German 592

Winter Quarter

German 592, Winter 2014, cross-listed with Comp LIt 596
Eric Ames

Film and Opera
W 1:30-4:20
SLN 14697

This course explores the rich interrelations between film and opera: how opera contributes to the shape, plots, and visual luxury of film, the ambiguous status of both as high and low culture, the competition between image and voice in both media, the relations of time and space in both. In addition to watching videos of operas directed for the camera as well as films based on opera, we will attend two live performances at the Seattle Opera, one Metropolitan live broadcast in HD, and backstage tours at Seattle Opera. We will also reflect on the historical relations of opera, film, and cartoon animation.

Previous Iterations

German 592, Winter 2013
German Documentary in a Global Context

Eric Ames
Th, 1:30-4:20

A survey of the genre and the particular forms it has taken in Germany from 1895 to the present, this course will focus on key examples, including cinematic precursors and experimental forms as well as authored films by Walter Ruttmann, Leni Riefenstahl, Romuald Karmakar, Harun Farocki, and Werner Herzog. These examples will in turn be compared with films from Britain, France, Denmark, Japan, Israel, the US, and the USSR. Materials to be discussed will include (but are not restricted to): actualities, travelogues, avant-garde films, Kulturfilme, party-rally films, Holocaust documentaries, long-term studies, observational films (direct cinema and cinema verite), and essay films. While the course is organized as a survey, discussions and assignments will concentrate on developing strategies of formal analysis as well as on framing new research questions. Documentary is not a fiction like (or unlike) any other. It has a history of its own, and one that is worth exploring--especially as documentary forms become increasingly central to media cultures across the board. In English.