German 104: Unradical German Films of the 1960s/1970s

Instructor: Kalani Michell

When one thinks of German films from the 1960s, the so-called “New German Cinema” (Neuer Deutscher Film) usually comes to mind, along with a few male protagonist-directors and select films on Netflix. Films falling under this category have often been canonized as revolutionary and radical both in their politics and their aesthetics, and they tend to overshadow many other films from this period which, for certain reasons, have been written out of German film history, especially in the U.S. where this categorization perpetuates. Rather than reinforcing the narrative of certain films as central, radical objects around which all other German films should be situated, this class will return to the root of the problem: the attribution of “radical,” etymologically linked to “foundation,” “original” and “primary,” a term used to self-stylize and romanticize. We will consider a range of German-language films from the 1960s and 1970s that question narratives of origin, originality and radicality by redirecting our focus to the institutions, categories and scholarly texts that give rise to films and certain areas of film study in the first place. Taught in English.