Spring 2025

Knowing Cinema

Listed in: Film and Media Studies, as FAMS-213


Timothy J. Van Compernolle (Section 01)


Since its origin in the late nineteenth century, cinema has had a powerful impact on our ways of visualizing and knowing the world. This course will help students understand how films work and work on us and introduce students to the wide-ranging efforts of theorists to know cinema since its beginnings. Our emphasis will be on narrative film, but we will also explore experimental, documentary, and animated works. We will examine a wide range of films from many parts of the world. Through exposure to the great variety of filmmaking and writing about cinema, from the silent era to the digital revolution, students will receive a comprehensive introduction to the formal features of film and to the major debates that inform film studies. Two eighty-minute class meetings and one evening film screening per week.

How to handle overenrollment: Priority will be given to declared FAMS majors and every effort will be made to ensure wide representation across class years.

Students who enroll in this course will likely encounter and be expected to engage in the following intellectual skills, modes of learning, and assessment: emphasis on readings, audio-visual analysis, group discussion, and different ways of writing about film.

Course Materials


Other years: Offered in Spring 2025