Collage of British cinema magazines

"Cinema is not only about making people dream." - Nadine Labaki

Information at a Glance

  • Evening Class
  • Thursdays 18:00 - 20:00
  • 20 weeks: October to March
  • 2 hours taught time per week
  • Tutor: Eleonora Sammartino
  • Fees from £210 to £395
  • Location: Imperial College, South Kensington Campus
Booking Link

Film is an art form that touches almost everyone’s life. Whether we prefer to watch movies at the cinema, or on television, or on an iPhone or tablet, most of us watch films once or twice a week, and many of us more often than that. We could say, the movies are at the heart of our culture. But what is the history of this art form and how do filmmakers create visual stories that can range from imaginary monsters roaming the streets of London, to space operas on an epic scale, to simple tales of seemingly ordinary lives?

On this course we will try to answer those questions by looking at the history of film, from the spectacles of silent cinema to the latest CGI blockbusters and independent art films. Guided by our expert tutor, we will analyse clips from some of the most celebrated movies ever made, as well as many lesser-known films, to understand how film forms and genres work, and how different technologies and contexts have influenced the way filmmakers create their stories. After exploring Hollywood and celebrated Western cinematographies in the first term, we will then look at national cinemas from around the world, making connections between different traditions and periods.

At the end of the course you will have a greater understanding of how movies work, how they have changed over time, and most of all, a real sense of the exciting diversity of filmmaking around the world.

This course lasts twenty weeks and is taught over two terms.

Course Information

Course Programme

Autumn Term

  • Week 1: Introduction to Film Forms and Film History
  • Week 2: Early Cinema History: From the Cinema of Attractions to Narrative Cinema
  • Week 3: German Expressionism and Soviet Cinema
  • Week 4: The Rise of Hollywood: Stardom, Studios, and the Transition to Sound
  • Week 5: Classic Hollywood (1930s-1950s): Popular Film Genres
  • Week 6: Italian Neorealism and the “Golden Age” of Italian Cinema
  • Week 7: French New Wave: Criticism, Authorship, and the Left Bank
  • Week 8: New Hollywood: Experimenting with Narrative and Aesthetics
  • Week 9: American Independent Cinema: From Blaxpolitation to L.A. Rebellion

*** Christmas break ***

Spring Term

  1. Week 10: Contemporary Hollywood: Media Convergence and Blockbusters
  2. Week 11: British Cinema: from the New Wave to the New Millennium
  3. Week 12: Nordic Cinema
  4. Week 13: The Romanian New Wave and Eastern European Cinemas
  5. Week 14: Spanish and Latin American Cinemas
  6. Week 15: Australian and New Zealand Cinemas
  7. Week 16: Bollywood and Indian Cinema Industries
  8. Week 17: Japanese and Korean Cinemas
  9. Week 18: Chinese, Hong Kong, and Taiwanese Cinemas
  10. Week 19: Middle Eastern and Sub-Saharan Cinemas
  11. Week 20: Animation: From Pre-Cinema to CGI

This programme is indicative and subject to possible change.

Additional Reading

There is no requirement to undertake specific reading for this course, but if you would like to look in greater depth at the subject the following books are recommended:

  • David Bordwell and Kristin Thompson,  Film Art: An Introduction (Boston: McGraw Hill, 2010)
  • Pam Cook, The Cinema Book (London: BFI, 2007)
  • Geoffrey Nowell-Smith, The Oxford History of World Cinema (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997)

Your Tutor

Sammartino EDr Eleonora Sammartino is an experienced teacher in Film Studies and festival organiser. In addition to Imperial College, she has taught at King’s College London, University of Reading, and BFI Southbank.

Eleonora has worked for film festivals in Italy and UK and currently collaborates with FILL – Festival of Italian Literature in London.

Course Fees and Rate Categories

HoursWeeksStandard RateInternal RateAssociate Rate
 40  20  £395    (Early Bird Rate: £360*) £230    (Early Bird Rate: £210*)
£305    (Early Bird Rate: £280*) 
* The Early Bird rate is available for enrolments made before 30 September for courses starting in October   |   All fee rates quoted are for the whole course.
Term dates 1

Rate Categories and Discounts

Standard Rate

  • Applicable to all except those who fall under the Internal Rate or Associate Rate category, respectively.

Internal Rate

  • Applies to current Imperial College students and staff (incl. Imperial NHS Trust, Imperial Innovations, ancillary & service staff employed on long-term contracts at Imperial College by third-party contractors).
  • Current Centre for Languages, Culture and Communication (CLCC) staff, current CLCC PhD students, Science Communication (Sci Comm) postgraduate students, and students enrolled on an Imperial College 'Language for Science' degree programme should email evening before completing the online enrolment form.

Associate Rate

  • Students (non-Imperial College)
  • Alumni of Imperial College and predecessor colleges and institutes
  • City & Guilds College Association members
  • Members of Friends of Imperial College 
  • Friends of the South London Botanical Institute
  • Members of the UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP)
  • Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Council staff
  • Harrods staff
  • Historic Royal Palaces staff
  • Natural History Museum staff
  • Science Museum staff
  • Victoria and Albert Museum staff
  • Royal Geographical Society staff
  • Royal College of Art and Royal College of Music tutors and other staff
  • Santander Bank staff (Imperial College Walkway branch only)
  • Austrian Cultural Forum staff
  • Staff of Exhibition Road Cultural Group (Discover South Kensington) organisations
  • Lycee Charles de Gaulle staff
  • Tutors and other staff of other universities and higher education institutions
  • Tutors and other staff of institution members of the Association of Colleges
  • Residents of postcodes SW3, SW5, SW7, SW10 and W8

Late enrolment

It is possible to enrol on many CLCC Evening Class and Lunchtime Learning programmes after the course has started, subject entirely to agreement by the tutor delivering the course. If you want to join a course late do bear in mind there might be work you will need to catch up on, particularly in language courses.

Applicable terms & conditions

Please read the Evening Classes & Lunchtime Learning terms and conditions [pdf] before enrolling on any course.

Term Dates

HoursWeeksAutumn termSpring termSummer term
 40  20 14 Oct - 12 Dec 2019 (9 weeks)* 6 Jan - 19 Mar 2020 (11 weeks) n/a
* Followed by the Christmas break

Enrolment Process

Web enrolment starts 1 August

Enrolment & payment are through the Imperial College eStore. Please use above booking link noting below instructions:

  • Our rate categories are explained on this page and your applicable category must be selected on the eStore
  • First-time eStore users please create an account by entering an email address and password. These credentials should also be used for future bookings. Imperial College users please note the eStore is not a single-signon College system
  • The booking process involves entering payment details before your course choice and applicant details are queried on an in-built questionnnaire which completes the process
  • The following email notifications will be sent
What is sentWhen is it sentWhat does it contain
1. Payment confirmation Instantaneously following submission of your online application
  • Confirms your payment, date of payment and order number
  • Should not be treated as a course-enrolment receipt and therefore does not show your course however these details are sent to us via the system
2. Enrolment confirmation Sent in due course but likely not before the end of September. Please treat your payment confirmation as confirmation that your applicant details and payment have been received
  • Confirms your course choice
  • Shows the programme your course is part of as well as the term dates
  • Confirms your course' day of the week & time
3. Programme information Usually sent Friday late afternoon the week before term starts
  • Contains further course details incl. classroom location and teacher contact information
  • Provides further general programme details
If you need further help with the above information please ring 020 7594 8756

Certificate of Attendance

Although no credits are offered for this very part-time course, an attendance certificate is presented to students who attend at least 80% (16) of the taught classroom sessions. Eligible students receive their certificate by email after the end of the course.

Any Questions?

Questions regarding the content and teaching of the above course should be sent to the course tutor, Dr Eleonora Sammartino,

If you have enjoyed this course, why not look at other arts and humanities evening class courses at Imperial College. This includes courses on the history of western art from ancient Greece to the nineteenth century, Understanding Modern and Design, the history of film and cinema and Greek and Roman mythology in art. We also run practical courses in art and photography and creative writing classes, and a growing programme of science based evening classes.