AAU Professor Anthony Marais’s History of Popular Cinema class is popular among students every semester, diving into film movements and genres through almost 100 years of cinema history. 

The class begins by exploring Soviet Montage and ends with BollyWood cinema. Each session is structured with a lecture explaining what was happening in a chosen film era, and ends with a screening of a movie from that period, which the students write a review on, describing their thoughts and experience after watching.

“I would like to share my love of cinema. I hope that I can inspire students to discover the joy of experiencing cinema as an art form, actively engaging with it by writing film reviews with the freedom to decide for themselves what is aesthetic,” said Marais. 

For those with a Journalism and Media Studies major, especially with a media and culture concentration, it is one option under the list for the Film/Video course requirement. This course list also includes Documentary Film Practicum and Video Storytelling, classes that can be taken as an elective regardless of major. 

Photo by: Gabriella Burgess

“I took the class because it looked pretty interesting, and it was the better choice from the two other programs I had to choose,” said Maraki Berouk Mesfin. 

Those currently in the class have enjoyed a variety of films, including I am a Fugitive of a Chain Gang (1934) and Miracle in Milan (1951). This Spring 2024 semester, class grew during the Add/Drop period, with new students joining after the first class. 

“My favorite part of a class is watching movies, but doing it from a political/cultural perspective. It is connected with writing the reports,” said Andrii Kolisnychenko.

This semester, the class is at 18:30 on Wednesday—the same as the Fall 2023 term—making it likely that it will be the same time slot in Fall 2024. 

Professor Anthony Marais is a graduate of the University of California Santa Barbra with a degree in Anthropology. He has published novels and worked as a screenwriter. 

“I believe I can say I was born with this class in me. I consider it a gift—given to me by Tony Ozuna and faithfully supported by Karen Grunow, our AAU deans of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences,” said Marais, “I love and need to be creative—which is, for me, the joy of living. I hope I have been true to myself while serving the highest standards of academic integrity.”