Undergraduate Courses

FAM2004F Introduction to the History of Cinema

NQF credits: 24 at HEQSF level 6.

Second year, first-semester course, 3 lectures, weekly tutorials and screenings.


Dr Alexia Smit

Entrance requirements

FAM1000S and FAM1001F, or at the discretion of the Head of Department.


By the end of the course, students will have gained a broad knowledge of the histories of cinemas, appropriate theories of cinema and will have improved their analytical skills and writing abilities.

Course outline

This course offers a broad survey of the histories of cinemas and their social, cultural and political contexts from the silent era through to contemporary film. Students will engage with works by some of the major creative figures across global film cultures such as Charlie Chaplin, Sol Plaatjie, Jean-Luc Godard, Djibril Diop Mambety, Vittorio de Sica, Satyajit Ray, Martin Scorsese, Spike Lee,
Julie Dash, Mira Nair, Lars von Trier and Lynne Ramsay, and with a wide variety of theoretical perspectives that illuminate the films.

Course structure

The course comprises a lecture series, weekly tutorials and screenings.

1. Lectures: 5th period, Monday Tuesday and Wednesday

2. Tutorials: All students attend 1 tutorial per week.

3. Screenings: Fridays, 6th period - 8th period

DP requirements:

All written work must be submitted by the stipulated dates. Students who miss more than two tutorials will lose their DPs.


Tutorial exercises 30%, 2 essays of 2500 words each (20% each), 1 two-hour exam (30%).