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Last modified: 31 May 2022 13:05

Course Overview

This course, which includes both fiction and documentary film, considers the strong political dimension of 21st-century German and Austrian filmmaking, as contemporary German and Austrian filmmakers not only engage with societal and historical issues in their home countries, but also turn their attention to global problems such as modern-day food production, the refugee crisis, and the global economy. The course will include films by Fatih Akin, Ruth Beckermann, Nikolaus Geyrhalter, Valeska Grisebach, Carmen Losmann, Christian Petzold, and Hans Weingartner.

Course Details

Study Type Undergraduate Level 3
Session Second Sub Session Credit Points 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits)
Campus Aberdeen Sustained Study No
  • Dr Katya Krylova

What courses & programmes must have been taken before this course?

  • Programme Level 3
  • Any Undergraduate Programme
  • Either European Studies (EU) or German (GM)

What other courses must be taken with this course?


What courses cannot be taken with this course?

Are there a limited number of places available?


Course Description

The predominant reputation of German and Austrian cinema, cemented in the latter half of the 20th century, is of a film tradition that is deeply introspective, both in its style and subject matter, especially in its ongoing concern with the legacy of the Nazi past. Yet 21st-century German and Austrian filmmaking may be characterised by the outward-facing nature of its film production, with directors from Austria and Germany increasingly turning their attention to places beyond their countries’ borders and to issues that transcend national boundaries, such as modern-day food production, the refugee crisis, and the global economy. What is perhaps the defining characteristic of German and Austrian film since the turn of the millennium is the profound level of political engagement and commitment characterising almost all notable contemporary German and Austrian filmmaking. While the work of German and Austrian film directors is undeniably informed by their German or Austrian background, their attention is frequently turned to issues beyond the confines of Germany and Austria. This is not least demonstrated by the English-language titles that German and Austrian film directors frequently choose for their films, directly appealing to a global audience. Moreover, questions of national and supranational identity, of how a country treats minority groups, or how a country confronts difficult aspects of its own past, are clearly issues relevant not just to German and Austrian culture. The inflection of contemporary Austrian cultural production both with the country’s heritage of having been at the centre of a multi-ethnic Empire, and the lived experience of multi-culturalism today, manifests itself in Austrian filmmakers’ outward-looking attention towards the world. This has led to international recognition, in the shape of both film awards and public appreciation for a film aesthetic ‘diametrically opposed to Hollywood values’ (Hoad: 2013). Similarly, the need for the new Berlin Republic to redefine itself following German re-unification in 1990 has given rise to the socially-critical and internationally-recognised cinema of the Berlin School. This group of auteur filmmakers was honoured with an exhibition by the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 2013. This course will look at a number of key Austrian and German films and directors from the past two decades to examine the evolving development of a transnational German and Austrian cinema. Students will be encouraged to draw on criticism of the individual films and relevant transnational German studies scholarship in order to develop their understanding of major developments since 2000 with regard to filmic representations of global issues in German and Austrian cinema. The specificities of Germany and Austria, with their own diverse histories which continue to impact on the countries’ present, will not be neglected, allowing for a multi-perspectival view on how contemporary Germany and Austria see themselves, and how they are in turn seen by others from various vantage points. Key questions to be considered by the course include: what makes German and Austrian cinema specifically German or Austrian? What unique perspective are German and Austrian filmmakers able to bring to bear on the global subject matter that they address in their works? How is contemporary German and Austrian cinema marketed to global audiences? The course will encompass both fiction and documentary film. Students will be encouraged to work comparatively and draw connections between films by different directors and of diverse genres. Films will include:Gegen die Wand (Fatih Akin, 2004), Die fetten Jahre sind vorbei (Hans Weingartner, 2004), Unser täglich Brot (Nikolaus Geyrhalter, 2005), Jerichow (Christian Petzold, 2008), American Passages (Ruth Beckermann, 2011), Work Hard, Play Hard (Carmen Losmann, 2012), Western (Valeska Grisebach, 2017), and Waldheims Walzer (Ruth Beckermann, 2018).

Contact Teaching Time

Information on contact teaching time is available from the course guide.

Teaching Breakdown

More Information about Week Numbers

Details, including assessments, may be subject to change until 31 August 2023 for 1st half-session courses and 22 December 2023 for 2nd half-session courses.

Summative Assessments


Assessment Type Summative Weighting 70
Assessment Weeks Feedback Weeks

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Learning Outcomes
Knowledge LevelThinking SkillOutcome
Sorry, we don't have this information available just now. Please check the course guide on MyAberdeen or with the Course Coordinator

Oral Presentation: Individual

Assessment Type Summative Weighting 30
Assessment Weeks Feedback Weeks

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All presentations are discussed individually within no more than 2 weeks of submission. All assignments receive CGS marks, which the Course Guide links to specific marking criteria, and written or verbal feedback in the form of tutors' comments is also given. Additional informal feedback on performance and tutorial participation is offered in tutorials. Tutors have office hours at which further feedback may be sought.

Learning Outcomes
Knowledge LevelThinking SkillOutcome
Sorry, we don't have this information available just now. Please check the course guide on MyAberdeen or with the Course Coordinator

Formative Assessment

There are no assessments for this course.

Course Learning Outcomes

Knowledge LevelThinking SkillOutcome
ConceptualUnderstandStudents will gain knowledge and understanding of the various ways in which 21st-century German and Austrian filmmakers engage with global issues in their works.

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