It’s been a few years since I last enrolled on a course at the University of Edinburgh as part of their Open Studies series, but I’m tempted to head back this Autumn as the new Film, Media & Contemporary Cultures programme is announced.
Out of the 14 courses on offer from September, I have personal experience of Douglas Dougan’s Screenwriting 1: an introduction to Writing for Film and Television, which I was a part of in 2006.
Full of enthusiasm and inspiration, Douglas gives some great examples on the course, encouraging his class to look at the world around them for new ideas.
I’ve also taken a course by David Melville Wingrove, a superb tutor with an encyclopedic knowledge of film who can expound at length on everything cinema-related and who is more than happy to listen to the ramblings of his students.
David is taking the brilliantly titled Heaven, Hell and Hollywood – Sacred Imagery on Film course. He’ll be viewing such diverse genres as Biblical epics, fantasy and horror films, art, exploitation and underground classics, exploring the ‘hidden history’ linking cinema and church.
David is also contributing to Spanish Film and Language, allowing students of Spanish to further their knowledge of Spanish and Latin American language and culture through the medium of cinema.
Elsewhere there’s French Film and Language, a similar idea to the Spanish course, British Cinema, looking at the unique style and culture of British films through the decades and Film and Revolution, covering the period from the Russian Avant Garde of the twenties, the late Nouvelle Vague and its remains in France in the sixties and the political films of Italy amongst many others.
Other course titles include An Introduction to the Arab World and the Levant, At the Edges of their World: international cinema and people on the margins and perhaps my favourite, Zombies, Cat People & Body Snatchers – The RKO Horror Films of Val Lewton.
As the website description says, “Between 1942 and 1946 Val Lewton produced several superior horror films including I Walked with a Zombie and Cat People.
“These films have long been admired as Classics of the Horror/Fantasy genre, but what did such films have to say about the social conditions in which they were produced. This course will examine Lewton’s work in the context of the American home front during World War 2 and what they had to say about the anxiety and sadness of the times.”
Here are a couple of trailers for I Walked with a Zombie and Cat People:
If you love cinema, live in Edinburgh, have some free evenings this Autumn and above all have some spare cash, I’d recommend signing up to one of these classes.
I’m off to book my place on the Val Lewton season now…
Head over to the University of Edinburgh Open Studies website to find out more.