Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 2 sessions / week, 1.5 hours / session

Course Overview

This course is an invitation to German film-making since the end of the Second World War. We will investigate how German cinema captured the atmosphere of the immediate post-war years and discuss extensively major works of the "New German Cinema" of the sixties and seventies. We will also look at examples of East Germany's film production and finally observe the very different roads German cinema has been taking from the 1990's into the present. The course has several objectives:

  • to provide basic tools of film analysis which allow us to discuss questions like: How are movies constructed? How do we perceive films? How can we describe specific aesthetic qualities of a film?
  • to present an introduction to the history of German cinematic production, to introduce the work of major film directors;
  • to reflect on German film making as an artistic reaction and comment on German history;
  • to draw on intercultural analyses to understand German cinema not only in its own terms, but also vis-a-vis the Hollywood cinematic tradition. In other words: what is so different about German Cinema, and how can we appreciate it precisely for the ways in which it veers from the "dominant" convention?

One meeting a week will be mostly taken up by first screenings and a brief discussion afterwards. Different short readings will give us additional material for discussion in our second meeting. Most films have to be watched a second time.

This class fulfills the requirements of a communication-intensive course. Therefore, we will focus especially on ways to improve our communication through presentations, discussions, and writing assignments.


  • active class participation contributes to 25% of final grade.
  • reading assignments.
  • a 15 page film journal.
  • an oral presentation contribute to 15% of final grade.
  • three papers (7 pages each), of which at least one has to be revised and resubmitted each contributes to 20% of final grade.

Readings for this Course

  • Corrigan, Timothy. A Short Guide to Writing About Film, 4th ed. Essex: Pearson Longman, 2000.
  • Hake, Sabine. German National Cinema. New York: Routledge, 2001.