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Module LXG-2008:
The German Film

Module Facts

Run by School of Languages, Literatures, Linguistics and Media

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 2

Organiser: Dr Helga Mullneritsch

Overall aims and purpose

  1. To introduce students to the history and development of German film, from its beginnings to the present day.
  2. To develop amongst students a detailed familiarity with some of Germany's most celebrated films.
  3. To investigate films as both historical documents and cinematic texts, and examine the relationship between historical events and their depiction in film.
  4. To introduce students to the critical analysis of film.
  5. To develop skills in essay writing and the reviewing of films.

Course content

This module will examine a selection of nine German films reflecting key themes in German cinema, from its beginnings to the present day. Students will be provided with an introduction to the history of German cinema, and will develop a detailed knowledge of the films examined both as historical documents and as cinematic texts. Whilst certain attention will be paid to cinematographic devices and the different movements associated with German cinema, the module will also explore the chosen films in a far wider context, examining the social and historical events surrounding the creation of the films, thus broadening students' knowledge of German history and culture.

Primary Sources:

Das Cabinet des Dr Caligari, dir. by Robert Wiene (1919)
M: Eine Stadt sucht einen Mörder, dir. by Fritz Lang (1931)
Triumph des Willens, dir. by Leni Riefenstahl (1935)
Angst essen Seele auf, dir. by Rainer Werner Fassbinder (1973)
100 Jahre Adolf Hitler, dir. by Christoph Schlingensief (1988)
Lola rennt, dir. by Tom Tykwer (1998)
Oh Boy!, dir. by Jan-Ole Gerster (2012)
The Animatograph Project, dir. by Christoph Schlingensief (2004-7)
Funny Games, dir. by Michael Haneke (1997)

Recommended Reading:
Cooke, Paul, German Expressionist Films (Harpenden: Pocket Essentials, 2002)
Bergfelder, Tim, et al., The German Cinema Book (London: BFI, 2002)
Elsaesser, T., New German Cinema: A History (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1989)
Ginsberg, T. and K.M. Thompson (eds), Perspectives on German Cinema (New York: G.K. Hall, 1996)
Hake, Sabine, German National Cinema (London: Routledge, 2002)
Kittler, Friedrich: Grammophon Film Typewriter (Berlin: Brinkmann & Bose 1986); English: Gramophone, Film, Typewriter, Stanford 1999.
Kracauer, Siegfried: Theory of Film. The Redemption of Physical Reality (Oxford 1960)
Seeßlen, Georg, Der Filmemacher Christoph Schlingensief (Berlin: getidan, 2015)

Assessment Criteria


D- - D+: For the award of credit, students should demonstrate a satisfactory comprehension of the various topics studied, with some understanding of the correlations and interrelations highlighted.


C- -B+: For the award of higher grades, students should demonstrate a solid comprehension of the various topics studied, with clear understanding of the correlations and interrelations highlighted, having also analysed and evaluated key sources.


A- - A*: For the award of the highest grade, students should demonstrate a detailed comprehension of the various topics studied, with a nuanced understanding of the correlations and interrelations highlighted, having also analysed and evaluated key sources thoroughly.

Learning outcomes

  1. Display an understanding of the development of German cinema, and an awareness of the different movements therein (i.e. Expressionism, New German Cinema...).

  2. Show an awareness of film as both an important cultural medium and a historical text.

  3. Display the ability to critically analyse film, and reflect on the possibilities and limitations of this genre.

  4. Demonstrate a mastery of basic study skills, such as the ability to make effective use of notes and secondary sources, and benefit from class discussions.

  5. Present arguments in essays and reviews, supported with literary and historical evidence.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
Essay 40
Review Dossier 20
Exam 40

Teaching and Learning Strategy


One 1-hour lecture per week for 11 weeks. One 1-hour seminar per week for 11 weeks


One ca. 2-hour film screening per week for 10 weeks.

Private study 158

Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Teamwork - Able to constructively cooperate with others on a common task, and/or be part of a day-to-day working team
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
  • Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others

Subject specific skills

  • Engaging with, interpreting and critically evaluating short and longer contemporary texts (short stories, films, novels) in the target language (Benchmark statement 5. 8, and 5.9)
  • Extract and synthesise key information from written and/or spoken sources in English / Welsh and/or the target language. (Benchmark statement 5.14)
  • The ability to organise and present ideas within the framework of a structured and reasoned argument in written and/or oral assignments and class discussions. (Benchmark statement 5.14)
  • Critical skills in the close reading, description, reasoning and analysis of primary and secondary sources in the target language and/or English or Welsh (incl. filmic, literary and other sources). (Benchmark statement 5.13, 5.14, 5.15)
  • Competence in the planning and execution of essays, presentations and other written and project work; bibliographic skills, including the accurate citation of sources and consistent use of conventions and appropriate style in the presentation of scholarly work. (Benchmark statement 5.10, 5.14, 5.15)
  • The ability to gather information, analyse, interpret and discuss different viewpoints and to place these in a wider socio-cultural and/or geo-historical and political and/or socio-linguistic context and to revise and re-evaluate judgements in light of those of the course leader, certain individuals or groups studied and/or fellow students. (Benchmark statement 5.13, 5.15 and 5.16)
  • The ability to write and think under pressure and meet deadlines. (Benchmark statement 5.15)
  • The ability to write effective notes and access and manage course materials including electronic resources / information provided on online learning platforms and library resources. (Benchmark statement 5.15, 5.16)
  • The ability to work creatively and flexibly both independently and/or as part of a team. (Benchmark statement 5.15).
  • The ability and willingness to engage with and appreciate other cultures and to articulate to others (in written and verbal form) the contribution that the culture has made at a regional and global level. (Benchmark statement 5.7)
  • Skills in the critical reading and analysis of literary and/or musical and/or filmic texts. (Benchmark statement 5.10)
  • The ability to grasp and discuss how films reflect objective or subjective positions in their treatment of their subject matter. (Benchmark statement 5.7 and 5.10)
  • The ability to comprehend, critically engage with and apply relevant theoretical concepts to materials being studied. (Benchmark statement 5.10)
  • The ability to engage in analytical, evaluative and original thinking. (Benchmark statement 5.14)
  • The ability to organise and present ideas and arguments in presentations, classroom discussions and debates. (Benchmark statement 5.14, 5.16)
  • Develop reading and audio-visual comprehension skills in the target language through the study of primary sources in the target language. (Benchmark statement 5.3, 5.4)
  • The ability to comprehend and apply cultural idioms by studying primary and secondary materials in the target language. (Benchmark statement 5.3, 5.4)
  • The ability to analyse, interpret and historically contextualise a range of films in the target language using different forms of critical analysis (cultural, historical, socio-political, literary etc.). (Benchmark statement 5.7, 5.10 and 5.14)
  • Sensitivity to and critical evaluation of key cinematic techniques and the use of cinematic imagery and language. (Benchmark statement 5.10)
  • The ability to critically understand the history, political situation and culture of East and/or West Germany. (Benchmark statement 5.10)
  • The ability to analyse German-language texts (incl. films, visual materials and ideas) and place them in a wider historical-political and socio-cultural context. (Benchmark statement 5.4, 5.7, and 5.11)
  • The ability to write an analytical film and/or book review in English / Welsh.
  • The ability to analyse and interpret a wide range of canonical German films and place them in the wider context of German film history. (Benchmark statement 5.14, 5.15)
  • The ability to critically understand German and Germanophone culture and its relationship to other cultures. (Benchmark statement 5.7)


Resource implications for students

No resource implications.

Talis Reading list

Courses including this module

Compulsory in courses:

Optional in courses: