The Language of Film

Presented by Ashish Pant

This workshop will be held online via Zoom: 

There are films that leave an imprint on us, films we cannot forget, films that we return to over and over again. Why do certain films have such an effect on us? How do these films speak to us so personally?

In this class we will learn how to “read” films, just like we read a book, or musicians read a score. In this class we will learn the language of film which is unique to its medium. We will acquire a critical vocabulary and a framework to be able to look at any film and decode how and why it works emotionally. This class will turn us from passive viewers of film to active viewers with an appreciation of the underlying mechanics of what makes a film work. We will watch a few iconic films that have pushed the limits of the medium. We will also watch numerous clips from films and do readings that equip us to become educated in film.

This class is useful for anyone who works in film in any capacity, anyone who wants to make film, and anyone who simply loves film. For those who work in film, this class provides a holistic view of what goes into the production of a film. For instance, for an actor this means becoming a more educated collaborator on set by both acquiring a critical vocabulary and knowledge of other cinematic elements that are used in making a film. For those who want to make film, this class provides a good foundation in where to begin and also introduces you to an array of cinematic styles from across the world. For those who love film, this class offers an opportunity to engage more deeply with the medium.

Film assigned for each class must be seen before the class so that it can be discussed in the class:

  • Session #1: Pan’s Labyrinth (Del Toro) & Knife In The Water (Polanski)
  • Session #2: Vertigo (Hitchcock) & Rear Window (Hitchcock)
  • Session #3: Memories of Murder (Bong Joon-Ho) & High & Low (Kurosawa)
  • Session #4: In The Mood For Love (Wong Kar-Wai) & Still Walking (Kore-eda)
  • Session #5: Close-Up (Kiarostami) & Locke (Knight)

Students will be required to watch a film prior to each class. These films can be rented/viewed on streaming platforms and/or on the internet. You may be able to find some streaming for free, but otherwise each costs about $2.99-3.99 to rent. Please plan for this extra cost of $15-25 in film rentals.

There are no textbooks required for the class but the instructor will be providing handouts. The instructor will also share copies of the slide presentations made in the class.