Fall 2021 - CA 136 D100

The History and Aesthetics of Cinema I (3)

Class Number: 7234

Delivery Method: Remote


  • Course Times + Location:

    Mo 2:30 PM – 5:20 PM

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Dec 12, 2021
    7:00 PM – 10:00 PM



This course will examine the early development of cinema from 1890 until about 1945, with particular emphasis on the fundamental principles of film as an art form. May be of particular interest to students in other departments. Students with credit for FPA 136 may not take this course for further credit. Breadth-Humanities.


An introduction to the aesthetics and history of cinema from its origins until the middle of the 20th Century. Students will be introduced to the cinemas of the United States, Germany, France and Russia/Soviet Union. We will explore the socio-economic, cultural and political contexts of cinema's emergence in the mid-1890s; Early Cinema and the full Silent Era up to the end of the 1920s; the emergence of sound, and the period of Hollywood Classical Cinema and its European alternatives. We’ll look at film’s early innovators, classical Hollywood narrative, the studio system, as well as European and avant-garde cinema, while also paying attention to genres, filmmakers, and moviegoers sometimes marginalized by these traditional narratives. Students will get a fantastic overview of the first 50 years of cinema history and get to know some films and filmmakers they've never encountered.

Delivery methods: in the fall term of 2021, this course will be delivered entirely online through the Canvas platform and Zoom. It will include lecture, online tutorials, film screenings, and other participatory elements. The course will combine synchronous and asynchronous elements.  At present (June 2021), the plan is as follows. (Note, however, that this plan may change and will be finalized before the start of term. )

--Each week students will attend a "live" online lecture (starting at 2:30 pm Vancouver time) of approximately 45 to 90 minutes during the scheduled class time via Zoom or Canvas. These lectures will be recorded and available via Canvas.

--Students will watch weekly film screenings online. Films will be available through Canvas and other online means.

--Students must register for a tutorial and you must be available to attend your tutorial remotely on the day and time for which it is scheduled. Tutorials will be a combination of synchronous and asynchronous elements. Participation will be required.


  • Short essay (approximately 700-1000 words) 20%
  • Midterm 25%
  • Final exam 30%
  • Participation (tutorial) 25%


Assignments and Grading: The following assignments will be part of the term.
Assignments and the grade breakdown may change and will be finalized by the first week of class.


Technical requirements for online learning: Students will need access to internet capable of streaming live lectures and online films. A microphone (such as the built-in mic on a phone or laptop) will be needed for participation. A webcam (such as the built-in cam on your device) will be needed for participation in tutorials.



The Film Experience (6th ed). Timothy Corrigan and Patricia White. You may purchase the e-book or hard copy. Note: you may purchase an earlier edition to save money: you can go back as far as the 4th Edition and it will be fine.

Additional required readings will be made available on Canvas.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html


Teaching at SFU in fall 2021 will involve primarily in-person instruction, with approximately 70 to 80 per cent of classes in person/on campus, with safety plans in place.  Whether your course will be in-person or through remote methods will be clearly identified in the schedule of classes.  You will also know at enrollment whether remote course components will be “live” (synchronous) or at your own pace (asynchronous).

Enrolling in a course acknowledges that you are able to attend in whatever format is required.  You should not enroll in a course that is in-person if you are not able to return to campus, and should be aware that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who may need class or exam accommodations, including in the context of remote learning, are advised to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112) as early as possible in order to prepare for the fall 2021 term.