German Film After 1945: Focus: Feelings

Claudia Breger

This introduction to German film since 1945 (in its European contexts) deploys a focus on feelings as a lens for multifaceted, intersectional investigations of cinematic history. We will explore how feelings have been gendered and racialized; how they overlap with matters of sex (as closely associated with political revolt in Western Europe, while considered too private for public articulation in the socialist East, especially when queer); and how they foreground matters of nation and trauma (for example via the notions of German ‘coldness’ and inability to mourn the Holocaust). Simultaneously, the focus on feelings highlights questions of mediality (cinema as a prototypically affective medium?), genre and avant-garde aesthetics: in many films, ‘high-affect’ Hollywood cinema intriguingly meets ‘cold’ cinematic modernism. In pursuing these investigative vectors through theoretical readings and close film analysis, the course connects affect, gender, queer, and cultural studies approaches with cinema studies methodologies. The films discussed span postwar and New German Cinema, East German DEFA productions, the ‘Berlin School’ of the 2000s, and contemporary transnational cinema. The course is taught in English. All readings and films will be available in translation/with subtitles.