Courses / Undergraduate

Fall 2016

  • Auteur Theory: The Films of Dreyer and von Trier

    151 - 001 | CCN: 32958

    Mark Sandberg

    4 Units

    L&S Breadth:  Arts & Literature
    Scandinavian major: Elective or Danish core course
    Film major: Auteur course


    This course examines the notion of film authorship by juxtaposing the films of Carl Th. Dreyer, one of the most uncompromising international cinematic auteurs, and those of Lars von Trier, his self-consciously performative Danish double (and co-founder of the Dogme 95 movement).  These two directors, commonly identified as modernist and post-modernist, respectively, nevertheless share many cinematic preoccupations and common roots in the Danish film tradition. This course looks carefully at this case study of cinematic “stalking” and “identity theft” in order to test the idea of originality in film production.
    Students will gain detailed knowledge of these two directors and their films, will improve their film-analytic skills, and will become aware of the issues and problems tied to the idea of film authorship. Although some emphasis will be placed on the acquisition of factual information, most of the graded assignments will assess the student’s ability to engage with the films and the ideas of the course in synthetic and analytic writing.
    The Parson’s Widow (Dreyer, 1920)
    The Passion of Joan of Arc (Dreyer, 1928)
    Vampyr (Dreyer, 1932)
    Day of Wrath (Dreyer, 1943)
    Ordet (Dreyer, 1955)
    Zentropa  (von Trier, 1991)
    Breaking the Waves  (von Trier, 1996)
    The Idiots  (von Trier, 1998)
    Dancer in the Dark  (von Trier, 2000)
    The Perfect Human/The Five Obstructions (von Trier/Leth, 2003)
    The Boss of it All (von Trier, 2006)
    Melancholia (von Trier, 2011)


    Prerequisites:  None


    Attendance, participation, and online viewing blog20%
    Take-home midterm exam20%
    Research essay (5-7 pages)30%
    Final exam30%


    Badley, Linda. Contemporary Film Directors: Lars von Trier. University of Illinois Press, 2010. (also available as e-resource through UCB library)
    Drum, Dale D. My Only Great Passion.  The Scarecrow Press, 2000.
    Simons, Jan.  Playing the Waves: Lars von Trier’s Game Cinema. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2007. (also available as e-resource through UCB library)
    Collection of articles on bCourses