UC Berkeley Department of Film and Media

Department of Film & Media UC Berkeley

Courses / Graduate

Fall 2018

240-002 | CCN: 25133

CInema of Crisis

Anton Kaes,

4 Units

M 1:00-4:00pm; M 4:00-6:00pm, Dwinelle 226

The seminar looks at German cinema between 1929 and 1934 through the lens of philosophical writings about crisis — economic, political, and cultural. We will analyze selected films from the pivotal years before and after the ascent of Hitler and ask how culture registered the gradual transition from a democratic to an autocratic system of government. Our interrogation will also address larger conceptual questions, such as the entanglement of aesthetics and politics, modernity and myth, proletariat and populism, as well as the very definition of crisis and state of exception. In addition, we will examine the media-technological shift from silent to sound cinema and radio. We will screen films by Bert Brecht, Fritz Lang, G.W. Pabst, Max Ophüls, Leni Riefenstahl, and lesser-known documentary and avant-garde works. Most importantly, we will discuss critical interventions by Walter Benjamin, Siegfried Kracauer, Sigmund Freud, Martin Heidegger, Ernst Jünger, and Carl Schmitt, as well as retrospective readings of the period by Theodor W. Adorno, Giorgio Agamben, Hannah Arendt, Jacques Rancière, Peter Sloterdijk, and Jürgen Habermas.

This course will cover a variety of 16mm filmmaking techniques, including hand-painted film, cinematography, and digital transfer with an emphasis on the avant-garde. Through readings, hands-on workshops, and individual projects, students will learn about exposure, the photochemical process, various film stocks, and digital editing. This course is intended to provide an historical perspective of film technology before the invention of video, a foundational understanding of cinematography as it is still used in video today, and an introduction to motion picture film as a professional medium of choice for contemporary filmmakers. Students will shoot and edit traditional 16mm film as well as digital transfers of film to video. This is a studio-based film production course that will utilize a range of equipment including: 16mm film cameras, video cameras and software, and audio and lighting instruments. The work created in class will culminate in a final screening/performance of individual and group assignments.