Symbiosis International University Symbiosis School for Liberal Arts

Silent Cinema

Faculty Course Type Credits Prerequisites Semester
Gayatri Chatterjee Minor 4 Film Studies Minor 3

 Brief Overview 

This paper prepares a base for the students, so they begin to think of cinema in terms of its rooting in the histories of the arts and their connections with the social and political histories of the land of film production. A base is also created for a proper entry into film theory—but at this point only some theoretical approaches are lightly touched upon. Students learn to think of cinema in global terms.

For the history of the pre-cinema visual and narrative practices, there is much accent on India. When cinema makes its entry, then the history is focused upon the innovations happening in Europe and America.

Silent cinemas of France, Germany, America and India is taught in great details—along with the related political and art histories.

Students learn the different narrative traditions that shape these national cinemas. The stress is to show how different cinemas tell stories differently through different visual production generated by the indigenous art movements and performative traditions.

 Course Objectives 

  • To discuss how different cultures have engaged in the practice of showing and telling. This involves telling stories while showing pictures to which movement is added—and occasionally with the help of light and darkness. Examples include puppetry, shadow puppetry and scroll-paintings (pat and phad), etc.
  • To appraise that cinema is highly a technological affair and is dependent on certain later scientific inventions.
  • To discuss the close connection between cinema and the fine arts.
  • To explain the shift away from the feudal/monarchical mode of art production and art in the age of industrial revolution, capitalism and the great wars.

 Teaching Methodology 

  • Students are made to watch movies in class of different genres. Interactive class discussions after every Film.
  • Students learn how film images are formed through photographs, moving pictures, video clips, story boards etc.
  • Students learn to observe the impressions films make on them and learn to write down these impressions.
  • Evaluations are conducted throughout the semester to ensure that the students’ outcomes are appraised.


Students are expected to –

  • Complete all required reading for each scheduled class as per the course outline,
  • Actively participate in class activities and discussions, and
  • Complete all evaluative processes for successful course completion!