Jonathan Rosenbaum presents eight films that provide a suggestive and varied representation of the 1940s, a decade of transformation that saw the end of World War II and ushered in an era of American optimism and global change. Cinema provides audiences with an entertaining and instructive view of history, and with this series, Rosenbaum will explore a cross section of perspectives from the United States to France, Russia, Italy, mainland China, and Japan. Each session will explore themes, genres, and filmmakers alongside examinations of production details and historical context.

This course will take place virtually over Eventive. Films are watched by participants outside of the course schedule. The Film Center does not provide access to films; please refer to this page for a list of sources. All films are available for free or for a small rental fee on various streaming platforms. 

SCHEDULE & TO REGISTER: February 23 through April 13 / Tuesdays at 6:00 pm CT

If you have purchased a pass, please register for each lecture. If you are only interested in a few of the lectures click on the lecture you are interested in purchasing a ticket.

Member Ticket per session* - $6

General admission ticket per session - $12

General admission series pass - $42



February 23: CHRISTMAS IN JULY (Preston Sturges, 1940, 67 min.) 

March 2: LA NUIT FANTASTIQUE (Marcel L’Herbier, 1942, 103 min.) 

March 9: I WALKED WITH A ZOMBIE (Jacques Tourneur, 1943, 69 min.) & THE LEOPARD MAN (Jacques Tourneur, 1943, 66 min.) 

March 16: IVAN THE TERRIBLE, PART II (Sergei Eisenstein, 1945, 86 min.) 

March 23: PAISAN (Roberto Rossellini, 1946, 126 min.)

March 30: THE BICYCLE THIEF (Vittorio de Sica, 1948, 89 min.)

April 6: SPRING IN A SMALL TOWN (Fei Mu, 1948, 90 min.)

April 13: LATE SPRING (Yasujiro Ozu, 1949, 107 min.)


Jonathan in office

Jonathan Rosenbaum was film critic for the Chicago Reader from 1987 to 2008. His 15 books include CINEMATIC ENCOUNTERS (two volumes), GOODBYE CINEMA, HELLO CINEPHILIA, DISCOVERING ORSON WELLES, ESSENTIAL CINEMA, ABBAS KIAROSTAMI (with Mehrnaz Saeed-Vafa), MOVIE WARS, DEAD MAN, MOVIES AS POLITICS, PLACING MOVIES, GREED, MIDNIGHT MOVIES (with J. Hoberman), and MOVING PLACES. He has taught at New York University, the University of California campuses at Berkeley, San Diego, and Santa Barbara, the University of Chicago, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and Sarajevo’s FilmFactory. He maintains a web site archiving most of his work at 

*You are eligible for member pricing if your Film Center membership was in good standing when we paused our theatrical programming in March 2020 or if you have purchased or renewed your membership in the time since. If you purchase or renew today, your membership will not be officially activated until re-open, but you will continue to receive intermittent perks--like these discounts! 

Please email us at, including your name and the series passes/individual lectures that you would like to purchase, and we will send you unique codes to use at checkout.