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, a technology, and a political instrument. Topics
include the emergence of film technology and early film audiences, the rise of
narrative film and birth of Hollywood, national film industries and movements,
African-American independent film, the emergence of the genre film (the
western, film noir, and romantic comedies), ethnographic and documentary film,
animated films, censorship, the MPPDA and Hays Code, and the introduction of
sound. We will conclude with the transformation of several film industries into
propaganda tools during World War II (including the Nazi, Soviet, and US film
industries). In addition to contemporary theories that investigate the
development of cinema and visual culture during the first half of the 20th
century, we will read key texts that contributed to the emergence of film
theory. There are no prerequisites. Students are required to attend screenings
or watch films on their own.
Fulfills the Arts and Letters Sector (AllClasses).