Course Information

Course Description | Grade Distribution | Required Texts | Course Policies

Class Time: M & W 1:00 - 2:30 pm
Screening: M 4:00 pm (Brown 100)
Room: Eads 203
Instructors: Lutz Koepnick
Telephone: 935-4350
Office: Ridgley 328
Office Hours: Mon 12-1 & Wed 11-12 & by appointment

Course Description

The films of Polish director Kieslowski (Dekalog, The Double Life of Veronique, Red, White, Blue), of Danish-born von Trier (Zentropa, Breaking the Waves, The Idiots, Dancer in the Dark), and of German filmmaker Tykwer (The Deadly Maria, Winter Sleepers, Run, Lola, Run, The Princess and the Warrior, Heaven) have fundamentally reshaped the landscape of European cinema since the early 1990s. Although their films differ significantly in terms of their stylistic preferences and narrative structures, they all raise intriguing questions about the nature of time and history, the role of chance and identity, and the process of filmmaking itself. Moreover, the career of all three directors urges us to rethink the notion of national cinema in an era of European co-productions and transnational orientations. This seminar is designed to explore and compare the work of Kieslowski, von Trier, and Tykwer. It will closely examine their most important films, situate their work in historical and film historical contexts, and theorize their concern with temporality, history, human existence, and cinematic representation.

Grade Distribution

  • 2 essays (5-6 pages in length): 50%
  • 2 Thought Papers: 20%
  • Attendance and Participation: 30%

Required Texts

Materials marked "ERES" in the course schedule are availabe from the Electronic Reserve System at Washington University. Login and password to be announced in class.

All other books available for purchase at the Washington University Bookstore:

  • Bordwell, David, and Kristin Thompson. Film Art: An Introduction. 6th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2001. ISBN: 0072317256.
  • Insdorf, Annette. Double lives, second chances: The cinema of Krzysztof Kieslowski. New York : Miramax Books, 1999. ISBN: 0786865628.
  • Stevenson, Jack. Lars von Trier. London: British Film Institute, 2002. ISBN: 0851709036.

Course Policies

Late work will not be accepted, except in the case of serious illness, medical emergency, or some other compelling mitigating circumstance. Other coursework, job requirements, or other class projects are not considered mitigating circumstances.

The major assignments will be given to you well enough in advance for you plan your schedules accordingly. All major assignments must be completed in order to pass this course. "Incomplete" grades and extensions are not available without documented evidence of extraordinary hardships (e.g., medical problems). Having a heavy workload is not an extraordinary hardship.

You should regard the film screenings as required texts. You must write a brief online screening report within 24 hours after the screening to receive credit for attendance.

Any work that is plagiarized (borrowing someone else's ideas or information without proper citation) will be graded an "F." Further disciplinary action may also be taken.
Readings must be completed prior to class. The amount of reading is heavier some weeks than others, so don't put it off to the last minute.

All films to be discussed during the semester are available for additional viewing at Olin Library's Audio/Visual Reserve Desk. The tapes and dvds are on 2 hour reserve.

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