History of Film: 1935-2018
25B | CCN: 25105
M/W 2:00-3:30pm; M 3:30-6:00pm, Dwinelle 188
In this introductory survey course we will examine the history of cinema from the impact on national cinemas of the rise of Fascism in 1930s Europe through the international development of film as a transformative technology, art form, and commercial medium up to the present time. In addition to our main textbook, we will also draw on material from The Oxford History of World Cinema edited by Geoffrey Nowell-Smith and Flashback: A Brief History of Film by Louis Gianetti and Scott Eyman, as well as the scholarship of such film theorists and historians as Tom Gunning, Charles Musser, Linda Williams, John Belton, Hamid Naficy, Thomas Elsaesser, Henry Jenkins, Lev Manovich, and many others, in discussing the way certain landmark short and feature films reflect social, political, and ideological changes through the decades. The objectives of this course are to:
1. familiarize the students with the major technological and aesthetic innovations of the past 80 years which have given rise to the cinema as we know it today;
2. foster students’ awareness of the economic, social and political contexts in which sound cinema developed, and the impact which cinema had, in turn, on nations, cultures, and historical events; and
3. give students a clear sense of the major movements in post-1935 cinema (including classical and post-classical Hollywood cinema, experimental, documentary, and avant-garde cinema, Italian Neo-Realism, French Poetic Realism and New Wave, Third Cinema, Political Cinema of the 1960s-‘70s, and film in the era of global multimedia) and how those movements intertwined with critical, theoretical, and popular responses to the medium.
Attendance is required both in class and in the weekly screening lab. There will be a mid-term exam and a final exam, along with a number of short in-class quizzes on assigned readings and screenings. Students should expect to read to a lot, take notes in class, and study films in terms of the historical developments they represent.