|Instructor||Dr. Brigitta Wagner|
|Credit Points||4 ECTS|
|Number of Places||18|
This course is open to anyone with an interest in cinema in general and German cinema in particular.
This course explores German cinema after the Wende, the period of political change surrounding the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. As we trace the development of a ‘postwall’ cinema, we will be paying particular attention to the cultural historical context in which the films were made. While examining the films as specific aesthetic and narrative products of and reflections on German unification, we will also consider how they relate to the project of national cinema in an increasingly global market. Our discussions will place artistic production and commercial interests within a number of shifting contexts: cultural politics, geography, historiography, multiculturalism, and collective memory.
Inviting students to critically reexamine filmic representations of Germany, the course will focus on several key topics: 1) The Wende or “turn” in East German politics in 1989-90; 2) the way that all-German cultural consensus was forged through popular comedies; 3) the legacy of the Third Reich; 4) coming to terms with the East and West German pasts; 4) the New Berlin in film production and spatial memory; 5) multiculturalism and migration; and 6) the rise of the Berlin School as well as more current trends in German cinema. These themes exemplify how “postwall” German cinema has been coping with Germany’s complex and controversial past and present.
One goal of the course is to introduce students to film analysis through a number of important German films from the 1990s to today. A second goal is for students to acquire knowledge of the sociocultural discourses that inform the production and reception of these films. Students will work on a number of questions in small groups and will then be asked to share their analyses and thoughts with the rest of the class. A third goal of the course is to introduce students to relevant cultural and geographical resources in Berlin through field trips to, for example, the Museum of Film and Television and/or the exploration of film locations.
By the end of the course, the students will have gained a better understanding of contemporary Germany, its cinema, and its current public discourses. They will be able to analyse the ways in which film form, content, and historical context create meaning. Not only will the students enhance their skills in audiovisual analysis; they will also acquire the ability to interrogate the political circumstances that led to these films’ creation.
No prior knowledge of German, German films, or film and media studies is required. Students must be able to speak and read English at the advanced intermediate level.
Attendance and participation in class, leading one class discussion, one field trip report, and one term paper.
A course reader will be provided on the first day of class.