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GERMAN 497 A: Studies In German Literature

The Longing for Authenticity: Constructing Reality in Film and New Media

Summer Term: 
Meeting Time: 
MW 1:10pm - 4:30pm
CDH 717
Andre Schuetze

Additional Details:

Reality has become the obsession of the modern audience.  Media such as film, television and video games attempt to recreate real-life situations or idealized versions of reality while social media such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat try to instantly connect us to an artificially framed and highly constructed version of reality at any time or any place.  But how do we explain this longing for reality?  What is reality?  Are we able to discern what it is, or is it simply made up?  And is the difference between reality and illusion really important anymore? 

This course seeks to investigate the relationship between media and reality.  We will examine various forms of media and their ability to both depict and undermine realism.  Film was originally conceived as a medium that could flawlessly capture the essence of what is real, yet it has proved to be the perfect vehicle to alter, transform and shape reality and has become more a tool for imagination and manipulation.  We will explore media as a means of:

  • trying to depict reality: the documentary
  • trying to feign reality: the mockumentary
  • trying to pervert reality: propaganda
  • trying to envision reality: science fiction

We will discuss films by Wim Wenders, Werner Herzog, Walter Ruttmann, Sebastian Schipper, Alexander Sokurov and Jürgen Böttcher as well as other examples of media. 

Students will have the opportunity to explore media's capacity to depict and alter reality through the creation of their own film. 

Last updated: 
October 5, 2016 - 9:05pm