West European Studies | Special Topics in West European Studies: German Film Culture
W406 | 26323 | Breger, C

2:30P-3:45P   TR   3 cr.
5:45P-7:40P   W    Film showing
Obtain on-line authorization from department
Section meets with GER-G390 and HON-H303

Topic: Representations of Violence

For many, German film history begins with Dr. Caligari’s deadly
powers, and some have even argued that the filmic imagination of such
horrors gives us access to the unconscious of a nation on its way to
fascism and the Holocaust. Recent film scholarship suggests that
things are not quite that simple, but these complications make it
more interesting to study German cinema histories through the lens of
filmic violence.

Looking at uncanny murderers, Nazis, terrorists and so-called
people, we investigate how we can read filmic representations of
violence in a historical context shaped by the memory of the
as well as contemporary processes of globalization. The course
provides both an introduction to German film – in its transnational
contexts – and a more specific investigation of how fictional films
engage with the social. In which ways do the filmic scenarios of
violence articulate and shape the fantasies of their directors and
audiences? How do films help to work through memories of violence?
What is the role of film form in these processes?

The course discusses a range of films, both popular and experimental,
from the era of silent film into the 21st century. The weekly film
showing is an integral part of the class. Readings provide background
information on German film and history and introduce students to key
aspects of film theory. Assignments include several academic papers
and a creative group project, probably the production of a short
The course is taught in English. It is offered for students in
Germanic Studies, Communication and Culture and the Honors College.
Honors students are expected to submit a more substantial research
paper in place of one of the regular academic papers.

Readings (available through campus bookstores):
Hake, Sabine. German National Cinema. Routledge 2001; ISBN:
Hayward, Susan. Cinema Studies: The Key Concepts (Routledge Key
Guides; paperback). 3 edition (April 12, 2006). ISBN: 0415367824.
Additional Readings on e-reserve.