In 1896, when Auguste and Louis Lumiere held the first public screening of film in Paris, most people imagined that the new invention would be directed towards scientific research rather than the establishment of an entertainment industry. As a viable commercial product cinema soon became a contender for the status of the new century's first original art form. This course will introduce the art, aesthetics and politics of film. It will focus on the particular social and historical context of movies. The course will cover major breakthroughs and significant genres in cinema, as well as different topics, such as style and meaning, elements of film narrative, techniques of film production. The scope will be international and topics will be organized along a historical trajectory.