Interdisciplinary Learning Courses

Universal history through cinema

Universal history through cinema Universal history through cinema
> Español

Interdisciplinary Learning CoursesUniversal history through cinema

Cinema provides a spectacular and immersive approach to the events of the past, but at the same time shows us that History is also a narrative created from the present.

Since its inception, cinema has been an effective means of reconstructing the past. Its power to convey to the viewer an intense audiovisual experience of historical events completely surpassed that of other approaches. For this reason, a journey through universal history -from the beginnings of humanity to the future- can be carried out through cinema.

In this course, we will propose the analysis of a set of films that reveal how history has been reconstructed through various cinematographic approaches. A selection that will range from Hollywood blockbusters to animation, ranging from drama to humor. With this, we will also be aware of how history is a narrative that can be presented from different interests and aesthetic and ideological perspectives.

Learning Objectives

  • Know the main milestones of universal history through cinema.
  • Understand the relationships between cinema and history.
  • Identify the modes of historical reconstruction developed by cinema.
  • Recognize and value the different codes and forms of the cinematographic medium.
  • Develop a critical and active view as spectators.

Contents of the Subject

Universal history through cinema

  • Lesson 1: Introduction to the course
    - Presentation of the course content
    - First-day individual survey: relations between cinema and history
    - Example for debate on history, universality and cinema: biblical cinema
    - Proposed Film: The 10 Commandments, Cecil B. DeMille, 1956
  • Lesson 2: Archeology, Prehistory and Cinema
    - Prehistoric times: origins, caves and cinema
    - Proposed film: Quest for Fire, Jean Jacques Annaud, 1981
  • Lesson 3: Antiquity and Cinema
    - Classical culture and Cinema: Egypt, Greece and Rome
    - Proposed film: Ben-Hur, William Wyler, 1959
  • Lesson 4: Middle Ages and Cinema
    - The new political and social structure: kingdoms, religion and the circulation of knowledge
    - Proposed film: The Name of the Rose, Jean Jacques Annaud, 1986
  • Lesson 5: Modern Age and Cinema
    - The nation state and modern empires: the expansion of the world
    - Proposed film: The Mission, Roland Joffé, 1986
  • Lesson 6: Cinema and imperialism
    - The expansion of the West and otherness through cinema
    - Proposed film: Lawrence of Arabia, David Lean, 1962
  • Lesson 6: Revolutions of the modern order and colonialism
    - Regime change in the modern order and crisis of imperialism
    - Proposed Movie: 12 Years a Slave, Steve McQueen, 2013
  • Lesson 7: Revolutions and cinema
    - Proposed film: Battleship Potemkin, S.M. Eisenstein, 1927.
  • Lesson 8: World War I
    - Proposed film: Paths of Glory, Stanley Kubrick.
  • Lesson 9: Totalitarianisms and cinema
    - Dominion, empire and cinema
    - Proposed film: The Great Dictator, Charles Chaplin, 1940
  • Lesson 10: World War II
    - The horror and destruction of the world
    - Proposed Film: The Longest Day, Ken Annakin, Andrew Marton, Bernhard Wicki, 1962
  • Lesson 11: Cold War and Cinema
    - World after the war
    - Proposed Film: One, Two, Three, Billy Wilder, 1961
  • Lesson 12: Decolonization and cinema
    - Struggles for national identity
    - Proposed film: The Battle of Algiers, Gillo Pontecorvo, 1966
  • Lesson 13: Twentieth century revisions and cinema
    - Other latitudes and social conflicts - Proposed film: Hotel Rwanda, Terry George, 2004
  • Lesson 14: Cinema and geopolitics of the present
    - Proposed film: The Insult, Ziad Doueiri, 2017
  • Lesson 15: Individual presentations and final summary of the course
    - The history of the present and the present of cinema: proposals for the future


Fernando Herrero-Matoses Professor of Universal history through cinema

Fernando Herrero-Matoses