ARTH 468 Spring 2014 Film as Art: Cinema in the Weimar Republic

Cross Listed as ARTH569
This seminar will explore the attempt, in Weimar writing on film and film production itself, to raise the status of cinema from a low-brow mass entertainment medium to a visual art form worthy to stand alongside traditional painting. As the critic Rudolf Arnheim argued in Film as Art (1931), "in film one continues to work with the means and devices of traditional art, [and] one can speak just as seriously about Charlie Chaplin, Greta Garbo, editing, and panning as one does about Titian, C├ęzanne, Baroque, and pleinairism." Among directors, F. W. Murnau studied art history at university, Fritz Lang began as a painter and sculptor in Vienna; they and other film makers availed themselves of the services of painters and established architects for the creation of film sets. The seminar will focus precisely on this constitution of film as a primarily visual medium, in which, to paraphrase Arnheim, the most profound content was conveyed by light, framing, physiognomy, and editing, against which the word and the often kitschy or hackneyed story line remained secondary. While the primary focus of the film will be German directors, we shall also examine the work of filmmakers of other nationalities who were passionately committed to raising film to the level of high art: for example, the Russian Sergei Eisenstein, whose Battleship Potemkin was a major cinema event in Germany, and the Dane Carl Theodor Dreyer, who directed three films there.
Class Format: seminar
Requirements/Evaluation: students will be responsible for oral shot analyses on segments of two films, an oral report, to be presented in revised, written form at semester's end, and a 10-minute critical commentary on another student's oral report
Additional Info: course grade is based on the final paper
Additional Info2:
Prerequisites: none;open to seniors and graduate art history students;others with the permission of instructor
Enrollment Preference: Graduate Program students then to senior Art History majors
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Divisional Attributes: Division I
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Enrollment Limit: 14
Expected Enrollment: 10
Class Number: 3395
ARTH468-01(S) SEM Film as Art: Weimar Republic Division 1: Languages and the Arts Mark Haxthausen
F 1:10 PM-3:50 PM Clark Art Seminar Room W 6:30 PM-9:00 PM Clark Art Seminar Room 3395
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