Undergraduate Degree




DF2009 History of Film

[Studio Contact Hours: 39 hours; Pre-requisites:Nil; Academic Unit: 3.0]




Academic Unit


3 AU

Course Description

Learning Objective

The course examines the context of film over the years from inception as silent till today through lectures, assignments and screenings and encourages dialogue on the socio-political and economic contexts through which film and cinema have developed over the last century.


This course will review the main theories of film so as to achieve a better understanding of the potential of film narrative. It will include a comparative analysis of world films and movements, in addition discuss digital processes in media and how the use of synthetic images and sounds can potentialize the narrative cinema heritage in contemporary world cinema.

Course Outline




• Introduction to course

• From early cinema to David W. Griffith: film as “possibility”

2 - 6

• The Russian silent film contribution

• The avant-garde contribution: film as “art”

• Hollywood: film as “entertainment”

• The sound revolution: film as ”technology”

• Golden era of classical cinema: film as “domain


• Mid-Semester review of assignments

8 - 12

• Reality and documentary: film as “witness”

• WWII and post war years: film as “propaganda”

• Neorealism: film as “social reconstruction”

• The 1960’s: film as “rebellion”

• Latin America: film as “liberation”

• Independent cinema: film as “identity”


• Digital: film as “pixel

13 - 15

• Preparation for exams

Learning Outcome

The students will be able to understand the broad history and chronological developments in film from the silent era to pixel era; to know and apply relevant theoretical frame work to the discussion on the subject of evolution of film; and to develop the ability to understand and articulate their thoughts through critical thinking and writing ability.

Student Assessment

  1. Mid-Term Paper: 40%

  2. Final Assessment: 40%

  3. Class Participation: 20%


    a.         ANDREW, Dudley. The Major Film Theories: An Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University,    1976.

    b.         ARISTOTLE. Poetics. New York: Penguin,1977.

    c.         BAZIN, Andre. What is cinema? Vol.1. Berkeley: University of California, 2004.

    d.         BOGDANOVICH, Peter. This is Orson Welles. New York: Da Capo. 1998.

    e.         BORDWELL, David and THOMPSON, Kristin. Film Art: An Introduction. Berkshire: McGraw-Hill,   2009.

    f.          CIMENT, Michel. Kubrick: The Definitive Edition. London: Faber & Faber, 2003.

    g.         BROWNLOW, Kevin. The Parade’s Gone By. Berkeley: University of California, 1976.

    h.         DOUCHET, Jean. The French New Wave. New York: D.A.P., 1999.

    j.          EISENSTEIN, Sergei. Film Form: Essays in Film Theory. Orlando: Harcourt, 1     969.

    m.        EISENSTEIN, Sergei. The Film Sense. Orlando: Harcourt, 1969.

    n.         EISNER, Lotte H. The Haunted Screen -  Expressionism in the German Cinema and the Influence of Max Reinhardt. Berkeley: University of California, 2008.

    o.         ELSAESSER, Thomas and BARKER, Adam. Early Cinema: Space, Frame, Narrative. London:  British Film Institute, 2008.

    p.         ESSLIN, Martin. An Anatomy of Drama. New York: Hill and Wang, 1977.

    q.         FOSTER, Stephen C. (editor). Hans Richter: Activism, Modernism, and the Avant-Garde. Cambridge: MIT, 2000.

    r.          JAKOBSON, Roman. “Is the Cinema in Decline?” in MATEJKA, Ladislav. Semiotics of Art: Prague School Contributions. Cambridge: MIT, 1984.

    s.         KRACAUER, Siegfried. Theory of Film. New Jersey: Princeton University, 1997.

    t.          KULESHOV, Lev. Kuleshov on Film: Writings by Lev Kuleshov. Berkeley: University of California, 1975.

    u.         LEONE, Eduardo. Reflexões Sobre a Montagem Cinematográfica. Belo Horizonte: Editora UFMG, 2005.

    v.         MARTIN, Michael T. New Latin American Cinema - Volume One - Theory, Practices, and Transcontinental Articulations. Detroit: Wayne State University, 1997.

    w.        METZ, Christian. Film Language – A Semiotics of the Cinema. Chicago: University of Chicago, 1990.

    x.         MURCH, Walter. In the Blink of an Eye. Beverly Hills: Silman-James, 2001.

    y.         OHLIN, Peter. John Grierson and the NFB. Ontario: ECW, 1984. 

    z.         OLDHAM, Gabriella. First Cut: Conversations with Film Editors. Berkeley: University of California, 1995.  

    aa.      ONDAATJE, Michael. The Conversations: Walter Murch and the Art of Editing Film. New York: Knopf, 2004.  

    bb.       PASOLINI, Pier Paolo. Heretical Empiricism. Washington, DC: New Academia, 2005.

    cc.       PUDOVKIN, V. I. Film Technique and Film Acting - The Cinema Writings of V.I. Pudovkin. Peterborough: Sims, 2007.

    dd.       RAY, Satyajit. Our Films Their Films. New Delhi: Orient Longman, 2005.

    ee.       REISZ, Karel and MILLAR, Gavin. Technique of Film Editing. Woburn: Focal Press, 2002.

    ff.         RICHIE, Donald. The Films of Akira Kurosawa. Berkeley: University of California, 1999.

    gg.       SCHNITZER, Luda and Jean and MARTIN, Marcel. Cinema in Revolution – The Heroic Era of Soviet Film. New York: Da Capo, 1973.

    hh.       STAM, Robert. Film Theory: An Introduction. Oxford: Blackwell, 2000.

    kk.       THOMPSON, Kristin and BORDWELL, David. Film History: An Introduction. Berkshire: McGraw-Hill, 2009.

    mm.     TRUFFAUT, François. Hitchcock. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1985.

    nn.       UHDE, Jan and UHDE, Yvonne Ng. Latent Images – Film in Singapore. Singapore: NUS Press, 2010.

    oo.       VASUDEV, Aruna and PADGAONKAR, Latika and DORAISWAMY, Rashmi. Being and Becoming – The Cinemas of Asia. New Delhi: Macmillan India, 2002.

    pp.       VERTOV, Dziga. Kino-Eye: The Writings of Dziga Vertov. Berkeley: University of California, 1985.

    qq.       WILLETT, John (org.). Brecht on Theatre: The Development of an Aesthetic. New York: Hill and Wang, 1977.