Spring 2024 - CA 135 E100

Introduction to Cinema (3)

Class Number: 6329

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Jan 8 – Apr 12, 2024: Tue, 5:30–8:20 p.m.



An introductory course designed to facilitate a fundamental understanding of film technique, style and form in order to develop the skills with which to analyze films of all genres. Through lectures and screenings it will provide an overview of the social, aesthetic and technical development of motion pictures, introducing tools for the formal analysis of the elements of cinema: cinematography and lighting, art direction, performance, editing, sound and the screenplay. The formal and historical elements of documentary, avant-garde and dramatic films will be addressed. The course will involve the screening and discussion of several complete feature films and shorts, as well as excerpts from others. Students with credit for FPA 135 may not take this course for further credit. Breadth-Humanities.


Introduction to Cinema uses an interdisciplinary method for the study of cinema. The course will use historical and contemporary examples to engage with the formal analysis of film, which is part of the tools in the arsenal of a rigorous film studies education. The course will examine the history of the institutions and receptions of the movies and the new changes in exhibition practices that are changing the ways we experience the movies. Through a combination of class lectures, readings, film clips, and screenings, students will be introduced to the historical-cultural context of film cultures and become acquainted with the various theoretical and methodological approaches to cinema studies and become conversant with the language of cinema and its analysis. The course is divided into three interrelated sections: history, film art, and theory. The first section will focus on the history and development of cinema from Hollywood to other (trans)national sites of cinematic production. The second section will address film art or film aesthetics through the formal analysis of films such as the mise-en-scène, cinematography, editing techniques, and sound design that form the language of the cinema. Finally, the last part of the course will introduce students to film theory, from classical film theory to the rise of high theory in the 70s/80s/90s (including psychoanalytic theory, feminist film theory, queer theory etc.). Students will be exposed not only to films from North America and Europe, but to other national cinemas and film movements, and to key filmmakers from around the world.


Course Learning Outcomes:

• understanding the ways in which films are produced, distributed, and exhibited
• understanding film history within a global context
• understanding the central terminology of film form and technique
• identify and analyze film form
• identify and understand different approaches to cinema studies
• learning to identify and apply central concepts in film theory
• developing critical thinking and writing skills about film from a film studies perspective


  • First Scene Analysis 15%
  • Second Scene Analysis 15%
  • Midterm Exam 25%
  • Paper (1000-1250 words) 20%
  • Final Exam 25%



The Film Experience: An Introduction. 6th Edition, by Timothy Corrigan and Patricia White. Boston: Bedford/St Martins, 2018.

This text will be on reserve; you can also easily buy it used. The 5th edition is fine to use, but you must make sure the chapter content in your copy match the chapters assigned.


Timothy Corrigan, Patricia White, and Meta Mazaj, eds. Critical Visions in Film Theory: Classic and Contemporary Readings. Bedford St. Martin’s, 2011.

Geoffrey Nowell-Smith, ed. Oxford History of World Cinema. Oxford UP, 1996.


Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at: shop.sfu.ca/course-materials/my-personalized-course-materials.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website 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