This course surveys the history of world film from cinema’s precursors to 1945. We will develop methods for analyzing film while examining the growth of film as an art, an industry, and a political instrument. The course begins with the emergence of film technology and early film audiences. We will then look at the rise of narrative film and the birth of Hollywood before turning to a number of national film industries that flourished after World War I, including French, Italian, Soviet, German, Japanese, Chinese, and Indian film. Along the way, we will look at different genres and topics including African-American independent film during the silent era, animation, ethnographic and documentary film, censorship, and the coming of sound. We conclude with the transformation of several film industries into propaganda tools during World War II (including the Nazi, Soviet, and US film industries). There are no prerequisites. Requirements include a short essay, a research project, a midterm, and a final.
Fulfills the Arts and Letters Sector (All Classes).