Berlin: The Birthplace of German Cinema

Cinema Studies student Katrina Lagace shares her impressions of Berlin and Innis College’s study abroad course, “Berlin: Cinema, City, Memory.”

 

brandenburggate

Brandenburg Gate

Berlin is an amazing city full of museums and galleries, historic sites, youthful nightlife and relaxing parks—not to mention the metropolis is also a real filmstadt, or “film city.” 

Berlin is home to the birth of German cinema and continues to be the centre of German film production.  The city itself is a set where many films have been produced—including films that we have screened in our course—which is one reason why Berlin makes for the perfect space to study cinema.

The summer abroad course taught by Professor Angelica Fenner, “Berlin: Cinema, City, Memory,” delves into the fascinating and the sometimes dark history of Berlin’s cultural landscape by focusing on cinema and architecture.  Our week studying Nazi cinema allowed us to focus on a dark part of German cinematic history by screening and studying films such as Leni Riefenstahl’s Olympia.  Three weeks into the course, our study on divided Berlin allowed the class to stare deep into the social and political effects of living in a divided city as interpreted through a camera.  The course also investigated the Berlin Wall and its cinematic and artistic representation in films such as Wim Wender’s Wings of Desire and Helke Sanders’ The All-Round Reduced Personality.

There is no doubt that something will be missing from the cinema studies courses I enroll in this year for after all, how better to learn about the cinematic representations of people, sites and cities, than by actually seeing and living in those spaces themselves?

 

                                                                                                Katrina Lagace
Cinema Studies Student
Innis College
2009

 

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