That's pretty much what happened with me. I went to college in the late 70s and there were a number of great film courses. Some of that stuff is so radical that you really do need someone to guide you through it at first. It's almost like learning a new language. But then I went out exploring on my own as well.
I'm also a big Cocteau fan.
Cocteau very well rounded, check out on youtube, george melies films if you want to see real film history. he directed in the late 1890's early 1900's. its amazing b/c your watching films that are over 100 yrs old.