Visual and Material Culture: Course

Introduction to Film History

Utin Pablo, Dr., Semester 1, Sunday, 12:30-14:00
This course offers a selective overview of central milestones in the development of the history of cinema, starting from the proto-cinematic toys which were popular during the 19th century, and culminating with the cinema produced during WWII. Particular attention will be given to the national, economic, political and aesthetic context in which dominant cinematic movements emerged (e.g., German Expressionism or Poetic Realism in France), and to particular filmmakers who were able to maintain their own unique voice within the limiting structures in which they were working (e.g., Sergei Eisenstein, Orson Welles, or Charlie Chaplin). Our chronological journey will focus not only on the development of fictional cinema, but also on the evolution of documentary and experimental cinema around the world and throughout the years. We will offer different historical and aesthetic perspectives to study the evolution of the language of cinema, examine the influence of technological developments (like sound and color) on aesthetic traditions in cinema, and evaluate the importance of film genres and auteurs as major tools for analyzing and understanding the history of cinema. The lectures will be accompanied by clips from films and weekly assigned readings.