This course traces the origin and development of cinema as technology, art form and industry during the first half of the Twentieth Century, up to and including the introduction and systematization of the synchronized sound film around 1927. The assumption behind this periodization is that the silent cinema has a historical and aesthetic identity and specificity and cannot be considered as merely a lead-in to the classical and post-classical sound film. We will discuss canonical filmmakers, currents and schools of filmmaking, with emphasis on the European, American and Soviet-Russian film culture, against the background of social, politial, cultural and economic developments that determined the course of film history. We will also trace he development of 'film language' in direct or indirect relationship to the earliest critical and theoretical discussions of the medium. Every week the student-coordinated 'Moving Picture Show' will screen film classics with the intent to bring to life and not just illustrate the course materials.