Hello and welcome to History of Film. My name is Juan Monroy, and I’ll be your instructor this semester.

With our attention focused on Washington, D.C. and on the inauguration, we will not be having a synchronous meeting for Wednesday, January 20. Instead, please read this welcome message about the course and complete the tasks listed at the end of this message, under the heading “To Do Today.”

I look forward to meeting you at our first synchronous meeting on January 27.

About The History of Film

I developed this course for the History of Art and Design department at Pratt, and one the challenges I’ve struggled with is figuring out how to compress the history of film into a one-semester course that meets only once a week. By comparison, my own undergraduate course in film history was a year-long course that met five days a week.

A professor of mine from many years ago explained that a syllabus is a story or an argument about your approach to studying a topic. In this course, I will be “telling a story” about the history film in two parts:

  1. Following the commercialization of motion pictures in the late nineteenth century and the development of narrative techniques in the early years of the twentieth century, national cinemas emerged throughout the world. Filmmakers working these national cinemas emphasized certain stylistic techniques in their filmmaking. For example, American cinema emphasizes storytelling over all other techniques, while filmmakers in the Soviet Union theorized that editing was the most important technique. We will focus our study in the prewar era on these national cinema tendencies. We cover this in modules 1–6.
  2. Following World War II, new waves of filmmaking that focused less on the differences between nations in favor of the common bonds between people. There was also an emergence of modernism in film, breaking established conventions of the previous generations. We cover this in modules 7–12.

We will be omitting a great deal of filmmaking that occurred in the past thirteen decades, but we will have an understanding of two broad themes that I think do speak about how film has developed over that time.


Everything you need to know about this course is available at https://juanmonroy.com/filmhistory. This course website references all the policies for this course, lists and explains the assignments, outlines the course schedule, and includes links to everything you’ll need for this course.


We will be using Canvas in a limited role, mostly for quizzes, essays and exams. There are also links to some screenings.

Canvas does not list any required readings nor most of the screenings that you must do for this class.


You can contact me in of the following ways:


Assigned readings are listed in the course schedule below and available from the following sources:

  1. Thompson, Kristin, and David Bordwell. Film History: An Introduction, 4th ed. Boston: McGraw-Hill, 2019.
  2. Required readings not found in the textbook are linked on this website in the course schedule.

Complete the readings by the date listed on the course schedule.

The course website contains information about how to get the Film History: An Introduction textbook.

Reading Quizzes

Each Thursday morning, I will post a reading quiz on Canvas. The quiz will consist of true-false and multiple choice questions. Complete each quiz by the day before our class meeting, at 11:59 PM, as noted in the course schedule. Ten of twelve quizzes are required.


Watch each of the films listed by the date indicated on the course schedule. I have listed a number of sources where you can watch these films, including:


Each module requires you to watch a recorded lecture. The recorded lectures move through the course material quicker than an in-person lecture. As you watch each video, pause and rewind the video as necessary to take notes on the material. This will help ensure you’re ingesting the course material.

Each video will be linked on the course schedule and on Canvas and available on the Thursday before the date on the syllabus.

Live Discussion Sessions

We will have an hourlong, weekly discussion session on Zoom, at the following time:

Yes, I know that the course schedule says we meet at 9:00 AM, but since our synchronous session will only be for an hour, I figured we could start at 10:00 AM and get an extra hour of sleep.

The link to join, which is also available on the course website, is https://pratt.zoom.us/j/99256846159?pwd=SVNicVJMMlN5OTdrd2ZNUXQ1ZEUrQT09

In these sessions, we will discuss the major issues relating to that week's module on the history of film.


We will be writing two essays throughout the semester, capping off the two broad themes in our study of film history.

  1. Survey of National Cinema: USSR, Germany, France, due Friday, March 6, on Canvas
  2. Survey of New Waves: Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Latin America, United States, due Friday, April 30, on Canvas


We will be taking two exams, both of which consist of two types of questions:

  1. Identification of film stills from films screened in class, requiring you to identify and explain the clip in the context of the film.
  2. Short answer questions, requiring you to engage the screenings and readings related to the major movements and trends in documentary film we covered in class.

The exams will be available on Canvas:

  1. Midterm Exam, available Thursday, March 4, and due on Wednesday, March 10, at 11:59 PM
  2. Final Exam, available Thursday, April 29, and due on Wednesday, May 5, at 5:00 PM, on Canvas


Your final grade will be based on the following assignments. Each assignment is worth 20%.

  1. Sum of your top 10 quiz grades
  2. Essay 1
  3. Midterm Exam
  4. Essay 2
  5. Final Exam

To Do Today

Please complete these tasks within the next week:


If you have any questions, please feel free to email me or ask a question on the discussion board in Canvas.