War has played a central role in international filmmaking to tell compelling tales of camaraderie and enmity, but also to develop the ability of moving images to capture human action, movement, pain, trauma, victory, and loss—so much so that some critics consider war and cinema as brothers in arms. Taking various films about World War II and the American fight against Nazi Germany as a point of departure, this class explores the narrative and visual conventions of how filmmakers from different cultures have put war on screen. It also examines the way in which cinema has come to depict the fundamental changes of warfare in the context of today’s global war on terror. Films to be discussed include Mrs. Miniver, Bataan, To Be or Not to Be, Act of Violence, The Murderers Are Among Us, Apocalypse Now, Das Boot, Saving Private Ryan, Lessons of Darkness, Starship Troopers, Inglorious Basterds, and Zero Dark Thirty. Additional attention will be paid to contemporary video games such as Call of Duty, television series such as Homeland and Prisoners of War, and a number of contemporary video installation projects.
All required screenings in English (or with English subtitles); all readings in English. German majors may take an additional weekly one-hour section in German for major credit.