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Film Studies

Film Studies Online Library

Catch up on previous Film Studies Online offerings below. You can also visit the Ask Andrew page to learn more about the world of film from weekly videos in which our resident film expert answers your questions about the movies.

Online Film Discussion: 12 Angry Men • Monday, August 3

Online Film Discussion: 12 Angry Men
Monday, August 3, at 6:30 pm

Watch the introductory video before streaming 12 ANGRY MEN.

Introduction

Find 12 ANGRY MEN on your preferred viewing platform here.

Online Film Discussion: A Face in the Crowd • Monday, March 23

Online Film Discussion: A Face in the Crowd
Monday, March 23, at 6:30 pm.

Watch the introductory video before streaming A FACE IN THE CROWD:

Introduction

Where to rent A FACE IN THE CROWD:

Amazon
Google Play
iTunes
Vudu
YouTube
Movies! Channel

Online Film Discussion: A Streetcar Named Desire • Monday, October 5

Online Film Discussion: A Streetcar Named Desire
Monday, October 5, at 6:30 pm

Watch the introductory video before streaming A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE.

Introduction

Find A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE on your preferred viewing platform here.

Online Film Discussion: Blow Out • Monday, July 20

Online Film Discussion: Blow Out
Monday, July 20, at 6:30 pm

Watch the introductory video before streaming BLOW OUT.

Introduction

Find BLOW OUT on your preferred viewing platform here.

Online Film Discussion: Cat People (1942) • Monday, October 12

Online Film Discussion: Cat People (1942)
Monday, October 12, at 6:30 pm

Watch the introductory video before streaming CAT PEOPLE.

Introduction

Find CAT PEOPLE on your preferred viewing platform here.

Online Film Discussion: Forbidden Planet • Monday, May 4

Online Film Discussion: Forbidden Planet
Monday, May 4, at 6:30 pm.

Watch the introductory video before streaming FORBIDDEN PLANET:

Introduction

Find FORBIDDEN PLANET on your preferred viewing platform here

Online Film Discussion: High Noon • Monday, June 8

Online Film Discussion: High Noon
Monday, June 8, at 6:30 pm.

Watch the introductory video before streaming HIGH NOON.

Introduction

Find HIGH NOON on your preferred viewing platform here.

Online Film Discussion: Imitation of Life (1959) • Monday, May 11

Online Film Discussion: Imitation of Life (1959)
Monday, May 11, at 6:30 pm.

Watch the introductory video before streaming IMITATION OF LIFE:

Introduction

Find IMITATION OF LIFE on your preferred viewing platform here

Online Film Discussion: In a Lonely Place • Monday, July 13

Online Film Discussion: In a Lonely Place
Monday, July 13, at 6:30 pm

Watch the introductory video before streaming IN A LONELY PLACE.

Introduction

Find IN A LONELY PLACE on your preferred viewing platform here.

Online Film Discussion: Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) • Monday, August 31

Online Film Discussion: Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)
Monday, August 31, at 6:30 pm

Watch the introductory video before streaming INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS.

Introduction

Find INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS on your preferred viewing platform here.

Online Film Discussion: Klute • Monday, June 1

Online Film Discussion: Klute
Monday, June 1, at 6:30 pm.

Watch the introductory video before streaming KLUTE.

Introduction

Find KLUTE on your preferred viewing platform here.

Online Film Discussion: Laura • Monday, March 30

Online Film Discussion: Laura
Monday, March 30, at 6:30 pm.

Watch the introductory video before streaming Laura:

Introduction

Where to rent LAURA:

Amazon
YouTube
Google Play
Vudu

Online Film Discussion: Out of the Past • Monday, August 24

Online Film Discussion: Out of the Past
Monday, August 24, at 6:30 pm

Watch the introductory video before streaming OUT OF THE PAST.

Introduction

Find OUT OF THE PAST on your preferred viewing platform here.

Online Film Discussion: Paths of Glory • Monday, June 29

Online Film Discussion: Paths of Glory
Monday, June 29, at 6:30 pm.

Watch the introductory video before streaming PATHS OF GLORY.

Introduction

Find PATHS OF GLORY on your preferred viewing platform here.

Online Film Discussion: Rear Window • Monday, April 6

Online Film Discussion: Rear Window
Monday, April 6, at 6:30 pm.

Watch the introductory video before streaming REAR WINDOW:

Introduction

Where to rent REAR WINDOW:

Amazon
YouTube
Google Play
Vudu

Online Film Discussion: Rocky • Monday, April 20

Online Film Discussion: Rocky
Monday, April 20, at 6:30 pm.

Watch the introductory video before streaming ROCKY:

Introduction

Find ROCKY on your preferred viewing platform here.

Online Film Discussion: Smoke Signals • Monday, September 21

Online Film Discussion: Smoke Signals
Monday, September 21, at 6:30 pm

Watch the introductory video before streaming SMOKE SIGNALS.

Introduction

Find SMOKE SIGNALS on your preferred viewing platform here.

Online Film Discussion: Some Like It Hot • Monday, June 15

Online Film Discussion: Some Like It Hot
Monday, June 15, at 6:30 pm.

Watch the introductory video before streaming SOME LIKE IT HOT.

Introduction

Find SOME LIKE IT HOT on your preferred viewing platform here.

Online Film Discussion: Sweet Smell of Success • Monday, May 18

Online Film Discussion: Sweet Smell of Success
Monday, May 18, at 6:30 pm.

Watch the introductory video before streaming SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS:

Introduction

Find SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS on your preferred viewing platform here

Online Film Discussion: The Best Years of Our Lives • Monday, May 25

Online Film Discussion: The Best Years of Our Lives
Monday, May 25, at 6:30 pm.

Watch the introductory video before streaming THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES.

Introduction

Find THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES on your preferred viewing platform here

Online Film Discussion: The Birds • Monday, October 19

Online Film Discussion: The Birds
Monday, October 19, at 6:30 pm

Watch the introductory video before streaming THE BIRDS.

Introduction

Find THE BIRDS on your preferred viewing platform here.

Online Film Discussion: The Lady Eve • Monday, August 17

Online Film Discussion: The Lady Eve
Monday, August 17, at 6:30 pm

Watch the introductory video before streaming THE LADY EVE.

Introduction

Find THE LADY EVE on your preferred viewing platform here.

Online Film Discussion: The Lady Vanishes • Monday, July 27

Online Film Discussion: The Lady Vanishes
Monday, July 27, at 6:30 pm

Watch the introductory video before streaming THE LADY VANISHES.

Introduction

Find THE LADY VANISHES on your preferred viewing platform here.

Online Film Discussion: The Magnificent Ambersons • Monday, June 22

Online Film Discussion: The Magnificent Ambersons
Monday, June 22, at 6:30 pm.

Watch the introductory video before streaming THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS.

Introduction

Find THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS on your preferred viewing platform here.

Online Film Discussion: The Night of the Hunter • Monday, April 13

Online Film Discussion: The Night of the Hunter
Monday, April 13, at 6:30 pm.

Watch the introductory video before streaming THE NIGHT OF THE HUNTER:

Introduction

Find THE NIGHT OF THE HUNTER on your preferred viewing platform here.

Online Film Discussion: The Swimmer • Monday, September 14

Online Film Discussion: The Swimmer
Monday, September 14, at 6:30 pm

Watch the introductory video before streaming THE SWIMMER.

Introduction

Find THE SWIMMER on your preferred viewing platform here.

Online Film Discussion: The Third Man • Monday, April 28

Online Film Discussion: The Third Man
Monday, April 28, at 6:30 pm.

Watch the introductory video before streaming THE THIRD MAN:

Introduction

Find THE THIRD MAN on your preferred viewing platform here

Online Film Discussion: The World, The Flesh and The Devil • Monday, August 10

Online Film Discussion: The World, The Flesh and The Devil
Monday, August 10, at 6:30 pm

Watch the introductory video before streaming THE WORLD, THE FLESH AND THE DEVIL.

Introduction

Find THE WORLD, THE FLESH AND THE DEVIL on your preferred viewing platform here.

Online Film Discussion: Wild River • Monday, July 6

Online Film Discussion: Wild River
Monday, July 6, at 6:30 pm

Introduction

Watch the introductory video before streaming Wild River. Find Wild River on your preferred viewing platform here.

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

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

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. 

Students will receive email confirmation of their registration immediately, and another email with instructions for joining the class via Zoom about 24 hours before the lecture. Please be sure to check your clutter/junk/spam folders for these emails. If you cannot locate these emails, please email us.

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

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

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.

Students will receive email confirmation of their registration immediately, and another email with instructions for joining the class via Zoom about 24 hours before the lecture. Please be sure to check your clutter/junk/spam folders for these emails. If you cannot locate these emails, please email us.

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.

Students will receive email confirmation of their registration immediately, and another email with instructions for joining the class via Zoom about 24 hours before the lecture.

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

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.

Students will receive email confirmation of their registration immediately, and another email with instructions for joining the class via Zoom about 24 hours before the lecture. Please be sure to check your clutter/junk/spam folders for these emails. If you cannot locate these emails, please email us.

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.

Students will receive email confirmation of their registration immediately, and another email with instructions for joining the class via Zoom about 24 hours before the lecture. Please be sure to check your clutter/junk/spam folders for these emails. If you cannot locate these emails, please email us.

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.

Students will receive email confirmation of their registration immediately, and another email with instructions for joining the class via Zoom about 24 hours before the lecture.

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.

Students will receive email confirmation of their registration immediately, and another email with instructions for joining the class via Zoom about 24 hours before the session.

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 Rwandaare 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. 

Students will receive email confirmation of their registration immediately, and another email with instructions for joining the class via Zoom about 24 hours before the class. Please be sure to check your clutter/junk/spam folders for these emails. If you cannot locate these emails, please email us.

Remote Classroom: Sound Comes to Hollywood

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

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).

Students will receive email confirmation of their registration immediately, and another email with instructions for joining the class via Zoom about 24 hours before the lecture. Please be sure to check your clutter/junk/spam folders for these emails. If you cannot locate these emails, please email us.

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!

Students will receive email confirmation of their registration immediately, and another email with instructions for getting the readings and joining the course via Zoom about 24 hours before the first session.

Remote Classroom: Thou Shalt Not: Pre-Code Hollywood

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

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.

Students will receive email confirmation of their registration immediately, and another email with instructions for joining the class via Zoom about 24 hours before the lecture.

Remote Classroom:Introducing Dorothy Arzner

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

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. 

Students will receive email confirmation of their registration immediately, and another email with instructions for joining the class via Zoom about 24 hours before the class. Please be sure to check your clutter/junk/spam folders for these emails. If you cannot locate these emails, please email us.