13703 - Film History Principles

Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course the students: - are familiar with a canon of cinema, based on a selection of representative works and auteurs; - know film history from its origins to the New Hollywood; - know key styles, trends and periods of film history; - understand the historical, economical, technological and social reasons that drove the development of cinema as an expressive form.

Course contents

The program includes the vision and the subsequent recognition of the exemplary films of film history listed in the filmography as an integral part of the complete syllabus, as well as the in-depth analysis of specific issues of film historiography. These films will be framed in the age of their realization; and it will be focused on their aesthetic, stylistic and technological factors, and the sociological, political and economic phenomena that contributed to form them. The course also includes an in-depth study of the classic theories of Hollywood's stardom, the stars as a social phenomenon and as an image, the actor performance, with filmic examples that spanned the 1930s, 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s.


The texts for exam preparation are:

- P. Bertetto (a cura di), Introduzione alla storia del cinema, Utet, Torino 2012;

- F. Casetti, L'occhio del Novecento, Bompiani, Milano 2005 (chapters 1, 2, 4, 6);

- R. Dyer, Star, Kaplan, Torino 2009;

- G. Manzoli, G. Avezzù, C. Bisoni, M. Fadda, P. Noto, S. Pesce, 50 passi nella storia del cinema, Cue Press, Bologna 2018.The ebook version of the book is available on the publisher's website: https://www.cuepress.com/

This text is recommended as an auxiliary tool for film vision.


The vision of the films in bold is to be considered mandatory, the other films on the list can be considered tools for in-depth analysis:

• Early Cinema Anthology (provided by the teacher)

• Avant-Garde Cinema Anthology (provided by the teacher)

1. Cabiria (G. Pastrone, 1914)

2. Nascita di una nazione (D.W. Griffith, 1915)

3. Intolerance (D.W. Griffith, 1916)

4. Il gabinetto del dottor Caligari (R. Wiene, 1919)

5. Nosferatu (F.W. Murnau, 1922)

6. La corazzata Potëmkin (S.M. Ejzenštejn, 1925)

7. Metropolis (F. Lang, 1927)

8. Ottobre (S.M. Ejzenštejn, 1927)

9. Napoléon (A. Gance, 1927)

10. The Cameraman (E. Sedgwick-B. Keaton, 1928)

11. La passione di Giovanna d'Arco (C.T. Dreyer, 1928)

12. La folla (K. Vidor, 1928)

13. L'uomo con la macchina da presa (D. Vertov, 1929)

14. La caduta della casa Usher (J. Epstein, 1928)

15. M - il mostro di Düsseldorf (F. Lang, 1931)

16. Scarface (H. Hawks, 1932)

17. La regina Cristina (R. Mamoulian, 1933)

18. Tempi moderni (C. Chaplin, 1936)

19. Olympia (L. Riefensthal, 1938)

20. Susanna (H. Hawks, 1938)

21. La regola del gioco (J. Renoir, 1939)

22. Ombre rosse (J. Ford, 1939)

23. Quarto potere (O. Welles, 1941)

24. Piccole volpi (W. Wyler, 1941)

25. Casablanca (M. Curtiz, 1942)

26. Perdutamente tua (I. Rapper, 1942)

27. La fiamma del peccato (B. Wilder, 1944)

28. Roma, città aperta (R. Rossellini, 1945)

29. Vertigine (O. Preminger, 1946)

30. Notorius (A. Hitchcock, 1946)

31. Paisà (R. Rossellini, 1946)

32. Ladri di biciclette (V. De Sica, 1948)

33. Eva contro Eva (J.L. Mankiewicz, 1950)

34. Diario di un curato di campagna (R. Bresson, 1950)

35. Rashomon (A. Kurosawa, 1950)

36. Un tram che si chiama desiderio (E. Kazan, 1951)

37. Cantando sotto la pioggia (S. Donen, 1952)

38. Gli uomini preferiscono le bionde (H. Hawks, 1953)

39. Senso (L. Visconti, 1954)

40. La finestra sul cortile (A. Hitchcock, 1954)

41. Sentieri selvaggi (J. Ford, 1956)

42. Il settimo sigillo (I. Bergman, 1956)

43. I soliti ignoti (M. Monicelli, 1958)

44. I 400 colpi (F. Truffaut, 1959)

45. La dolce vita (F. Fellini, 1960)

46. Fino all'ultimo respiro (J.-L. Godard, 1960)

47. Psyco (A. Hitchcock, 1960)

48. Divorzio all’italiana (P. Germi, 1961)

49. 8 ½ (F. Fellini, 1963)

50. Il gattopardo (L. Visconti, 1963)

51. L'uomo che uccise Liberty Valance (J. Ford, 1962)

52. Blow up (M. Antonioni, 1966)

53. Il mucchio selvaggio (Peckinpah, 1969)

54. Easy Rider (D. Hopper, 1969)

55. Una squillo per l'ispettore Klute (A. Pakula, 1971)

56. Arancia meccanica (S. Kubrick, 1971)

57. Taxi Driver (M. Scorsese, 1975)

58. Lo squalo (S. Spielberg, 1975)

59. Apocalypse Now (F. F. Coppola, 1979)

All the films are available in the video library of the Department of Art's, Via Barberia 4/a, but also easily available in other video libraries. The two anthologies are provided by the teacher.


#1: The bibliography of Cinema History and Criticism (9 CFU) is the same as Film History Principles (12 CFU) except for the volume by Richard Dyer, Star (Kaplan, 2009).

#2: there is no distinction between attending and non-attending students (neither for the program nor for the exam)

#3: students who attended the course with Prof. Sara Pesce or Prof. Claudio Bisoni can now take the exam with me.
I suggest to read carefully the information on this board because the programs are slightly different.

#4: to access the teaching material (slides and anthologies) access the Teaching resources on Virtual -> click on Avvisi -> Materiale didattico

Teaching methods

Due to the restrictions imposed by the current health emergency, teaching will be carried out in a traditional didactic manner: this means the teacher will always be present in the classroom designated for teaching, students will alternate in attendance according to a schedule of shifts being defined (more detailed information about the shift and how to access the lesson in attendance will be provided later). It will always be possible to connect remotely and follow live streaming of the lessons in the classroom via TEAMS platform.


We recommend students who intend to actively participate in the course to participate (in presence or remotely) in the first lesson where the program and teaching methods will be explained.


WARNING: Given the fluidity of the emergency situation we are experiencing and since this program will be published in July 2021, it is possible that the teaching methods will change in the coming months. In this case, timely communication will be given through an update of this program, as well as through appropriate notices published on the usual institutional channels, namely: notices published on the teacher's page and/or on the website of the DAMS which all students are invited to consult periodically.

Assessment methods

The final examination will be a written test; in which it will be assessed whether students have acquired a knowledge of the fundamentals of cinema history, the characteristics of the individual movements, the works and the authors dealt with during the course.


It will be assessed as excellent the performance of those students achieving an organic vision of the course contents, the use of a proper specific language, the ability to move within the cinema history as well as the knowledge of the recommended filmography. It will be assessed as discrete the performance of those students showing mostly mechanical or mnemonic knowledge of the subject, not articulated synthesis and analysis capabilities, a correct but not always appropriate language, as well as a scholastic study of the discipline. It will be assessed as barely sufficient the performance of those students showing learning gaps, inappropriate language, lack of knowledge of the discipline. It will be assessed as insufficient the performance of those students showing learning gaps, inappropriate language, no orientation within the recommended bibliography and inability to analyse the subject.


In the written test, there will be:

a) 3 recognition questions about 3 frames taken from the recommended filmography (short open answer);

b) 24 questions (multiple choice answers);

c) 1 open question.


Grading method: the answers of the group a) are worth 2 points each; the questions of point b) are worth one point each; the question of point c) is worth 4 points.


For all the students: the written test will last for 90 minutes.


Students are required to take a valid identity card with photos and sheets of paper.

Students may register to the examination till a few days before the set date. Registrations beyond the date indicated on the site will be not accepted.

Teaching tools

Students are required to watch all the films listed in the filmography. For this purpose, they have the Video Library of the Department of Arts (Via Barberia 4). Here, they will be able to book video stations or take home borrowed materials. In order to avoid too much bookings, students are invited to attend the video library well in advance, and not go there all together the days before the exam date.

Office hours

See the website of Francesca Cantore