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

InstructorDr. Philipp Stiasny
Credit Points6 ECTS / 3 U.S. credits

Fall semester only


‘German Cinema before 1945’ offers an overview of the development of film in Germany from World War I 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.

The 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: There will be separate film viewing sessions each week. It is highly recommended to attend the viewing sessions. For those unable to attend, it is mandatory to make sure you have watched each film independently before class.