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FS40ED: CONFRONTING THE NAZI PAST IN GERMAN AND AUSTRIAN FILM - B (2020-2021)

Last modified: 07 Jul 2020 16:30


Course Overview

The process of confronting the crimes and legacy of the Third Reich in Germany and Austria has been a long and difficult one. In West Germany this process began in earnest following the 1968 student revolution, with a younger generation questioning the role that their parents had played in the Second World War. In Austria, the process of coming to terms with the Nazi legacy took substantially longer to get underway, and it is only over the past thirty years that the country's view of its role during the Third Reich has shifted decisively from that of victimhood to complicity. The discussion about the Nazi past in Germany has further evolved following German re-unification in 1990. This course will look at a number of key films and directors from the past seven decades to examine the changing discourse and shifts in representation of the Nazi legacy in Germany and Austria. The course will proceed chronologically, encompassing both fiction and documentary film, offering the opportunity to compare and draw connections between films from different periods and of diverse genres.

 

Course Details

Study Type Undergraduate Level 4
Session First Sub Session Credit Points 30 credits (15 ECTS credits)
Campus Aberdeen Sustained Study No
Co-ordinators
  • Dr Katya Krylova

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

  • Any Undergraduate Programme
  • Either Programme Level 3 or Programme Level 4
  • Film And Visual Culture (FS)

What other courses must be taken with this course?

None.

What courses cannot be taken with this course?

None.

Are there a limited number of places available?

Yes

One or more of these courses have a limited number of places. Priority access will be given to students for whom this course is compulsory. Please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions for more details on this process.


Course Description

The process of confronting the crimes and legacy of the Third Reich in Germany and Austria has been a long and difficult one. In West Germany this process began in earnest following the 1968 student revolution, with a younger generation questioning the role that their parents had played in the Second World War. In Austria, the process of coming to terms with the Nazi legacy took substantially longer to get underway, and it is only over the past thirty years that the country's view of its role during the Third Reich has shifted decisively from that of victimhood to complicity, prompted by the Waldheim affair of 1986-88. The discussion about the Nazi past in the Federal Republic of Germany has further evolved following German re-unification in 1990. In both Germany and Austria, filmmakers have played a central role in the postwar era in reflecting the ongoing process of confronting a difficult and disturbing past. This course will look at a number of key films and directors from the past seven decades to examine the changing discourse and shifts in representation of the Nazi legacy in Germany and Austria. Students will be encouraged to draw on criticism of the individual films and relevant memory studies scholarship in order to develop their understanding of major developments since 1945 with regard to filmic representations of the Nazi past in Germany and Austria. The course will proceed chronologically, encompassing both fiction and documentary film, and students will be encouraged to work comparatively and draw connections between films from different periods and of diverse genres.

We will begin by looking at the first film made in postwar Germany, Die Mörder sind unter uns (The Murderers Are Among Us, 1946) by Wolfgang Staudte, and its depiction of the immediate aftermath of the war and of the Holocaust. We will proceed to analyse Die Sehnsucht der Veronika Voss (Veronika Voss, 1982) by Rainer Werner Fassbinder, and its portrayal of the pervasive culture of forgetting in postwar Germany. In the Austrian context, we will examine Axel Corti’s seminal trilogy Wohin und zurück (Where to and back, 1982-86), focusing particularly on the concluding part of the trilogy, Welcome in Vienna, which documents the problematic return of the protagonist, US soldier and Austrian-Jewish refugee, to his hometown at the end of the Second World War. We will consider two exemplary Austrian documentary films, which explore the climate of silencing and repression surrounding personal culpability and involvement in the Nazi war machine and in the Holocaust: Ruth Beckermann’s documentation of the self-exculpatory strategies of former Wehrmacht soldiers in Jenseits des Krieges (East of War, 1996), and Eduard Erne’s and Margareta Heinrich’s depiction of the repression of memory in an Austrian village in Totschweigen (A Wall of Silence, 1994). The treatment of the Holocaust in the new Berlin Republic will be examined through Margarethe von Trotta’s Rosenstraße (Rosenstrasse, 2003). We will proceed to look at documentary films which detail the fraught endeavour of confronting a family legacy of National Socialism, with Malte Ludin’s 2 oder 3 Dinge, die ich von ihm weiß (2 or 3 Things I Know About Him, 2005) and Marcus J. Carney’s The End of the Neubacher Project (2006) serving as exemplary case studies here. The phenomenon of the “comedic turn” in German fiction films about the Nazi leader Adolf Hitler will be explored through Dani Levy’s Mein Führer (My Führer, 2007) and David Wnendt’s 2015 film adaptation of Timur Vermes’s bestseller Er ist wieder da (Look who’s back). The course will conclude with two recent treatments of the Nazi legacy, Christian Petzold’s film Phoenix (2014) and Giulio Ricciarelli’s Im Labyrinth des Schweigens (Labyrinth of Lies, 2014), films which comment on the insufficient confrontations with the legacy of Nazism in early postwar Germany through their engagement with earlier cinematic styles, such as that of the rubble film. On completion of the course, students will have gained knowledge and understanding of the various ways in which German and Austrian cinema since 1945 has both reflected and shaped the evolving discourse on the Nazi legacy.


Contact Teaching Time

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

Teaching Breakdown

  • 1 Seminar during University weeks 8 - 12, 14 - 18

More Information about Week Numbers


In light of Covid-19 and the move to blended learning delivery the assessment information advertised for courses may be subject to change. All updates for first-half session courses will be actioned no later than 1700 (GMT) on 18 September 2020. All updates for second half-session courses will be actioned in advance of second half-session teaching starting. Please check back regularly for updates.

Summative Assessments

Tutorial/Seminar Participation

Assessment Type Summative Weighting 20
Assessment Weeks Feedback Weeks

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Seminar assessment mark

Written and oral feedback.

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

One 3-day take-away exam paper

Assessment Type Summative Weighting 40
Assessment Weeks Feedback Weeks

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Feedback

Written Feedback

Learning Outcomes
Knowledge LevelThinking SkillOutcome
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Essay

Assessment Type Summative Weighting 40
Assessment Weeks Feedback Weeks

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Written Feedback.

Word Count 2500
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
ReflectionAnalyseExplore how cinema can both reflect and shape debates and controversies relate to confronting the Nazi past in the German and Austrian context.
ReflectionEvaluateFocus on the development and evolution of filmic representations of the Nazi past in German and Austrian cinema since 1945, encouraging students to draw connections and comparisons.
ProceduralApplyIntroduce students to German and Austrian film since 1945 from different periods and of diverse genres.

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