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RCA only

Pleasure and Utopia Film Screening Series – Led by Barry Curtis

26 November 2018 | 5.30pm – 8pm

28 January 2019 | 5.30pm – 8pm

25 February 2019 | 5.30pm – 8pm

25 March 2019 | 5.30pm – 8pm

29 April 2019 | 5.30pm – 8pm

20 May 2019 | 5.30pm – 8pm

Kensington, Lecture Theatre 1


This programme of screenings focuses on ‘pleasure’ and its link to the ways in which Hollywood addressed audiences at the height of its popularity – that is, between the coming of ‘talkies’ in the late 1920s and the dismantling of the studio system by the 1960s. The screenings attempts to examine a selection of films in the light of Richard Dyer’s influential essay ‘Entertainment and Utopia’ in order to try to understand how the complex operations of genre, narrative, performance, cinematography and ideology were so successful in constituting an audience for cinema. 

The lecture series will need to make the effort to understand how ‘original’ audiences were positioned and what kinds of pleasures they sought and derived. As ‘the past is a foreign country’ – this will require a process of temporal translation, and an openness to timely fantasies and aspirations. Be prepared for musicals, westerns, detective fictions and melodramas – and the complex orchestration of scenario building, editing, narrative structures and the complex phenomena of ‘stardom’, ‘authenticity’ and the management of expectations. Each film will be introduced with a brief contextualising talk and followed by an optional discussion.

The Politics of the Gaze Reading Group has been organised by the College-wide Critical and Historical Studies Programme. It will be held on from 5.30–8pm on these Mondays: 

26 November 2018

28 January 2019

25 February 2019

25 March 2019

29 April 2019

20 May 2019

For more information please email