ONLINE COURSE: The Image of Berlin in German Film (Nov/Dec)


Course periodNov. 30, 2020 - Dec. 18, 2020 Session I
Category Cultural Studies & Religion
Course levelsBachelor
Class size

max. 18 participants

Credits and certificate

Participants will receive 5 ECTS credit points after successful completion of the online course. Additionally, six weeks after the end of the online course a Transcript of Records will be issued by Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin.

Application deadline Nov. 15, 2020, or when participant quota is reached
Course fee650.00 Euro | (excl. program fee and discounts)

Online Course Fee


Since the invention of (German) cinema in the early 20th century, "Berlin" has been at the center of filmic imaginations. In Metropolis (1930) Fritz Lang depicts Berlin as a utopian and futuristic city. Der Himmel über Berlin (1988) by Wim Wenders imagines West Berlin as a 'city of angels', and in Lola rennt (Lola Lola, 1998), Tom Tykwer reconstructs a virtual Berlin that supplants 'real' Berlin maps. In our course, we will focus on different German films and filmmakers that cinematically reframe Berlin as a symbolic (e.g. M, Fritz Lang), political (e.g. The Lives of Others, Henckel-Donnersmark, 2006), traumatic (e.g. Look who's back!, David Wnendt, 2015) or Techno landscape (e.g. Berlin Calling, Hannes Stöhr, 2008). We will ask how Berlin is being visualized in German movies, what filming techniques (e.g. camera, lighting, cinematography, sound, set and costume design) are used in German cinema to 'paint' the city of Berlin on the movie screens. Furthermore, we will focus on questions of gender, genre and memory-construction that come into play within German cinematic culture, traditions and formats. Students interested in German film, theories of film and Berlin studies are very welcome to this class.


Online Course Program (pdf)

Course structure

The course content is equivalent to an on-site course offering 45 contact hours.


The study time includes:

  • virtual class room lessons with the lecturer and the fellow students (30%)
  • group exercises (30%)
  • assignments and self-study (40%)


Weekly schedule of virtual class room lessons:

  • Course days: Monday and Wednesday
  • 10.00 am – 12.00 pm (Berlin time, UTC+1)
    5.00 pm – 7.00 pm (Beijing time, UTC+8)
    8.00 pm – 10.00 pm (Sydney time, UTC+11)
    3.00 am – 5.00 am (Chicago time, UTC-6)
Language skills English: B2
Motivation Letter about one page in English
Student Profile

This course is designed for undergraduate/graduate students and Ph.D. candidates who have an interest in German cultural history and like to investigate in a theoretical and performative manner the relationship between German humor (if there is such a thing?) and the historical crime of the Holocaust. Students who attend this course should therefore know basic facts of German history and cultural phenomena like WWII, German shame, the Student Revolution, Cold War, the Reunification and the so called Welcome culture. This course offers not only a theoretical but also an artistic reflection on German humor and its underlying relation to the Holocaust. This artistic reflection ranges from the reenactment of a film scene, the imitation of the body language of a comedian to the acting out of humoristic subtexts. Students should not only enjoy academic but also performance related research methods. Course related department/s and faculties are: German studies (Literature and Linguistics), Film Studies, Cultural Studies, Performance and Theatre Studies.

In order to follow the course, a very good command of English is required.

The minimum age requirement is 18 years.

Dr. Susann Neuenfeldt

Dr. phil. Susann Neuenfeldt studied German, English and American Studies at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. She did her doctoral thesis „Schauspiele des Sehens: Die Figur der Flaneurin, Voyeurin und Stalkerin“  at the Institute for American Studies on the political relations between visuality and gender. Her postdoctoral studies – from the perspective of artistic research – develop a trauma history for the dental imaginary in the German context.

Dr. phil. Susann Neuenfeldt is currently working as a free lancing scholar of Cultural Studies and director of the Berlin Theatre Collective „Panzerkreuzer.Rotkäppchen“.

CoordinatorPierre Steuer/ Carmen Opolski/ Sanja Müssig
Contact detailsInternational Department
Unter den Linden 6
10999 Berlin