10655 Film as History: Imagining and Screening the Twentieth Century

Credits: 6 intermediate credits in Film Studies or in Modern History

Prerequisites: none

Recommended: Understanding Movies: Introduction to the Art of Cinema

Author: Shlomo Sand

The course focuses on how movies, both feature and documentary, reconstructed the central ideologies and events of the 20th century. It also provides a critical examination of the role of cinema in the construction of historic consciousness, expands students’ general knowledge about the recent past and enhances their understanding of the 20th century. The course demonstrates perspectives of history as portrayed in moving pictures and in words.

Topics: Democracy and cinema: The masses, the sovereign and democracy – the strange love affair between cinema and modern politics; The Communist revolution in cinema: Red October to the end of Utopia – communism and the vision of revolution at 24 frames per second; Poverty in cinema: Aesthetics of suffering? – industrialization, class struggle and economic crises as photogenic objects; Fascism and Nazism in cinema: From black and white to “retro” colors – Fascism and Nazism on film; The Holocaust in cinema: The film industry vs. the extermination industry – from Zeiss, the bad Jew, to Schindler, the good German; The cold war in cinema: The cold war as a hot myth – McCarthyism and the nuclear age on the screen; Colonialism and cinema: Cinema as a battle zone – from colonialist acoustics to shunning by the “non-Western” world.