Director Martin Scorsese’s non-profit The Film Foundation has added a new programme, Portraits of America: Democracy on Film, to its film studies course.

The non-profit supports the preservation and restoration of cinema. It also runs a course called The Story of Movies – a free-of-charge curriculum for schools and universities that teaches cinema in the context of art, history and society.

Scorsese announced the course at a press conference in New York City on Tuesday. Consisting of eight modules, Portraits of America: Democracy on Film will cover 38 films, from Charlie Chaplin’s The Immigrant (1917) to Al Gore’s 2006 documentary An Inconvenient Truth.

These films, Scorsese said, “expand the history of America and looks squarely at the struggles and violent disagreements and tragedies in our history and its false promises”. He added, “The films also embody the best of America.”

Each module in the curriculum examines an issue that has shaped contemporary American history through movies. For instance, The Immigrant Experience module includes the films The Godfather Part II (1974) and The Namesake (2007). While the protagonists of Francis Ford Coppolas The Godfather Part II’s are Italian-American immigrants, The Namesake revolves around the experiences of an Indian immigrant family.

The other modules are The American Labourer, Civil Rights, The American Woman, Politicians and Demagogues, Soldiers and Patriots, The Press, and The Auteurs.