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FILM 2700: History of Cinema

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Instructor: Dr. Virginia Bonner

vbonner@clayton.edu :-)
678-466-4713 :-(    
678-466-4769 fax

Web Address:


Office hours: Scheduled via AdvisorConnect, met by email, phone, & by appt. in Music 105 or via Teams
Spring 2021
3-0-3 credit hours
FILM 2100 with a minimum grade of C
Lectures: Section 90 CRN 23167 MW 9:50-11:05am online


On your own on Streaming, on DVD, and via Library Reserve

Course Objectives

This course explores this history of cinema from the silent era through today. It focuses less on the history of the Hollywood and international film industry, and more on the historic films and filmmakers themselves. The goal is to expose you, as aspiring filmmakers, to key historical texts--the better to show you what innovations came before, and what can inspire your own future filmmaking.

Our course will approach this history of film roughly chronologically, in several distinct but interrelated phases: Silent Cinema, Sound Cinema, Postwar Cinema, and Contemporary Cinema. We will study films selected from Hollywood, indepenedent, and international examples.

Course Format

Our class will cover one or more films per week, and these films are really the heart of our course. Generally we'll first have an introductory lecture and/or discussion of the readings, which will be followed by a film screening on your own. Then we'll discuss the film in light of the assigned readings. There is no paper required for this course, but you will be responsible for weeky quizzes, two exams, and thoughtful discussion responses to our weekly films and readings.

Always arrive five minutes early to class lectures, not only because we will start promptly but also because late arrivals are extremely disruptive. If you must arrive late, enter the room quietly and sit quietly on the aisle; do not step over people to get to a favorite seat, since this blocks the view of the screen for others. Do not text, eat loud foods, sleep, answer cell phones, operate computers, check email, work on other projects, talk with classmates or talk back to the screen loudly, or leave the room for food or other non-emergencies during class lectures; these are a time for serious study of our film texts so you should be taking copious notes to prepare for your quizzes, class discussions, and exams. You may wish to bring a penlight to classes to help you take notes in the dark. Anyone behaving disruptively during class will be asked to leave.

Film Screenings

Please note that the film screenings are mandatory, as this material will be the subject matter of our weekly quizzes and our exams. If you do not plan to view the films, you should drop the course. We will view additional excerpts from selected films during class lectures.

You do not need to purchase these films. Most of our assigned films are available for free via streaming hyperlinks posted on D2L or occasionally Netflix or Amazon. Unless our syllabus indicates otherwise, do NOT watch our films via YouTube segments; the poor video and audio quality often makes this is a terrible way to study movies!

Note: Some of the films in this series contain violence, profanity, drug usage, and/or frank sexual content. These films are intended for mature audiences and are not suitable for children under 17 who are unaccompanied by an adult. If you are disturbed by R-rated and unrated film content, contact the instructor.

Required Texts (Available at the campus bookstore or Amazon.com)

1.   Thompson, Kristin and David Bordwell, Film History: An Introduction 4th Edition (FH)

2.    Readings online or on reserve in the Library.

3.   Required weekly films (free streaming hyperlinks via D2L or available free on DVD reserve in library, plus a few Amazon Instant Video rentals.)

Optional Texts

1.    Bordwell, David and Kristin Thompson. Film Art: An Introduction. New York: McGraw-Hill. (FA) also on on reserve in Library.

Course textbooks & some films are available on reserve the library

Disability Services

Disability Services Statement:  Individuals with disabilities who need to request accommodations should contact the Disability Resource Center, Edgewater Hall, Suite 255; 678-466-5445; DisabilityResourceCenter@clayton.edu

Note: If you have added this course during the schedule change period and/or were not present for the syllabus review the first day of class, you are required to meet with the instructor the following week to review course requirements and policies.