English on Screen – Cinema vocabulary, conversation, analysis and history

English on Screen is a 10 week English course that focuses on one on the main areas of popular culture that everyone enjoys – cinema. We look at the useful and practical language that is heard in films and that English speakers use everyday. We study the vocabulary of cinema, cover the history and analyse the best scenes from classic films. The class is designed for conversation and expressing opinion so English learners can practise, learn, study and enjoy English language cinema in a new way.

This multimedia course is for all ages and covers many genres of film but the recommended standard of English is Intermediate.

In each class we watch a few short 2 to 3 minute English language video clips from important English language films and discuss the details of film making within the class. There’s never a shortage of opinion !

The 10 week course is detailed and students are given the vocabulary to prepare before each class. The following is an outline to each class. Each class is 90 minutes.

1. Introduction class

Discover the necessary elements to analyse a film effectively. We will study basic techniques of recording film, the art of film and the film industry

2.  The History of Film – Part I


In this session, we will explore the history of cinema. We will examine some excerpts from important films and directors and follow the development of cinema starting with pre-classical cinema, the rise of the studio system and through to the Golden Age of Hollywood.

3. The History of Film – Part II


Continuing with the history of cinema we look at clips from important films and directors and follow the development of cinema starting with The Foreign Wave in the 1050’s and 1960’s, New Hollywood and the age of the Blockbuster and finishing with Contemporary Cinema.

4. Independent Cinema


We will look at the most prolific independent film directors like David Lynch and Lars Von Trier and identify the different aspects of independent film and its importance in the world of cinema.

5. Documentary Cinema


In this session we will identify the different styles of documentary filmmaking. We will look at extracts of two famous documentaries, Man On Wire and An Inconvenient Truth. We will discuss the effectiveness of these movies and why they are so emotional and powerful.

6. Television


In this session we look at the changing influence television has on cinema and the relationship between them.

7. Anatomy of a scene: Film Analysis


In this session we look deep into specific classic scenes and analyse details such as context, dialogue, use of camera, editing, background and lighting and direction.

8. Film Analysis – example film “Boyhood”


In this session we look at the feature film Boyhood by film director Richard Linklater, which took 12 years to film. As a landmark film in cinema history we will discuss how the film was made and why, and the important issues that are at the heart of this story.

9. Student Presentations

Henry Fonda (12 Angry Men)

In this session we look your selection of film clips from some of your favourite films and discuss their significance. Why is the film important to you? What did you choose this particular scene? Use the cinematic terms and vocabulary from previous classes describe the action, dialogue and technical aspects of the scene.

10. The Future of Cinema

Interstellar imge

In this session we speculate about what will happen to film in the future as the world embraces modern technologies and the changes they bring.

We will also take a look back at vocabulary, concepts and themes discussed during the course.


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