Motion pictures have their own special language that enables them to communicate action, ideas, and emotions. During these four, three hour sessions, we will look closely at four basic linguistic tools that most films use.

9/8 Session 1 : Mise-en-Scene

Mise-en-Scene is a term that refers to everything in the implied world of the film. This includes people, costumes, sets, props, lighting, some sound, color and the way these elements are viewed through the camera’s lenses as it moves about. We will look at various approaches to mise-en-scene including selections from Casablanca, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, Double Indemnity, Saving Private Ryan, and Mr. Turner. If time permits, we will screen Casablanca in its entirety.

3 hrs.

9/15 Session 2 : Editing

(Please note: Parental Discretion Advised.)

Editing is the process by which individual shots are joined together. We will explore several different ways that this unique cinematic device can be used including “continuity editing,” “parallel editing,” “analytical editing,” and “montage.” Our examples will be drawn from Casablanca, The Battleship Potemkin, Psycho, and Russian Ark. If time permits, we will screen Sliding Doors in its entirety. 

3 hrs.

9/22 Session 3 : Sound

Sound. In the beginning, movies only had sound in the form of musical accompaniment provided in the theater. Since then, recorded sound has become an indispensible part of movies. In this session, we will consider how music, speech, and sound effects can be used to add meaning to the images on the screen. Our examples will be drawn from Casablanca, The Adventures of Robin Hood, Vertigo and The Passenger. If time permits, we will screen Singin’ in the Rain in its entirety.

3 hrs. 

10/6 Session 4 : Narrative Structure

Narrative Structure. While we often expect the action of films to unfold in chronological order, there are many other possibilities. In our final session, we will look at various components of film narrative and how they can be manipulated to create anticipation, tension, and resolution. Our examples will be drawn from Casablanca, Sunset Boulevard, and Run Lola, Run. We will screen Vertigo in its entirety. Russ Collins will be the guest lecturer.

3 hrs.

About Movies 101

A film education program recommended for adults 18 and over. These 3-hour classes take place on Sundays from 12-3 pm and consists of a lecture followed by a movie. 

Course cost:  $50 (member) / $75 (non-member)

Individual sessions are $15 (member) / $22 (non-member)

Henry Aldridge


Dr. Henry Aldridge is an Emeritus Professor of Film Studies at Eastern Michigan University, as well as an active volunteer at the Michigan Theater. He is the author of the Michigan Theater Book. 

Movies 101 & 201 will return in January & February 2020