Artesis Plantijn Hogeschool Antwerpen
Koninklijke Academie van Antwerpen
History of Film 1: first half 20th century34348/2803/2223/1/40
Study guide

History of Film 1: first half 20th century

Academic year 2022-23
Is found in:
  • Bachelor of Arts in Visual Arts, programme stage 3
    Choice package:
    • aan opleidingsonderdelen naar keuze
    • aan opleidingsonderdelen naar keuze I
  • Bachelor of Arts in Visual Arts
    Choice package:
    • Elective courses
This is a single course unit.
Study load: 3 credits
Co-ordinator: Ubben Eric
Languages: English
Scheduled for: Semester 1
This course unit is marked out of 20 (rounded to an integer).
Possible deadlines for learning account: 31.10.2022 ()
Re-sit exam: is possible.
Possibility of deliberation: You have to pass this course unit (will never be deliberated).
Total study time: 24,00 hours


There are no prerequisites for this course.

Short description

History of Film 1 is an optional subject aimed at visual arts students. It deals with the stylistic evolution of film and the important technical milestones. The (audio) visual references are the most important and distinctively different compared to communication or film studies.This course is provided as a distance learning subject. It covers the first part of film history from pre cinematography until World War Two.

Divided in semi autonomous case studies, we'll deal with the most important landmarks after the introduction of Dickson/Edison's kinetoscope. After this some of the significant film directors are highlighted; Méliès, Porter, Griffith, ... and an overview of movements/genres and technological landmarks.

This course will be offered via distance learning until further notice.

Prerequisite competencies (text)

The student has a basic knowledge of history and more specific art history of modern times.

Learning outcomes (list)

BA3 - The student knows about and understands the social, cultural, artistic, historical and international context of the visual arts and artistic praxis, and continues to develop this knowledge and understanding.
The student has knowledge of and understands that two new innovations (sound on film and technicolor) had a profound impact on film production. Both in a positive as in a negative sense.
The student has knowledge of the societal changes after the first world war and the great depression.
The student has acquired an insight in the new genres (Slapstick, Historical drama, Western,…) and movements such as the German Expressionism, Soviet Montage School, Surrealism and Poetic Realism.
The student knows about and understands that annimated film will also be subject to a small revolution and that directions in European animation developed in a different direction compared to its N.American sibling.
The student knows and understands that the so called B&W silent era is actually a misinterpretation.
The students knows about and understands the notion of fictional narrative medium (Méliès, Porter, Griffith), its popularity and how it outgrowths the nickelodeons and dime theaters to move to Film Theaters.
The student knows about the evolution of the newly born film medium, from its precursors (Plateau, Marey, Mubridge,…) to the bridging innovators; Dickson/Edison and the Lumière Brothers.

Course content

History of film 1 will help you get acquainted with an overview of the evolution from the late 19th century until the outbreak of WWII. Within the limited scope of this optional course, the seminal historical chapters in understanding film will be included. Pre-cinematography, Méliès, Porter, Griffith, but also movements like the Soviet Montage, German Expressionism, Surrealism and French Poetic Realism will be studied. The introduction of sound and color are equally important technical milestones. The start of World War II will leave the Hollywood producers as the dominant players for several years.

Study material (text): Mandatory

Film History by Bordwell/Thompson is a loose leaf reader and available in the academy library. PPT and several fragments are at hand on Digital. On line lectures will be provided on MS Teams on a fixed weekly date.

Educational organisation (list)

Learning Activities
Lectures and / or tutorials24,00 hours

Evaluation (list)

Evaluation(s) for first exam chance
Semester 1Research Assignment100,00

Evaluation (text)

At the end of the first semester, the student is invited to present a paper on a specific film, director or movement. A six pages paper (incl. illustrations and sources) will be hand end on the deadline as noted on the exam pages.