Centre for Continuing Education

A History of World Cinema Course with David Stratton

Film. Focus on cinema.

Appreciate and learn about film the smart way with Film courses at CCE, The University of Sydney.

David Stratton
David Stratton was the director of the Sydney Film Festival from 1966-1983. He contributes film reviews to The Australian, and is the author of two books on Australian cinema: The Last New Wave and The Avocado Plantation. From 1981-2004 he presented films on SBS Television and was, with Margaret Pomeranz, co-host of The Movie Show from 1986-2004. In July 2004, Margaret and David moved to ABC television with their show, At The Movies, which aired until 2014.

David Stratton’s History of World Cinema course explores in great detail the development and trends of world cinema in chronological order. This unique ten-year series on the history of world cinema, is a rare opportunity to participate in this very personal but immensely informative survey of international cinema from its origins.

Two courses from the 10-year series will be scheduled every year, each covering a segment of cinematic history across 12 highly informative 3-hour sessions (please see course detail above for the time period being examined during each course). Extensive film excerpts will be screened and, at many sessions, a feature will screen in full. In addition, documentation provided will contextualise the films by highlighting the most important social and political events occurring during the period covered.

Course Timetable

For the 10-year period (2009-2018) this series is offered, the following provides indicative information about the content of each course and the period covered. This information may be subject to change.

1944-1945

Feb 2013 (Completed)
This film course covers the period 1944-1945. As World War II finally comes to an end, the cinema enters its most popular period with record admissions all over the world. From Hollywood, these years are notable for being the real start of the series of thrillers known today as film noir, along with the beginning of a great era in movie musicals. British and French cinemas are also entering one of their greatest periods.

1946-1947

Sep 2013 (Completed)
This unique cinema history continues with a close look at the post-war period as reflected by cinema around the world. This class covers the period 1946-1947. Especially notable during these two years are the origins of the Blacklist, as McCarthyism took hold in America, and the numerous fine examples of film noir emanating from Hollywood. In addition, this was the start of the richest period for British cinema and there was a new mood among filmmakers across much of Europe, especially Italy, with the arrival of neo-realism. A feature will screen at each session as well as numerous clips.

1948-1949

Feb 2014 (Completed)
This class covers the period 1948-1949.

1950-1951

Sep 2014 (Completed)
This class covers the period 1950-1951.

1952-1953

Feb 2015 (Completed)
The years under review saw the transformation of screen sizes from the old ‘square’ ratio to a variety of wide screen systems, notably CinemaScope. This was also the height of the Cold War when many blacklisted American filmmakers relocated to Europe to find work there. We will look at all the major films of the period, with a feature in full screened at each session, plus many excerpts. Questions and comments are welcome at the conclusion of the screening.

1954-1955

Sep 2015 (Completed)
The History of World Cinema course continues with the years 1954 and 1955 in the spotlight. We look at the famous, and not-so-famous, films from most of the world’s major film producing countries. A feature film will screen at each session and there will be numerous film excerpts and other information to help explore the trends, directions and themes of cinema throughout the world, though the emphasis is on the films of the US.

1956-1957

Feb 2016 (Completed)
The History of World Cinema course continues with the years 1956 and 1957 in the spotlight. We look at the famous, and not-so-famous, films from most of the world’s major film producing countries. A feature film will screen at each session and there will be numerous film excerpts and other information to help explore the trends, directions and themes of cinema throughout the world.

1958-1959

Sep 2016 (Enrolments Open)
The History of World Cinema course continues with the years 1958 and 1959 in the spotlight. This section of the course covers two crucial years in which new directions in European cinema – France, Italy and the U.K. - led to a massive injection of new talent, both before and behind the camera. American cinema also thrived during this period, even though the Hollywood studios were starting to decline. Classic films and rare movies will be explored. A feature film will screen at each session, as well as numerous excerpts, and documentation provided will contextualise the films with reminders of the political, social and cultural events occurring worldwide during this period.

1960-1961

Feb 2017 (Enrolments Open)
David Stratton’s unique course enters its 9th year. This segment will focus entirely on films made all over the world in the crucial years 1960-1961, when – following on from the revolution in French cinema in 1958-9 – Italian and British filmmakers entered into a period of enormous creativity. Mainstream Hollywood films will be discussed along films from very many other countries. A feature film will screen at each session, along with many excerpts.

Course descriptions and years covered for the remaining dates to 2018 will be updated here when available.

Features

  • Expert trainers
  • Central locations
  • Small class sizes
  • Free, expert advice
  • Student materials – yours to keep
  • Certificate of completion

What others say.

  • It’s a brilliant course. I feel so blessed having such a tutor. Often I think I’d never in my life have the opportunity to see such interesting and often rare films and then to have such expert knowledge to guide us just adds to the enjoyment. This course is addictive.

  • As always, an excellent course which dramatically increases my knowledge of films, culture and history.

  • Thanks to the presenter for the enormous about of work and love that continues to be put into this History of World Cinema. Essential for anyone interested in the art and history of cinema.

  • Another extremely informative History Of World Cinema series. Confirms the presenter’s legend status. Fascinating main features and the many clips offer further films to explore. The semester just flew by!

  • Always good to have these wonderful nights to come back to when life deals out too many curves.

  • Hugely entertaining and informative. We hope this course never ends! We love every moment. It’s the highlight of our week.

  • Interesting and enjoyable course with good commentary to enrich clips and films.

  • The course is quite an outstanding overview of the history of World Cinema. Hugely informative with well chosen clips. A great experience.

  • An engaging and entertaining host who makes every movie shown to us special. The presenter’s passion for movies is infectious.

  • Another superb series in this unique overview of world cinema by the doyen of all things cinematic.

  • I have been attending these classes for eighteen years now and they keep getting better and better!

  • Every Thursday night was the highlight of my week, thanks to this course!

  • As always this course is a wonderful cinema experience.

  • The tutor’s choice of films and comments, both useful and humorous were brilliant as always.

  • Superb selection of clips and feature length films which reflects the tutor’s extraordinary love and knowledge of world cinema. A national treasure of film as your lecturer and guide to the many delights of film is something to savour.

  • Excellent course. The tutor’s knowledge of cinema is extraordinary and the care and love they invest in the selection of clips and feature length films needs to be acknowledged and praised.

  • The tutor is a national treasure, and I will keep watching films with them as long as the world keeps letting me do it.

  • Fascinating subject matter with excellent delivery, variety and pace.

  • I wish I had heard of this course earlier! I will be enrolling in it again next year for sure. The tutor is wonderful!

  • We are incredibly lucky to have one of the worlds foremost film critics and historians as our lecturer. Long may he continue with Continuing Ed!

  • Wonderful course with an exceptionally knowledgeable tutor.

  • I thoroughly enjoyed the course, learnt a lot and admire the tutor’s vast storehouse of knowledge.

  • The tutor provides great insight into films I otherwise might never have thought to watch. A great way to spend a Thursday night!

  • It is such a pleasure to go along to this course – as usual the presentations were informative, interesting, entertaining.

  • The fact that I have done this course for the 7 semesters (3 and a half years) would indicate that I reckon its pretty good!

  • This is a thorough grounding in film history that is a fascinating experience to enjoy.

A History of World Cinema Course with David Stratton
University of Sydney (Venue TBA)
$295 inc GST

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This unique program on cinema history continues with a close look at the post-war period as reflected by cinema around the world. This course covers the period 1960-1961.
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