Transnational Cinema: Germany and the U.S.

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Course Information
Film Studies
Terms offered: 
Fall, Spring
Language of instruction: 

*IMPORTANT: This course is an International Affairs & Security Studies content course. Students on the Metropolitan Studies program CANNOT take more than TWO International Affairs & Security Studies content courses! 

What is national cinema in the light of the international dimension of the production and reception of movies? This question is the starting point of the seminar. We will use the example of German film making in its relation to US cinema to explore the ways in which cinema cultures coexist within the broader context of globalization.

The concept of the transnational in film helps us look at a dynamic that concepts of the national and the global alone do not usually bring to light. For example, one object of analysis will be the close relationship between the Babelsberg and Hollywood film studios in the early twentieth and twenty-first centuries. How have both cultures enriched one another? What impact has the economic power of Hollywood had on German film making; which strategies has German film developed to approach this economic imbalance?

With these questions in mind, the course explores how US and German cinemas have engaged with major themes of the twentieth and twenty-first century: these include urbanization and modernization;, World War II, the Holocaust and the Cold War as well as the subject of capitalism, race and gender. How do contemporary discussions of these themes change not only through time (and from film to film) but also depending on their national-cultural contexts?

Students are introduced to German cinema from a transnational perspective and gain a new understanding of US film culture. They learn how the two movie industries and the specific images they develop position themselves globally in two specific (trans)national contexts.