This course offers an historical survey of the cinema as a developing art form and a means of communication. We will examine the history of this international medium from its 19th-century beginnings through the mid-20th century. The national and thematic focus of the course shifts through the semester. For example, we will focus on U.S. film in studying the earliest developments in film technology and narrative, and on Soviet and French films to study the formal and social experimentation of the 1920s. The course provides a background for understanding film history and pursuing further studies in the field.