German 213: Document Work in Film Culture

Instructor: Kalani Michell

Film work is often thought to begin when the camera starts rolling: lights and props, stars and takes, and big names on the set looking through the lens and yelling at the crew. This is the labor of major decision-making and is creative and glamourous, reinforcing heroic self-descriptions. But something is conspicuously missing from this fantasy of film labor: the role of paperwork. This course focuses on German and European films that thematize the history and labor of administration and bureaucracy. Drawing recent research on bureaucracy in anthropology, ethnography, legal, and media studies, it will seek to push the study of paperwork beyond industrial cinema and into a film genre that has been reluctant to be seen through the lens of multiple authorship, namely experimental and documentary cinema. Open to undergraduate and graduate students. Taught in English.