This course explores the history of Chinese cinema from its inception to the end of the Republican Period. We will focus on the way cinema helped articulate competing models of modernity revolving around issues in larger cultural contexts, including the rise of modern entertainment and consumer culture as well as the political events that overwhelmed the country (the May Fourth movement of cultural enlightenment, the Northern Expedition, the Japanese invasion and the Chinese resistance, and the postwar reconstructions). We will pay particular attention to the following issues: the exhibition contexts of Chinese cinema; questions of reception, stardom, and the cinema's public status; interactions between cinema and other media including drama, photography, and popular illustrations; the emergence of sound and its impact on the commercial and political arena; the geographical shift of film production and exhibition centers during the war. Films include early Edison shorts shot in Hong Kong, Beijing, and Shanghai in the late 1890s, the earliest extant Chinese film The Laborer's Love, 1920s' genre films (costume films, martial arts films, family melodrama), left-wing and urban films in the 1930s', films made in occupied Shanghai and Hong Kong, the 'national defense' films made in Chongqing, and postwar films from 1945 to 1949. Throughout the course, we will pursue the development of film style and film culture in relation to wider aesthetic, cultural, and political concerns. Some knowledge in Chinese desirable but not required.