CINE407 History and Film:

Representing the Catastrophic

 

Instructor: Aaron Kerner

Office: FA536

 

Telephone: 405 3972

Email: amkerner@sfsu.edu

 

Office Hours: TBA

 

http://online.sfsu.edu/~amkerner/index.html

 

Course Description: Arguably the 20th Century witnessed two of the most catastrophic events in human history: the Holocaust and Hiroshima. The magnitude of these events seem to defy all human forms of expression, we in fact refer to these events as "unimaginable," "incomprehensible," or "unspeakable." How then to represent them? And what are the best rhetorical strategies to represent these events: realism, poetics, documentary, dramatized accounts? While the course focuses largely on the discourse around Holocaust scholarship, and the debates regarding the ways in which to represent it, the objective of the course is to extrapolate from this existing body of scholarship; supplying the students with the analytical tools to approach other representations of historical events.

 

Course Requirements:

Attend all class meetings

Readings must be completed by the assigned dates

 

Course Assessment: Everything discussed in class (e.g., lectures, screenings, clips shown) is subject to examination. Likewise, all the required assigned reading is also subject to examination.

 

Paper One

25%

Paper Two

35%

Quiz One

15%

Quiz Two

15%

Attendance

10%

 

No extra-credit assignments will be given.

 

Course Reading Material:

Dixon, Wheeler Winston ed. Film and Television After 9/11. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 2004. SFSU PN1993.5.U6 F477 2004

 

All other reading material is available online either through electronic reserves, or an online database; you should assume that a reading is accessible through electronic reserves unless stated otherwise.

 

To access the electronic reserve material you will need to enter the password:  announce during class.

 

In addition, if you are accessing a database like Project Muse or JSTOR through an online service provider other than the SFSU server, you will need a code to access this material. Any computer on campus should have no problem accessing these databases.

 

Click here for further instructions for accessing the course reading.

 

NB:

This syllabus is subject to change.

Turn off your cell phone and other electronic devices.

Any violation of academic integrity will be referred to Student Judicial Affairs.

 

Introduction: Piecing the Catastrophic Together

 

Session 1

Ararat, Atom Egoyan, 2002

 

Session 2

Diamond of the Night, Jan Nemec, 1964

Everything is Illuminated, Liev Schreiber, 2005

 

Reading:

  1. Inga Clendinnen, "Representing the Holocaust," in Reading the Holocaust (Melbourne: Text Publishing, 1998), 183-207.

2.       Ernst, Wolfgang. "Distory: Cinema and Historical Discourse." Journal of Contemporary History vol. 18, no. 3 (July 1983): 397 – 409. Available via JSTOR.

 

Documenting the Catastrophic

 

Session 3

Free Fall, PŽter Forg‡cs, 1997

Night and Fog, Alain Resnais, 1955

Memory of the Camps, Sergei Nolbandov, 1985

 

Reading:

  1. Bill Nichols, "The Memory of Loss: Peter Forgacs's Saga of Family Life and Social Hell," Film Quarterly vol. 56, no. 4 (2003): 2 - 12.
  2. Annette Insdorf, "The Personal Documentary," in Indelible Shadows: Film and the Holocaust, Second Edition (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990): 211 – 233.

 

Session 4

Shoah, Claude Lanzmann, 1985

 

Reading:

  1. Shoshana Felman, "In an Era of Testimony: Claude Lanzmann's Shoah," Yale French Studies: Literature and the Ethical Question 79 (1991): 39 - 81. Available via JSTOR.
  2. Claude Lanzmann, "Seminar with Claude Lanzmann 11 April 1990," Yale French Studies: Literature and the Ethical Question 79 (1991), 82 – 99. Available via JSTOR.

 

Session 5

Mr. Death: The Rise and Fall of Fred A. Leuchter, Jr., Errol Morris, 1999

 

Reading:

  1. Errol Morris, interview by Roy Grundmann and Cynthia Rockwell, "The Truth Is Not Subjective: An Interview with Errol Morris," Cineaste vol. 25, no. 3 (2000): 4 – 9.
  2. Thomas Waugh, "Beyond Verite," in Bill Nichols ed., Movies and Methods Volume II (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1985), 234 - 258.

 

Allegories, Analogies, and Apocalyptic Laughter

 

Session 6

The Night Porter, Liliana Cavani, 1974

 

Reading:

  1. Marguerite Waller, "Signifying the Holocaust: Liliana Cavani's Portiere di Notte," Italian Women Writers from the Renaissance to the Present: Revisiting the Canon, in Maria Ornella Marotti, ed. (University Park, Pennsylvania: The Pennsylvania State University Press, 1996), 259 - 269.
  2. Annette Insdorf, "The Condemned and the Doomed," in Indelible Shadows: Film and the Holocaust, Second Edition (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990): 211 – 233.

 

Session 7

Life is Beautiful, Roberto Benigni, 1997

 

Reading:

  1. Maurizio Viano, "Life is Beautiful: Reception, Allegory, and Holocaust Laughter," Jewish Social Studies vol. 5, no. 3 (1999): 47 - 66. Available through the Project Muse database.
  2. OPTIONAL Ruth Ben-Ghiat, "The Secret Histories of Roberto Benigni's Life Is Beautiful," The Yale Journal of Criticism vol. 14, no. 1 (2001): 253 - 266. Available through the Project Muse database.

 

Session 8

Salò: The 120 Days of Sodom, Pier Paolo Pasolini, 1975

 

Reading:

  1. Naomi Greene, "The Many Faces of Eros," in Pier Paolo Pasolini: Cinema as Heresy (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1990), 173 - 217.

2.       Max Horkheimer, and Theodor Adorno, "Juliette or Enlightenment and Morality," in The Dialectic of Enlightenment (New York: Continuum, 1996), 81 - 119.

  1. OPTIONAL Marquis de Sade, "The First Day," from The 120 Days of Sodom (New York: Grove Weidenfeld, 1987), 263 - 282.

 

Atomic Apocalypse

 

Session 9

Quiz One

First Paper Due

 

Hiroshima mon amour, Alain Resnais, 1959

 

Reading:

  1. Noel Burch; Alain Resnais, "A Conversation with Alain Resnais," Film Quarterly vol. 13, No. 3 (Spring, 1960): 27-29.
  2. Wolfgang A. Luchting, "ÔHiroshima, Mon Amour,' Time, and Proust," The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism vol. 21, No. 3 (Spring, 1963): 299-313.
  3. Rebecca M.  Pauly, "From Shoah to Holocaust: Image and Ideology in Alain Resnais's Nuit et brouillard and Hiroshima mon amour," French Cultural Studies vol. 3, no. (October 1992): 253 - 261. I have to order this.
  4. Nancy Lane, "The Subject in/of History: Hiroshima mon amour," in John D. Simons ed., Literature and Film in the Historical Dimension (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 1994), 89 – 100. SFSU  PN50 .F57 1990

 

Session 10

The Daigo Fukuryu Maru, Kaneto Shindo, 1958

Gojira, Ishiro Honda, 1954

 

Reading:

  1. Chon Noriega, "Godzilla and the Japanese Nightmare: When Them is U.S.," Cinema Journal vol. 27, no. 1 (Fall 1987): 63-77. Available through JSTOR.
  2. Jerome Schapiro, "Atomic Bomb Cinema: Illness, Suffering, and the Apocalyptic Narrative," Literature and Medicine vol. 17, no. 1 (Spring 1998): 126 - 148. Available through Project Muse.

 

Session 11

Barefoot Gen, Mori Masaki, 1983

 

Reading:

  1. Susan Napier, "No More Words: Barefoot Gen, Grave of the Fireflies, and ÔVictim's History,'" in Anime: from Akira to Princess Mononoke: Experiencing Contemporary Japanese Animation (New York: Palgrave, 2000), 161-173.
  2. Hayden White, "Historical Emplotment and the Problem of Truth," in Saul Friedlander, ed., Probing the Limits of Representation: Nazism and the "Final Solution" (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1992), 37 – 53.

 

Session 12

Akira, Katsuhiro Otomo, 1988

 

Reading:

  1. Susan Napier, "Panic Sites: The Japanese Imagination of Disaster from Godzilla to Akira," The Journal of Japanese Studies vol. 19, no. 2 (Summer 1993): 327 – 351. Available via JSTOR.

 

9/11 and the Post-9/11 Experience

 

Session 13

25th Hour, Spike Lee, 2002

Flight 93 (aka United 93), Peter Markle, 2006

 

Reading:

  1. David Sterritt, "Representing Atrocity: From the Holocaust to September 11th," in Wheeler Winston Dixon ed., Film and Television After 9/11 (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 2004): XX-XX.
  2. Jonathan Markovitv, "Reel Terror Post 9/11," in Wheeler Winston Dixon ed., Film and Television After 9/11 (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 2004): XX-XX.

 

Session 14

The Road to Guant‡namo, Michael Winterbottom and Mat Whitecross, 2006

 

Reading:

  1. Philip Mosley, "Mohsen Makhmalbaf,'s Kandahar: Lifting a Veil on Afghanistan," in Wheeler Winston Dixon ed., Film and Television After 9/11 (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 2004): XX-XX.
  2. Mikita Brottman, "The Fascination of the Abomination: The Censorship Images of 9/11," in Wheeler Winston Dixon ed., Film and Television After 9/11 (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 2004): XX-XX.

 

Session 15

September 11th, Alain Brigand (creative producer), 2002

  1. Marcia Landy, "ÔAmerica under Attack': Pearl Harbor, 9/11, and History in the Media," in Wheeler Winston Dixon ed., Film and Television After 9/11 (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 2004): XX-XX.
  2. Peggy Tally, "ÔI Love You, I Hate You': Understanding Hollywood's Foreign Film Audiences in the Wake of September 11th," Studies in Popular Culture vol. 27, no. 1 (October 2004): 91 - 105. I have to order this.
  3. Astrid Schmetterling, "Encounters at the Site of Trauma 11'09"01 - September 11: A Film by 11 Directors," Third Text vol. 20, no. 5 (September 2006): 561 – 570. See current journals.

 

Session 16

Quiz Two

Submit final papers