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MFCO201 The History of Film

An historical survey of the major developments in film history.

This paper provides an overview of film history from the beginnings of the film industry in the late 19th century to the present day, concentrating on narrative feature films. In order to understand the forms cinema has taken, it is crucial to understand the interaction of form, social influences, technological developments and economic forces across its history and in different national and international contexts. It provides essential background knowledge on the development of cinema for MFCO majors and humanities students and should also appeal to those interested in historical approaches to art and culture.

Paper title The History of Film
Paper code MFCO201
Subject Media, Film and Communication
EFTS 0.15
Points 18 points
Teaching period Not offered in 2023 (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $955.05
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

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18 FIME or MFCO points
FIME 201
Schedule C
Arts and Music
Teaching staff
Convenor and Lecturer: Dr Paul Ramaeker
Paper Structure
This paper covers film history chronologically. Topics include:
  • Early cinema
  • Silent Hollywood cinema
  • German and Soviet cinemas of the 1920s
  • Classical Hollywood cinema
  • Japanese cinema
  • Italian neo-realism
  • The French New Wave
  • Iranian cinema
  • Contemporary American cinema
  • Australian Cinema
  • Tutorial Participation 5%
  • Empirical Quiz 10%
  • Research Exercise 15%
  • Research Essay 25%
  • Final Examination 45%
Teaching Arrangements

This paper is taught via lectures, screenings and tutorials.


Film History: An Introduction, 3rd edition, Kristin Thompson and David Bordwell.

Course reader

Course outline

View a sample course outline for MFCO 201

Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Global perspective, Communication, Critical thinking, Research.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete the paper will:

  • Demonstrate knowledge of significant moments in film history
  • Demonstrate the ability to write historical analysis drawing on methodologies of aesthetic, technological, economic and social history

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Not offered in 2023

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system