This course focuses on the theories of film that marked the first fifty years of the field of Cinema Studies. Topics and authors include: film language and film form (Sergei Eisenstein, André Bazin), the relationship between film and reality (Siegfried Kracauer, Bazin), film as a narrative art form (Tom Gunning, David Bordwell), authorship and genre (Andrew Sarris, Peter Wollen, Thomas Schatz, Leo Braudy, Rick Altman, and Robin Wood), and psychology and ideology (Christian Metz, Laura Mulvey).

Before the conclusion of this course, students should be able to:

  1. Exhibit an understanding of the theoretical developments that defined the first fifty years of Cinema Studies (mastery will be assessed by short response papers)
  2. Exhibit an understanding of how film theory can be utilized to analyze film and mass media in general (mastery will be assessed by classroom participation, quizzes, and short response papers)
  3. Exhibit the ability to engage critically with theoretical texts, both in terms of thinking and writing (mastery will be assessed by short response papers).


This course focuses on the presentation of information and opinions to live audiences with particular emphasis on working in teams, oral communication skills, and the incorporation of digital media.