Between Hitler and Hollywood:
German Cinema
in the Course of Time
Spring 2000
Course Description
Papers and Assignments
Grade Breakdown
Required Texts
Class Time/Screenings
Office Hours (Koepnick)
Teaching Assistant
Course Schedule
 
Course Description

This course explores the major developments of German cinema--films, genres, stars, directors, critics, institutional frameworks, etc.--throughout the twentieth century. More specifically, this course will engage with issues relating to German film culture's negotiation of popular filmmaking and art cinema, of Hollywood conventions and European avant-garde sensibilities. Topics will include the political functions of German film during the Weimar, the Nazi, the postwar, and the postwall eras; the influence of American cinema on German film; the role of German emigres in the classical Hollywood studio system; and the place of German cinema in present-day Europe and in our contemporary age of globalization. Special attention will be given to the role of German cinema in building and questioning national identity, to the ways in which German feature films over the past seventy years have used or challenged Hollywood conventions to recall the national past and envision alternative futures. Films by directors such as Murnau, Lang, Sierck/Sirk, Siodmak, Wenders, Fassbinder, Herzog, and many others. All readings and discussions in English.

Course Numbers

German 328/Film Studies 328/Complit 328/History 3282/Art History 328 / International Studies 3291

Papers and Assignments

  • Class participation, regular attendance, and rigorous attention to the assignments are expected. All papers and examinations must be completed and submitted on time to receive credit for the course. Extensions are only granted under exceptional circumstances and after prior consultation with the instructor. Scheduled film screenings should be regarded as required texts.
  • Students will be asked to submit one critical research paper (10 pages). Topics and detailed instructions will be handed out after midterm. Students are required to consult about this paper with the instructor at least once during the semester. All papers will be due by 5 p.m. on April 27, 2000.
  • There will be a midterm exam covering both the readings and the screenings up to that point.
  • Every student will be asked to complete a film evaluation sheet for each film. This assignment is meant to help you focus on certain aspects of each film and prepare for discussion. The evaluations will be collected periodically throughtout the semester.
  • All students in the course will be automatically signed up to a class listserv. Over the course of the semester, you will be required to make at least five email postings to the listserv. Three of these should be original reactions to course readings (ca. 500 words), and should be posted to the listserv by midnight on the night before the class session for which the readings are assigned. The other two postings should be responses to reactions posted by your classmates (ca. 300 words).
  • Grade Breakdown
  • Research Paper: 30%
  • Midterm Exam: 20 %
  • Participation (including screening attendance): 30%
  • Email Postings and Film Evaluation Notes: 20%
  • Required Texts
    Most readings will be available in a reader to be purchased from the Bookstore. The following required book can also be purchased at the Bookstore: Eric Rentschler, The Ministry of Illusion: Nazi Cinema and Its Afterlife. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1996.

    Class Time
    Tuesday/Thursday 2:30-4 pm

    Screenings:
    Wednesday 4 pm

    Office Hours
    Ridgley 422
    T 4:15-5:30 & Th 4:15-5:30

    Telephone & email
    Lutz Koepnick
    314.935.4007
    lkoep@artsci.wustl.edu

    Teaching Assistant
    Mike Divine
    935-4885
    mjdivine@artsci.wustl.edu
    Office Hours:
    Ridgley 418, W 1:00-2:30 & Th 1:00-2:30
     
     

    Jump to a week in the syllabus:
     
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    Week 14

    FROM EARLY CINEMA TO WEIMAR EXPRESSIONISM
     
    1/18 Introduction
    1/19 SCREENING Robert Wiene, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1919) 
    1/20 FILM The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari
    READING Thomas Elsaesser, "Early German Cinema: A Second Life?," A Second Life: German Cinema's First Decades. Ed. Thomas Elsaesser. Amsterdam: Amsterdam UP, 1996. 9-37. 
    Lotte Eisner, The Haunted Screen. Berkeley: U of California P, 1994. 9-37.
    Siegfried Kracauer, From Caligari to Hitler. Princeton: Princeton UP, 1947. 61-76

     
    1/25 FILM F.W. Murnau, Nosferatu (1922)
    READING Thomas Elsaesser, "Social Mobilty and the Fantastic." Wide Angle 5.2 (1982): 14-25.
    Thomas Elsaesser, "Film History and Visual Pleasure: Weimar Cinema." Cinema Histories, Cinema Practices. Ed. Patricia Mellencamp amd Philip Rosen. Fredrick: University Publications of America, 1984. 47-84.
    1/26 SCREENING Fritz Lang, Metropolis (1927) 
    1/27 FILM Metropolis
    READING Andreas Huyssen. "The Vamp and the Machine." After the Great Divide. Bloomington: Indiana UP, 1986. 65-81.
    R. L. Rutsky. "Metropolis, Nazism, and Modernism." New German Critique 60 (fall 1993): 3-32.

    THEORIZING WEIMAR SPECTATORSHIP
     
    2/1 READING Patrice Petro, Joyless Streets. Princeton: Princeton UP, 1989. 39-78.
    2/2 SCREENING Georg Wilhelm Pabst, Pandora's Box (1929)
    2/3 FILM Pandora's Box 
    READING Patrice Petro, Joyless Streets. Princeton: Princeton UP, 1989. 3- 36. 

    FATAL ATTRACTIONS: EARLY GERMAN SOUND FILM, 1929-1933
     
    2/8 FILM Leni Riefenstahl, The Blue Light (1932)
    READING Eric Rentschler, Ministry of Illusion. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1996. 25-51.
    2/9 SCREENING Fritz Lang, M (1931)
    2/10 FILM
    READING Anton Kaes, "The Cold Gaze: Notes on Mobilization and Modernity." New German Critique 59 (summer 1993): 105-117.
    Lotte Eisner, Fritz Lang. New York: Da Capo, 1976. 111-128.

    THE MINISTRY OF ILLUSION: NAZI CINEMA, 1933-1945
     
    2/15 FILM Hans Steinhoff, Hitler Youth Quex (1933)
    READING Eric Rentschler, Ministry of Illusion. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1996. 1-25.
    Karsten Witte, "The Indivisible Legacy of Nazi Cinema." New German Critique 74 (spring/summer 1998): 23-30.
    2/16 SCREENING Detlef Sierck, La Habanera (1937) 
    2/17 FILM La Habenera
    2/17 READING Eric Rentschler, Ministry of Illusion. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1996. 125-145.
    Klaus Kreimeier, The UFA Story. New York: Hill and Wang, 1996. 236-246.

     
    2/22 READING Klaus Kreimeier, The UFA Story. New York: Hill and Wang, 1996. 274- 288. 289-302.
    2/23 SCREENING Veit Harlan, Jud Süss (1940) 
    2/24 FILM Jud Süss
    2/24 READING Linda Schulte-Sasse. Entertaining the Third Reich. Durham: Duke UP, 1996. 47-91.
    Eric Rentschler, Ministry of Illusion. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1996. 149-169.

    BERLIN IN HOLLYWOOD: GERMAN EXILE CINEMA, 1933-1955
     
    2/29 FILM Michael Curtiz, Casablanca (1942)
    READING Jan-Christopher Horak. "German exile cinema, 1933-1950." Film History 8 (December 1996): 373-389.
    3/1 SCREENING Fritz Lang, Hangmen also Die (1943) 
    3/2 FILM Hangmen also Die
    3/2 READING Lotte Eisner, Fritz Lang. New York: Da Capo, 1976. 221-238.

     
    3/7 SPRING BREAK
    3/8 SPRING BREAK
    3/9 SPRING BREAK

    CINEMA IN DEMOCRATIZING GERMANY: THE 1940s AND 1950s
     
    3/14 READING Eric Rentschler. "Germany: The Past That Would Not Go Away." World Cinema since 1945. Ed. William Luhr. New York: Ungar/Continuum, 1987. 208-251.
    3/15 SCREENING Wolfgang Staudte, The Murderer are Among Us (1946) 
    3/16 FILM The Murderer are Among Us
    3/16 READING Heide Fehrenbach. Cinema in Democratizing Germany: Reconstructing National Identity after Hitler. Chapel Hill: U of North Carolina P, 1995. 1-12. 51-91. 148-168.

    OBERHAUSEN AND BEYOND: THE NEW GERMAN CINEMA OF THE 1960s TO 1980s
     
    3/21 READING Thomas Elsaesser, New German Cinema: A History. New Brunswick: Rutgers UP, 1989. 1-35.
    Eric Rentschler, ed. West German Filmmakers on Film. New York: Holmes & Meier, 1988. 1-7. 9-13. 111-112. 206-208.
    3/22 SCREENING Alexander Kluge, Yesterday Girl (1966) 
    3/23 FILM Yesterday Girl
    3/23 READING Anton Kaes, From Hitler to Heimat. Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP, 1989. 3-35.

     
    3/28 READING Thomas Elsaesser, New German Cinema: A History. New Brunswick: Rutgers UP, 1989. 117-150.
    Eric Rentschler, ed. West German Filmmakers on Flm. New York: Holmes & Meier, 1988. 104-111. 115-118.
    3/29 SCREENING Werner Herzog, Aguirre: The Wrath of God (1974) 
    3/30 FILM Aguirre
    3/30 READING John Davidson, "As Others Put Plays on the Stage." New German Critique 60 (fall 1993): 101-130.

     
    4/4 READING Eric Rentschler, ed. West German Filmmakers on Film. New York: Holmes & Meier, 1988. 42-45. 152-154.
    Thomas Elsaesser, New German Cinema: A History. New Brunswick: Rutgers UP, 1989. 207-238.
    4/5 SCREENING Wim Wenders, The American Friend (1977) 
    4/6 FILM The American Friend
    4/6 READING Roger F. Cook and Gerd Gemünden, eds. The Cinema of Wim Wenders. Detroit: Wayne State UP, 1996. 9-30. 33-41.

     
    4/11 FILM Rainer Werner Fassbinder, The Marriage of Maria Braun (1979)
    READING Anton Kaes, From Hitler to Heimat. Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP, 1989. 73-103.
    4/12 SCREENING Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Lili Marleen (1981) 
    4/13 FILM Lili Marleen
    4/13 READING David Bathrick, "Inscribing History, Prohibiting and Producing Desire." New German Critique 63 (1994): 35-53.

    "TALKING ABOUT GERMANY"? GERMAN FILM AFTER UNIFICATION
     
    4/18 READING Gerd Gemünden, "National Identity and Americanization in the Unified Germany." Framed Visions. Ann Arbor: Michigan UP, 1998. 195- 213.
    4/19 SCREENING Joseph Vilsmaier, Comedian Harmonists (1997)
    4/20 FILM Comedian Harmonists
    4/20 READING Wim Wenders, "Talking about Germany." The Cinema of Wim Wenders. Ed. Roger Cook and Gerd Gemünden. Detroit: Wayne State UP, 1996. 51-59.

     
    4/25 READING TBA
    4/26 SCREENING Tom Tykwer, Run Lola Run (1998)
    4/27 FILM Run Lola Run
    4/27 Final Discussion