Germanic Languages | German Film and Popular Culture
G418 | 28946 | Wagner

Topic: German Silent Cinema

In this course students will explore the emergence of cinema in a
specifically German context. From the early experiments of the
Skladanowsky Brothers to the Kino-Debatte to the heyday of Weimar
cinema, German films and film criticism played a crucial role in
shaping this 20th-century art form. In the first half of the course,
we will consider cinema as a new technology and system of
representation, one that develops from a low cultural novelty to a
high cultural rival of literature, theater, photography, and painting.
In the second half of the course, we will consider cinema’s treatment
of some of the thematic concerns of Weimar Germany: urban life,
gender, the economic crisis, and the specter of World War I. Weekly
film screenings will introduce students to the work of Fritz Lang,
F.W. Murnau, Walter Ruttmann, Lotte Reiniger, Robert Wiene, G.W.
Pabst, and Oskar Fischinger, among many others.

Throughout the semester students will take on the guise of
contemporary cultural critics, writing biweekly reviews of the films,
staging short debates, and analyzing film sequences. They will also
work closely with the archival resource Lichtbildbühne, newly acquired
by the Wells Library.

Readings will be in German and in English.  Class sessions will be
conducted in German.

Enrollment limited to 18.

Required Texts:
A Second Life:  German Cinema’s First Decades [ISBN-13:  978-9053561720]
Werkstatt Film [ISBN-13:  978-3883775975]
The Weimar Republic Sourcebook [ISBN-13:  978-0520067752]
Online Reader (available via E-reserves)