Film takes a starring role in this course exploring the emergence of a new medium that was set to capture the world’s imagination. Explore the birth of film and the end of Queen Victoria’s epic reign.
Roll up! Roll up! Take your seats for the ‘Living Picture’ craze! In this course we journey back to the end of the Victorian era; a time of intense modernisation and unprecedented change. Using the BFI’s unique collection of surviving Victorian films we will debate common myths about the period and the materials, as well as examine what the films reveal about the society that produced them.
We will be your expert guides to these incredible films, leading you through the many spectacles and curiosities made during film’s formative years, 1895-1901.
What topics will you cover?
– In Week 1 we will investigate the late Victorian period in Britain. We’ll unravel and discuss common myths about the era, and examine what Victorian films reveal about the society that produced them.
– In Week 2 we take a trip around the Victorian world. We’ll examine how film became a key medium to explore this rapidly-changing world, both at home and abroad. You’ll also discover why a phantom ride isn’t as scary as it sounds, and have the opportunity to make your own to share with your peers.
– In Week 3 we take a trip into the Victorian mind. What did audiences watch and why? What made them laugh and cry? We’ll examine a wide variety of films from comedies and trick films to serious dramas and adaptations.
Innovation, invention and dynamism characterise these filmic spectacles and you’ll be asked to draw parallels to our own multimedia landscape. We’ll conclude the course with a programming exercise that will bring together all that you’ve learnt during the last three weeks.
What will you achieve?
By the end of the course, you’ll be able to…
– Recognise different types of the earliest film materials made in the UK between 1895 and 1901.
– Demonstrate an understanding of how myths and stereotypes of the period have developed and explain what viewpoints might be more appropriate.
– Assess and discuss the origins of film (and film projection) and be able to identify who the key personalities were in its development.
– Show some comprehension of the period – the tastes and fashions, along with the entertainment industry itself – by creating a curated film programme for a specific audience.
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