Languages for All
Short Courses
Your basket
Your account

Women Directors in Focus

Course Times & Enrolment

(Code FM178-101) • (0 classes) Course location to be confirmed •
Sorry, this course is cancelled

Course Summary

Learn more about remarkable and ground-breaking women behind the camera. Over 10 weeks we will examine the works of acclaimed female directors, discuss their careers, formal styles and thematic concerns.  

Course Details

Pre-requisites for enrolment

No prior knowledge required, just an appreciation of lively discussions about cinema.

Content of Course

The course will introduce the career of each filmmaker in turn by looking at her biography set against a wider political and cultural background. We will then look at her landmark films in broadly chronological order, pointing to their shared stylistic concerns, repeated motifs and signature themes. We will discuss favoured genres and the formal innovations introduced by the director.

To broaden knowledge of the director and expand on the content of the lecture, we will focus on one film representative of her body of work and discuss it in greater detail. Here we will consider reviews and other existing critical readings of the film; however, the response of the students will be most valuable.

The analysis of film language will be a key strand throughout the course. We will introduce basic cinematic concepts (cinematography, point of view, editing, mise-en-scène, etc.) which can be immediately applied to the studied films. We will draw attention to such elements as colour, music, narrative structures and genre conventions.

The choice of directors in focus might change from year to year, although the basic framework of the course will remain the same.

Teaching method(s)

Interactive, richly illustrated lectures and critical analysis of film clips along with discussions will give students an opportunity to broaden their knowledge of the director, and of general cinema history and theory. Students will be offered a variety of background reading materials: film reviews, biographies of directors, relevant articles and extracts from books.

Learning outcomes

On completion of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Develop an understanding of formal and narrative techniques employed in the works of these filmmakers;
  2. Recognise the place and meaning of these directors in the history of cinema;
  3. Gain confidence in discussing films along with a broader understanding of the various approaches to studying film.


Core Readings

There is no essential reading. The recommended titles below may be of interest to students, but there is no expectation to purchase any of these books.

  • Levitin, J., Plessis, J. & Raoul, V. (2003). Women Filmmakers Refocusing. Vancouver: UBC Press.
  • Paszkiewicz, K. (2018). Genre, Authorship and Contemporary Women Filmmakers. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Web Sources

The Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film

British Film Institute. 2018. “Women on Film”. Sight & Sound magazine/women-on-film

Birds’ Eye View organisation focused on the female perspective in film

Thirty Great Women Directors by Mubi



If you have questions regarding the course or enrolment, please contact COL Reception at Paterson's Land by email or by phone 0131 650 4400.

Student support

If you have a disability, learning difficulty or health condition which may affect your studies, please let us know by ticking the 'specific support needs' box on your course application form. This will allow us to make appropriate adjustments in advance and in accordance with your rights under the Equality Act 2010. For more information please visit the Student Support section of our website.