CMS 320 A: Cinema and Nation

Spring 2024
TTh 1:00pm - 2:20pm / SMI 305
Section Type:
Joint Sections:
Andre Schuetze
Syllabus Description (from Canvas):

Vampires, Vamps, and Villains - Introduction to Weimar Film

  • This course is taught in English.
  • All readings and discussions will be conducted in English. 

This course traces the development of the filmic production of Weimar Germany from pre-WWI to the rise of Hitler.  Through an analysis of significant films from the era, we will explore the stylistic, generic, and thematic trends of this turbulent period in German history.  The goals of this course are to examine the prevalent film techniques utilized, to learn about and apply media theory to our analyses of the films and to introduce the predominant cultural and historical themes of the Weimar Republic, such as issues of sexuality, the evolution of gender roles and their depictions, the rise of the metropolis, the influence of mass media, criminality, technology and the apocalyptic effects of modern warfare.
Our examination of the progression of film from ephemeral and superficial entertainment to an innovative art form is undergirded by our understanding of the development of the technical aspects of film and theoretical reflections from figures such as Siegfried Krakauer and Walter Benjamin, who critique the process of filmmaking and imagine the potential of this new form of media.  The material for this course exemplifies the way in which Weimar productions expanded into a major industry, with connections to the machinery of the Hollywood complex  (Lubitsch) and how Weimar films range from the avant-garde projects (Caligari and Nosferatu) to progressive vehicles of change through entertainment (The Blue Angel) to tools of propaganda (Riefenstahl).  Through this, students emerge with an awareness of the social and political change of this period as well as the significance of this medium, the way in which it shifted the definition and characteristics of art, and its ability to shape history and culture. 

Assignments for this course include written, analytical responses as well as creative individual and group projects.

Catalog Description:
Examines the cinema of a particular national, ethnic or cultural group, with films typically shown in the original language with subtitles. Topics reflect themes and trends in the national cinema being studied. Offered: AWSpS.
GE Requirements Met:
Arts and Humanities (A&H)
Last updated:
April 8, 2024 - 11:34 pm