20 August 2016
Imagining Germany - German Cinema after the Reunification
Since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the (re)birth of a united Germany, topics such as the new role of Berlin as the symbol of unification, what/who is “German”, collective memory in a former divided society, and the role of the past in the present repetitively appear in German feature films. Those films play a central cultural role in re-writing an imagined history of German past and in shaping stylized images of the present.
This course invites students to critically study filmic representations of Germany after the “Wende” (reunification). The course will focus on five topics: Hollywood vs. National Cinema, Representations of Nostalgia to East Germany, The Red Army Fraction as a Cinematic Obsession, Multiculturalism and Migrant Cinema as well as The Coming to Terms with the Nazi Past especially in contemporary comedies. These themes exemplify how German cinema in the last 25 years has been coping with the past and the present of a reunited Germany. We will discuss how “New Germany’s” culture is affected by American cultural products and how central stations in the German past such as the Nazi regime and the so-called “German Autumn” are being “(re-)written” in order to create (new) German narratives. Discussing Germany’s present with topics such as the filmic images of immigration to the country, the “inner-immigration” of many of the former east-Germans, as well as the (counter) narratives of migrant cinema and the so called “Berlin School”, will allow us to better understand the acute social complexities that Germany faces today.
The first goal of the course is to introduce a number of key ‘post-wall’ German films from the 1990s to the present. The second goal is to enable the students to acquire knowledge of socio-cultural discourses relevant to a deeper understanding of the filmic representations. The students will be requested to work in groups and to present their analyses in class. The third goal is to use the unique opportunity to visit Berlin sites which are related to the course, such as filming locations and the Museum for Film and Television.
By the end of the course the students will gain more knowledge on contemporary Germany, its cinema and its up-to-date public discourses. They will be able to better understand how the filmic style and content work together in order to create political meanings. Furthermore, the students will enhance their skills to critically analysis a visual text and to comprehend the inter-influences between filmic representations and public discourses.
Dr. Lihi Nagler
This course is open for anyone with an interest in cinema and film in general and German cinema in particular. The course assumes no prior knowledge of German, German films or films studies in general. Students must be able to speak and read English at an upper intermediate level.
Attendance and participation: 20%
Chairing one discussion in class: 20%
Field Trip Report: 20%
Term Paper: 40%
EUR 900: Tuition
EUR 250: Program fee