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Remote Classroom

You can attend Bryn Mawr Film Institute’s Film Studies offerings anywhere, at any time, in our Remote Classroom. Rent and stream seminars and courses on your favorite films—from your favorite instructors—in the comfort of your own home. A small selection is available below, and dozens more can be found in the Remote Classroom.

Remote Classroom Archive

Remote Classroom: "And All the Pieces Matter": The Wire in 2020

Taught by Paul Wright, Ph.D., Department of English, Cabrini University
Miss this seminar at BMFI? Stream it now.

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With everything consuming the world this summer, David Simon and Ed Burns’s The Wire (2002-2008) remains as timely and relevant as ever. From a pandemic further exposing the structural inequalities and precarity facing our most vulnerable citizens to the renewed challenges to systemic racism on display in the wake of George Floyd’s death at the hands of police—we still have so very much to learn from The Wire

When David Simon made his original pitch for the series to HBO in 2000, he consciously presented it as a deconstruction and eventual demolition of the traditional network “police procedural.” By highlighting the incalculable damage done by institutions of state power to our communities most in need, The Wire would go on to become arguably the greatest drama in the history of television. The series was unapologetically confrontational; yet, it was also nuanced and humanizing in its characterization of people in all walks of life and labor. It put front and center all the factors contributing to an age of American despair, including a failed and destructive “War on Drugs”; the declining dignity of labor; political cultures corrupted by opportunism and greed; institutional racism enshrined in the over-policing of communities of color; and educational inequalities that lay the groundwork for so many other traumas. 

What continues to distinguish The Wire from every other example of “prestige television” in the last two decades is its determination to not privilege any traditional protagonist—or any one protagonist at all—but instead to feature, in all its complexity, the modern American “city-state,” of which Baltimore is, as David Simon reminds us, but one example. Simon thought of The Wire not only as a document of social history, but also as Greek tragedy, albeit one wherein the fickle and deadly gods are our institutions. There is no better time than now to listen in on The Wire

Remote Classroom: "What's Done Cannot Be Undone": Macbeth on Film

Taught by Jacob Mazer, Special Programming Manager, BMFI

Miss this seminar at BMFI? Stream it now.

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Fair is foul, and foul is fair.” Three weird figures meet Macbeth on a stormy heath and prophesy his rise to the throne, beginning a bloody descent into darkness for the soldier, his wife, and their nation, and opening William Shakespeare’s unforgettable tragedy. Many credit its inspiration, in part, to the 1605 “Gunpowder Plot” that threatened the life of King James I, but the play’s engagement with questions of power, ambition, morality, gender, and fate have captured the imaginations of artists and audiences into the present day.  

Indeed, despite the superstitions surrounding its performance, “the Scottish play” has been the basis of some of cinema’s most powerful Shakespearean adaptations. In this seminar, we’ll examine the ways in which various filmmakers have adapted the work to reflect their own sensibilities, aesthetics, and historical moments, including (but not limited to) Orson Welles’s noirish, primordial rendition from 1948; Akira Kurosawa’s Throne of Blood (1957), which transposes the story to feudal Japan; and Roman Polanski’s quasi-psychedelic version, which, in 1971, came on the heels of the Manson murders. Join us to learn about a few different cinematic takes on Macbeth in one fell swoop. 

Remote Classroom: Apocalypse(s) Then and Now: Coppola's Classic Four Decades on

Taught by Paul Wright, Ph.D., Department of English, Cabrini University

Miss this seminar at BMFI? Stream it now.

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Francis Ford Coppola’s 1979 masterpiece began life in 1969 as an ambitious Vietnam-era reimagining of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. It was not Coppola who first wrote upwards of a thousand pages worth of drafts for the screenplay; it was Coppola’s friend John Milius. Coppola would in time buy the rights to produce the film, although both Milius and Coppola thought of George Lucas as the right director for it. By the mid-1970s, with both Lucas and Milius on to other projects, Coppola opted to undertake the herculean task of directing what would become one of the most tumultuous and seemingly doomed productions in cinema history. In this seminar, we will explore the genesis of the film in terms of both its literary and cinematic roots, as well as the years of production drama captured most famously in Eleanor Coppola’s 1991 documentary, Hearts of Darkness. We will also discuss the artistic and thematic impact of choices Coppola made in the various cuts of his film—from the original theatrical release to the later releases known as Apocalypse Now Redux and Apocalypse Now Final Cut.

Remote Classroom: All About Oscar

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

The Academy Awards are the granddaddy of all show business accolades—without them, there would be no Emmys, Grammys, or Tony Awards. Whether you are a casual movie fan, a committed cinephile, or work in the film industry in any capacity, you care about the Oscars. They can make or break careers, determine how hundreds of millions of dollars are spent, and shape the movies we see, but how much do we really know about them? Join us to learn about the origins and development of the Oscars, and to better understand what the different categories represent, how the process works, and how the awards reflect American culture.

Remote Classroom: Conscientious Objectors: Post-War Political Films

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

Racism, anti-Semitism, and corruption are not just problems that plagued our nation in the 1950s—they are issues that Hollywood addressed in some of its best work of the era. Coming during the relatively stable period following WWII, these political films had the luxury of tackling domestic social problems after the industry spent years focused on supporting the war effort. But filmmakers with controversial political viewpoints needed to tread lightly in this time of HUAC, Joseph McCarthy, and the emerging Soviet threat. Join us to discuss and see clips from such films as Crossfire (1947) and On the Waterfront (1954) and learn about the factors surrounding the translation of individual social consciousness into mainstream entertainment. 

Remote Classroom: From The Sound of Music to Midnight Cowboy: What Happened to Hollywood?

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

Miss this seminar at BMFI? Stream it now.

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In the 50 months between the releases of these two films in 1965 and 1969, respectively, the American film industry changed forever. Gone was the appropriate-for-all approach instituted by the studio moguls, who themselves were nearly extinct by this time. In its place emerged a something-for-everyone strategy, fueled by the new ratings system and emblematic of the corporate and political culture that had taken over Hollywood—and the counterculture that had swept across America. Join us to explore this tectonic shift through clips from such films as Blow-UpThe Graduate, and Bonnie and Clyde.

Remote Classroom: Introducing Dorothy Arzner

Taught by Jennifer Fleeger, Ph.D., Media and Communication Studies, Ursinus College

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For a period during the 1930s, Dorothy Arzner was the only woman director working continuously in Hollywood.This seminar will detail the historical circumstances that led to the disappearance of other remarkable women behind the camera—Lois Weber, Cleo Madison, Ida May Park—and examine what gave Arzner her staying power. We will look at examples from Arzner’s decades-long career, including films starring Clara Bow, Katharine Hepburn, Rosalind Russell, Maureen O’Hara, and Lucille Ball. As a lesbian woman directing films in the restrictive studio system, did Arzner’s movies have a style that spoke to her way of seeing the world? And how did the roles she created with these actresses shape their careers? Join us to learn the answers to these questions, and more.

Remote Classroom: Introducing Fritz Lang I: In Germany

Taught by Lisa DeNight, Discussion Moderator, BMFI

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Austrian director Fritz Lang’s monumental career spanned multiple countries, genres, and film movements while maintaining an unusually strong thematic and aesthetic consistency. This seminar will focus on the first period of Lang’s career, in Germany during the Weimar Republic. There, he collaborated with his second wife, screenwriter Thea von Harbou, on visionary silent epics like Die Nibelungen (1924) and Metropolis (1927), and made one of the first sound masterpieces in German cinema, M (1931). At the height of this phase of his career, Lang was arguably the most famous director in all of Europe. But his worldview increasingly came into conflict with the rising Nazi regime, causing Lang to flee to America, where he would start his next chapter. Join us to explore the formative, fantastical, and sublime first part of Lang’s career.

Remote Classroom: Introducing Fritz Lang II: In Hollywood

Taught by Lisa DeNight, Discussion Moderator, BMFI

Miss this seminar at BMFI? Stream it now.

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Fritz Lang left an indelible mark on the history of cinema, with a filmography spanning from the German silent era to the Golden Age of Hollywood. This seminar will focus on the second half of Lang’s career, where, starting in the mid-1930s, the international superstar director found himself enmeshed in the machinery of the Hollywood studio system. Lang was part of a larger exodus of European directors who left the continent amid the rise of fascism, taking with him a sense of disillusionment and alienation that would inform his American filmography and richly contribute to the film noir cycle of the ‘40s and ‘50s. Lang’s preoccupations with the themes of fate, justice, class, and the corruption of society and its institutions are reflected in films like Fury (1936), Scarlet Street (1945), and The Big Heat (1953), which stand apart, even today, for their unconventional, unflinching vision. Join us to explore the dark, complex, and varied latter half of Lang’s exceptional career.

Remote Classroom: Introducing Ingmar Bergman

Taught by Jennifer Fleeger, Ph.D., Media and Communication Studies, Ursinus College

What film director might be better suited to an era of pandemic malaise than Ingmar Bergman? Bergman’s films are often considered literary, spiritual, and serious, but the Swedish director also had a funny bone. In this seminar we will talk about Bergman’s early life and the work that inspired him, trace his cinematic trajectory from the erotic farce Smiles of a Summer Night (1955) through classics like The Seventh Seal (1957) and Wild Strawberries (1957), and into his darker films such as Winter Light (1963) and Persona (1966). We will end by talking about Fanny and Alexander (1982), Bergman’s theatrical work, and the legacy he left Swedish cinema. The overview will paint a portrait of a complicated artist and give us all an opportunity to discuss the value of his image-making in the present moment.

Remote Classroom: On the Origin of the Cinema

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

Long before Garbo talked, Jolson sang, or Norma Desmond readied for her close-up, there were movies. Some were scandalous, some were glorious, and many have been lost to time. But what remains sheds considerable light on the origins of this form that emerged from the confluence of science, art, commerce, and the Industrial Revolution. We will explore some of the medium's key precursors, pioneers, and practitioners in technology and technique, and discuss some of the classic films of the age, including novelties, shorts, and the proto-documentary form known as “actualités.” Join us to learn how the movies came to be, and to laugh at, be shocked by, and simply enjoy some of the world’s first motion pictures.

 

Remote Classroom: Returning to The Office

Taught by Paul Wright, Ph.D., Department of English, Cabrini University

Miss this seminar at BMFI? Stream it now.

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In what initially appeared a doomed effort to adapt a beloved and acclaimed British comedy for American audiences, NBC rolled the dice on its version of The Office as a late-season replacement series in March 2005. Featuring Steve Carell—still months away from his breakout role in The 40-Year-Old Virgin—the series seemed fated to wither in the shadow of its inspiration. Yet, by the time of its series finale in 2013, The Office had gone on to win five Emmys, three awards from the Writers Guild of America, and a Peabody Award for, among other achievements, “[being] able to tackle even more ground than its predecessor”. It boasted one of the finest ensemble casts in television comedy, including not only then-unknowns like Carell and John Krasinski, but also some of its most sharp-witted writers—Mindy Kaling, Paul Lieberstein, B.J. Novak—who did double-duty as actors. The Office also paved the way for other highly regarded series like Parks and Recreation(2009-2015) and Modern Family(2009-2020).

Showrunner Greg Daniels, a veteran of both The Simpsons and Saturday Night Live, brought to The Office an insistence on breaking down the conventional divide between writing and performing talent, tapping into a synergy of scripted storytelling and improvisational acting that gave the show its signature style. Riffing on the mockumentary aesthetic, The Office managed to be both deeply cutting and serenely playful; a canny caricature of identity as reflected in the funhouse mirror of the banal modern workplace, while remaining a loving and ultimately humanizing recognition of the souls toiling in the machine. Since most of us have forgotten what it is like to work in an office over the last seven months, now is the perfect time to learn about—and be reminded by—The Office

Remote Classroom: Scorsese's Cinema of Loneliness

Taught by Paul Wright, Ph.D., Department of English, Cabrini University

Miss this seminar at BMFI? Stream it now.

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“I’m a lapsed Catholic. But I am a Roman Catholic—there’s no way out of it . . . When I went to church as a kid, they would from time to time have these things they called a ‘Mission.’ Priests and nuns who had worked as missionaries in places all over the world would come and tell their stories. They would bring these giant crucifixes and stand right in front of the altar and talk—scary hellfire-and-brimstone stuff. What they were doing was really theater. It was a holdover from the medieval period, when the church would have miracle plays that told about the lives of the saints, and dramatized tales from the Bible. Eventually these plays got a little bawdy and had to be done outside the Church. Everybody enjoyed watching Noah get drunk and his wife beat him with a broom instead of paying attention to the religious implications of the story. But for me the important thing has always been this notion of theater—and, by extension, film—stemming from something being done in front of the altar.” —Martin Scorsese, quoted in The Scorsese Picture by David Ehrenstein

This course explores the dynamic cinema of one of America’s foremost directors, with attention paid to the elements of autobiography at work in Scorsese’s films, as well as to the broader cultural critique he has developed. We will consider how his films have been informed by profound questions about violence, alienation, faith, and self-understanding (or self-delusion). Among the issues Scorsese confronts us with: how do we, as Americans, ultimately define community? Do our communities serve the intangible or even spiritual needs of their members? Or are our individual frustrations and pathologies merely symptomatic of a broader failure to connect with one another?

In this light, we will appraise Scorsese’s films for having brought into popular culture a shared vocabulary for discussing the nature of freedom in America and the nature of responsibility in a criminal, absurd, or even fallen world. In so doing, we will touch upon many films from Scorsese’s body of work but will specifically examine Casino (1995) and The Wolf of Wall Street (2013).

Please note: This seminar will use as a runway the multi-week course of the same name Dr. Wright taught in October 2019. That course is NOT a prerequisite for this seminar; those of you who took it may tread some familiar ground before heading into previously uncharted territory.

Remote Classroom: Short Attention Span Cinema 11

Taught by Gary M. Kramer, Author and Film Critic

Although they are rarely screened outside of film festivals, short films deserve anything but short shrift. These easily digestible mini-movies are often “calling cards” for burgeoning directors who want to showcase their talents in a modest form. Martin McDonagh (Three Billboards . . .) and Terry George (Hotel Rwanda) are among those who won Oscars for their early shorts.

Short films may not require the same investment in character development that features do, but viewers' emotions can be effectively evoked nevertheless. A good short film works with quiet efficiency to hook viewers, carry them through the story, and deliver a satisfying payoff; the best shorts prompt us to reassess our conceptions of cinema.

This seminar will showcase a handful of recent short films like “70 Hester Street” (2014), “Idac” (2016), and “Sloan Hearts Neckface” (2020) that will leave students with a greater appreciation of this underestimated format.

 

Remote Classroom: Short Attention Span Cinema 12

Taught by Gary M. Kramer, Author and Film Critic

Although they are rarely screened outside of film festivals, short films deserve anything but short shrift. These easily digestible mini-movies are often “calling cards” for burgeoning directors who want to showcase their talents in a modest form. Martin McDonagh (Three Billboards . . .) and Terry George (Hotel Rwanda) are among those who won Oscars for their early shorts. 

Short films may not require the same investment in character development that features do, but viewers' emotions can be effectively evoked nevertheless. A good short film works with quiet efficiency to hook viewers, carry them through the story, and deliver a satisfying payoff; the best shorts prompt us to reassess our conceptions of cinema. 

This seminar will showcase a handful of recent short films like “Broken Orchestra” (2019), “Gets Good Light” (2020), and “When I Write It” (2020) that will leave students with a greater appreciation of this underestimated format. 

Remote Classroom: Short Attention Span Cinema 13: Family Drama

Taught by Gary M. Kramer, Author and Film Critic

Although they are rarely screened outside of film festivals, short films deserve anything but short shrift. These easily digestible mini-movies are often “calling cards” for burgeoning directors who want to showcase their talents in a modest form. Martin McDonagh (Three Billboards . . .) and Terry George (Hotel Rwanda) are among those who won Oscars for their early shorts. 

Short films may not require the same investment in character development that features do, but viewers' emotions can be effectively evoked, nevertheless. A good short film works with quiet efficiency to hook viewers, carry them through the story, and deliver a satisfying payoff; the best shorts prompt us to reassess our conceptions of cinema. 

This seminar will showcase a handful of 2020 short films about family relationships, including “Betrayal”, “Black Ghost Son”, “Every Day’s Like This”, and “My Father the Mover” that will leave students with a greater appreciation of this underestimated format. 

Remote Classroom: Short Attention Span Cinema 14: Directed by Women

Taught by Gary M. Kramer, Author and Film Critic

Although they are rarely screened outside of film festivals, short films deserve anything but short shrift. These easily digestible mini-movies are often “calling cards” for burgeoning directors who want to showcase their talents in a modest form. Martin McDonagh (Three Billboards . . .) and Terry George (Hotel Rwanda) are among those who won Oscars for their early shorts.  

Short films may not require the same investment in character development that features do, but viewers' emotions can be effectively evoked, nevertheless. A good short film works with quiet efficiency to hook viewers, carry them through the story, and deliver a satisfying payoff; the best shorts prompt us to reassess our conceptions of cinema. 

This seminar will showcase a handful of short films directed by women, including “On Falling” (2020), “The Price of Cheap Rent” (2020), “Tuesday 6pm” (2020), and “Farewell Meu Amor” (2016), the basis for the 2020 feature Farewell Amor, all of which will leave students with a greater appreciation of this underestimated format. 

 

Remote Classroom: Short Attention Span Cinema Quince: Latin American Films

Taught by Gary M. Kramer, Author and Film Critic

Although they are rarely screened outside of film festivals, short films deserve anything but short shrift. These easily digestible mini movies are often “calling cards” for burgeoning directors who want to showcase their talents in a modest form. Martin McDonagh (Three Billboards . . .) and Terry George (Hotel Rwanda) are among those who won Oscars for their early shorts.

Short films may not require the same investment in character development that features do, but viewers' emotions can be effectively evoked, nevertheless. A good short film works with quiet efficiency to hook viewers, carry them through the story, and deliver a satisfying payoff; the best shorts prompt us to reassess our conceptions of cinema.

This seminar will showcase three short films from Latin America—“Calladita” (2020), “The Insomnia Plague” (2020), and “Noche Buena” (2020)—all of which will leave students with a greater appreciation of this underestimated format.

Remote Classroom: Sound Comes to Hollywood

Taught by Jennifer Fleeger, Ph.D., Media and Communication Studies, Ursinus College

Miss this seminar at BMFI? Stream it now.

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Although it might sound surprising (see what we did there?), Warner Bros., the first studio to produce sound pictures, did not set out to make “talkies.” Instead, they hoped their Vitaphone sound-on-disc system would replace expensive live orchestra accompaniments with quality recorded music. Their bet paid off, but as Warners transitioned to dialogue, their novelty was met by competition from MGM and others marketing a sound-on-film system. The ensuing battle for the sonic control of movie theaters, fought with music and words, would come to define American sound in the cinema and beyond. This seminar explores that history with examples from conversion-era features and musical shorts, and is based in part on Fleeger’s book Sounding American: Hollywood, Opera, and Jazz (Oxford, 2014).

Remote Classroom: The "Sunken Place": Genre, Race, and Gender in the Films of Jordan Peele

Taught by Paul Wright, Ph.D., Department of English, Cabrini University

Miss this seminar at BMFI? Stream it now.

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In just a few short years, Oscar-winning screenwriter and director Jordan Peele has given us some of the most provocative exercises in genre filmmaking in recent memory with his first two feature films, Get Out (2017) and Us (2019). Brilliantly redeploying, yet also honoring, the conventions of the horror film—in particular, body horror—Peele put his finger on the pulse of so many issues consuming our attention in this very difficult year. In the wake of George Floyd’s death and Black Lives Matter activism, as well as broader debates over white privilege, gender roles, and bioethics, Peele’s directorial debut and follow-up have already proven themselves to be prescient cultural touchstones. 

In Get Out, the protagonist, Chris Washington (Daniel Kaluuya), finds himself the victim of a bizarre hypnosis that submerges him in what the film famously calls “the sunken place.” As Peele has explained, the sunken place is his guiding storytelling metaphor, a reminder that for African Americans and other minorities, “we’re marginalized; no matter how hard we scream, the system silences us.” In this seminar, we will explore the emergence of Peele’s unique voice in contemporary cinema. We will also examine some of the anticipatory and deeply cinematic work Peele and collaborator Keegan-Michael Key did on the subject of race in America in their groundbreaking comedy series, Key and Peele. Join us for an examination of an innovative filmmaker who has lovingly drawn from his inspirations in both comedy and horror to create some of the most important films of the last decade. 

Remote Classroom: The Artistic and Moral Legacy of Breaking Bad

Taught by Paul Wright, Ph.D., Department of English, Cabrini University

Miss this seminar at BMFI? Stream it now.

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In the most recent era of “golden age” television, Breaking Bad looms large for many reasons—its relentlessly inventive writing and ground-breaking cinematography; the rare conjunction of an ensemble cast, writing team, and director lineup that would be the envy of any production; and a dramatic lead performance for the ages by Bryan Cranston. And yet the series is often misconstrued, even by some of its most ardent admirers, as a wish-fulfillment exercise in immoral criminal fantasy; to the contrary, Breaking Bad is among the most seriously moral works of art in the American tradition.

In its unsparing look at Walter White’s tragic fall—an arc famously described by creator Vince Gilligan as the protagonist’s transformation from “Mr. Chips to Scarface”—Breaking Bad is about the nature and consequences of choices that we all face every single day. Blending the genre conventions of the gangster film, the western, and the family drama (with some healthy doses of brilliant, macabre comedy), Breaking Bad depicts the moral equivalent of the “butterfly effect” with a relentlessness of craft that would be appreciated by Sophocles or Shakespeare. In documenting the seductions, rationalizations, and perverse charisma of evil, Breaking Bad is a tragic drama that somehow fuses classical sensibilities and a richly contemporary take on how we live today. This seminar takes stock of the program’s many dimensions, touches on some of the cinematic, literary, and philosophical inspirations that contribute to its unique formula, and considers its legacy.

Please note: This seminar will use as a runway the multi-week course Dr. Wright taught in the fall of 2017, “From Mr. Chips to Scarface”: The Artistic and Moral Legacy of Breaking Bad. That course is NOT a prerequisite for this seminar; those of you who took it may tread some familiar ground before heading into previously uncharted territory.

Remote Classroom: The Immortal Cinema of Agnès Varda

Taught by Lisa DeNight, Discussion Moderator, BMFI

Miss this seminar at BMFI? Stream it now.

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From her directorial debut in 1954 to her final film in 2019, Agnès Varda was an essential voice in world cinema, endowed with an eclectic artistry that extended to her work in photography, performance, installations, and writing. This seminar will focus on her career as an innovator in fiction and documentary films, spanning French New Wave classics like Cléo from 5 to 7 (1962) and Le Bonheur (1965), to documentaries such as The Gleaners and I (2000), and her Oscar-nominated Faces Places (2017). Varda’s style and form evolved over the course of her career, yet her themes and concerns remained constant: cultural, social, and gender politics; community and family; aging and death; stories of women, and of those marginalized by society. Join us to explore the playful, poignant, and profound cinematic world of Agnès Varda.

Please note: This online seminar is based on the instructor’s four-week course of the same name that was taught at Bryn Mawr Film Institute in February 2020.

 

Remote Classroom: The Language of Film

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

Have you wanted to take a course at BMFI, but your schedule wouldn't allow it? Was it hard to commit to four consecutive weekly sessions because of other engagements? Well, now's your chance! Join us for an at-home version of our flagship film studies course, The Language of Film. Each two-hour, thoroughly interactive Zoom session will include clips, discussion, and lecture (and a break), and each student will receive electronic readings and access to videos of each session. Unlike our Film Studies Online discussion series, no additional rentals or purchases are necessary for this course. BMFI provides all of the tools for this remote classroom, bringing a streamlined version of our flagship course to your home at a special price.

"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 consist of clips from a wide assortment of films illustrating different aspects of the medium's language, including cinematography, editing, and sound, and the ways in which filmmakers use them to communicate with the audience.

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!

 

Remote Classroom: Thou Shalt Not: Pre-Code Hollywood

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

Miss this seminar at BMFI? Stream it now.

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To the casual observer, the period when the late 1960s bled into the 1970s was the most shocking era for Hollywood film, but historians of American cinema recount a time when, in comparison to cultural mores, Hollywood was more unbridled, salacious, and subversive than at any other: the pre-Code era. This period, 1930-1934, saw the self-censorship regime that was foisted upon the film industry by religious, social, and governmental pressures—the Production Code—instituted in letter, though not yet in spirit, resulting in a fig leaf of decency that gave Hollywood license to be even more licentious than before in films like King Kong (1933), Baby Face (1933), and those starring the poster-woman for the era, Mae West.


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