German 267. Lulu, Lola and Leni: Women of German Cinema
This course examines the women of German cinema, as filmmakers, as subjects of male filmmakers, and as spectators. While each film will be explored in relation to the sociohistorical, politicocultural and aesthetic contexts of its production, the primary focus will be on the image and representation of the female body and agency and the principal characteristics of women’s filmmaking explored through such notions as a “feminine aesthetic.” This class covers a wide variety of works from the early beginnings of German cinema to the present. Each week is thematically structured around one film and several readings, on topics such as “the male gaze,” “gender and modernity,” “the body beautiful,” “fascist aesthetics,” “the Cold War and sexual repression,” and “female spectatorship.” Reading and discussions of contemporary feminist (film) theories will aid us in addressing the issue of gender and agency both from the viewpoint of production and consumption, as it also deepens our understanding of the women’s movement in Germany as well as in America. In addition, we will expand our knowledge of basic film aesthetics and apply this knowledge to the interpretation of the films viewed during the semester.