers the ways in which specific formal components combine to create style and convey meaning, explores auteur theory, and concludes with the class doing its own, original analysis of a feature film. By learning how to make meaning of filmmakers' specific aesthetic choices, you will gain an even greater appreciation for popcorn movies, classic films, and art house fare alike.