History of German Film
Course Number: 82-428
This course, conducted in English, is a chronological introduction to one of the world's greatest cinema traditions: German cinema. It moves from the silent cinema of the 1910s to the Weimar Republic, when German cinema represented Hollywood's greatest challenger in the international cinema world. It then addresses the cinema of Hitler's so-called "Third Reich," when German cinema dominated European movie theaters, and moves on to the cinema of divided Germany from 1949-1989, when cinema in the socialist east and cinema in the capitalist west developed in very different ways. In the final two weeks of the semester, the course will address German cinema in the post-unification period, which has experienced a revival in popularity and interest. The two historical foci of the semester will be the Weimar Republic, the classic era of German cinema, and the era of the so-called "New German Cinema" of the 1970s and 1980s, when major German directors developed radical new approaches to cinema and critiques of Hollywood. Among the great directors focused on in the course of the semester will be Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau, Fritz Lang, Leni Riefenstahl, Wolfgang Staudte, Werner Herzog, Wim Wenders, and Rainer Werner Fassbinder.
No knowledge of the German language is required for this course. Most of the films will be in German with English subtitles. The course will be cross-listed in the departments of Modern Languages, English, and History. Students will be required to attend class, including all film screenings, to actively participate in discussion, to write a term paper on a topic related to German cinema history, and to take two tests.