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A Short History of World Cinema 2: Post-War and Beyond

Course Times & Enrolment

This course is currently unavailable.

Course Summary

While most other courses view world cinema as a series of disruptions, this course aims instead to stress its continuity. Continuity of styles, continuity of genres, continuity of narrative techniques – these have sustained the cinema throughout its first 100 years. The second part of this course continues the exploration of the history of the main aspects of world cinema from the immediate after-war period until the end of the Twentieth Century.

Course Details

Pre-requisites for enrolment

The course is designed for students new to the subject, as well as for those with a prior knowledge of cinema.

Content of Course

1. Realism – Old and New.

2. The Haunted Screen: Phantoms of the Cold War.

3. Against Television: Bigger Screens, Brighter Colours .

4. Old Masters vs. New Waves: Western Europe.

5. The Rise and Fall of Socialist Realism: Eastern Europe.

6. Old Hollywood, New Hollywood.

7. Tradition vs. Innovation: Asia.

8. Other Cinemas, Other Worlds.

9. The New Experimentalists: Artists or Charlatans?

10. The End of Ideology?

Teaching method(s)

This is a lecture-based course with film excerpts, analysis and extensive group discussion, in 2-hour meetings over 10 weeks.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course the student should be able to:

  • Understand the continuity and disjunctions in the evolution of cinema as an art form;

  • Describe camera work and narrative techniques;

  • Evaluate the impact of the new art form and the relationship between technical development and artistic achievements;

  • Identify various directorial styles and perceive similarities and divergences between different periods and regions;

  • Identify genres, auteurs and schools;

  • Perceive the degree to which cinema, and popular culture in general, is influenced by politics and ideology.


Core Readings


  • James Chapman - Cinemas of the World: Film and Society from 1895 to the Present,

  • London : Reaktion, 2003

  • Geoffrey Nowell-Smith (ed.) - The Oxford History of World Cinema, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997

  • David Shipman - The Story of Cinema: An Illustrated History (2vols.), London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1982-84.                                              

Web Sources

Bright Lights Film Journal; film reviews, essays and articles on classical and modern directors, films, schools

Kinoeye – New Perspectives on European Film; online journal dedicated to European cinema 

Offscreen; Canadian film journal dedicated to classical and modern cinema


If you have questions regarding the course or enrolment, please contact COL Reception at Paterson's Land by email or by phone 0131 650 4400.

Student support

If you have a disability, learning difficulty or health condition which may affect your studies, please let us know by ticking the 'specific support needs' box on your course application form. This will allow us to make appropriate adjustments in advance and in accordance with your rights under the Equality Act 2010. For more information please visit the Student Support section of our website.