Freie Universität Berlin

Service Navigation

FU-BEST 5: German Cinema Before 1945 (Fall only)

InstructorDr. Philipp Stiasny
Credit Points5 ECTS / 3 U.S. credits

Fall semester only


German Cinema to 1945 offers an overview of the development of film in Germany from its origins in the German Empire of the late nineteenth century through the end of the National Socialist period. While this course centers on close readings of works that belong to the canon of German film, it also includes examples of popular, experimental and documentary filmmaking. The course hopes to achieve three interrelated aims:

  1. to introduce students to fundamental elements of film and film analysis;
  2. to foster a critical understanding of how film functions both as entertainment and as an art form;
  3. to explore the developments within German film in light of specific historical and cultural frameworks; but also to make students aware of the complicated issues involved in defining any unified national cinema, specifically, the pitfalls inherent in ready conceptions of German cinema.

This course assumes no prior knowledge of German, German films, or film theory in general. It is taught in English and all sound-films have English subtitles.

Please note: Each week after the regular session the film for the coming week will be screened. Attending these viewing sessions from approx. 7.15 to 9.00 p.m. is mandatory.