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German Film: Nation and Identity (level 6)


  • Credit value: 15 credits at Level 6
  • Convenor: Professor Joanne Leal
  • Assessment: a 1000-word blog (30%) and a 2500-word essay (70%)

Module description

In this module, you will focus on the close critical analysis of eight German films from the period after 1945, all of which have a thematic focus on questions of identity, both personal and national.

You will be made aware of a variety of critical approaches to cinema and have the opportunity to practise key skills relevant to the interpretation of film. You will also gain an awareness of the historical development of German film after 1945. In particular, you will develop an understanding of the relationship between film and the cultural context in which it is produced. You will be encouraged to reflect specifically on the ways in which German identity has been defined in the post-war period and the specific contributions of filmmakers to this debate.

The films are all available on DVD with English subtitles. Please make sure you have watched the relevant film before each class.

Indicative module content

  • Gerhard Klein, Berlin, Ecke Schönhauser / Berlin, Schönhauser Corner (1957)
  • Konrad Wolf, Der geteilte Himmel / The Divided Sky (1963)
  • Heiner Carow, Die Legende von Paul und Paula / The Legend of Paul and Paula (1973)
  • Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Angst essen Seele auf Fear Eats the Soul (1974)
  • Helma Sanders-Brahms, Deutschland bleiche Mutter / Germany Pale Mother (1980)
  • Christian Petzold, Yella (2007)
  • Fatih Akin, Auf der anderen Seite / The Edge of Heaven (2007)
  • Michael Haneke, Das weiße Band / The White Ribbon (2009)