Film studies

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The Film Studies is an art and cultural science that all aspects of yourself cinematography ( feature film , documentary , experimental film ) in cinema and television devoted. Your goal is to gain a better understanding of the development and conception of films through analysis. Above all, theoretical and aesthetic structures in film history are examined and interpreted. Film studies are considered a minor subject in German university policy .


A scholarly examination of film began in the 1910s through various directions and intentions. In addition to initial works that dealt with the aesthetic peculiarities of the film, there were writings that investigated socio-political issues such as the danger to the body and, above all, the mind of the new medium.

The first steps towards creating a canon of cinematic terms beyond literary terms and experimental explanations of the semantics of film were made by filmmakers such as Sergej Eisenstein in his work “Montage der Attractions”, 1923, Urban Gad (“Filmen”, 1919) and Vladimir Nilsen (“The Cinema as Graphic Art ”, 1936) but also film theorists such as Béla Balázs (“ The Spirit of Film ”, 1930). Much of the early work on film theory was shaped by the question of the connection or the classification of film in art.

The Ecole de Filmologie the Paris Sorbonne studied from 1948 film theory as an interdisciplinary and first film-scientific institution issues mainly by sociologists and psychologists. Furthermore, in France, a broad study of film in essays and the like developed. a. of the magazine Les Cahiers du cinéma . Genres and film genres were examined, categorized and defined. Particularly artistic aspects of the film were placed in the foreground of the investigations and thus, for example, the auteur theory was developed. In 1957 a similar medium for film studies was created with the magazine Filmkritik in Deutschland.

In the 1960s, three works on film language appeared , which were instrumental in the eventual formation of a separate discipline. Umberto Eco examined the setting and its composition as the smallest units of film language. Pier Paolo Pasolini's structuralist approach saw the use of cinematic means as a representation of human trade. Finally, Christian Metz's highly acclaimed “semiology of film” saw a film language like linguistics and looked for structural units.

From the mid-1960s, there was an analytical examination of films and their aesthetic structures in Germany. The different scientific disciplines took different starting points and questions. Among them the sociology (e.g. Gerd Albrecht : “Die Filmanalyse - Aims and Methods”, 1964) and in the 1970s literary studies , theater studies and art studies .

The Media Studies issued in the late 1960s the film studies a private university forum in Germany and moved increasingly, television, and especially the television movie in their considerations one. Media studies were born on the one hand from literary studies, which wanted to take on other media, and on the other hand from newspaper studies, which later became journalism and then communication studies, which emerged from the social sciences and above all the mass media and their communication with the People examined.

In the 1970s, the focus was on genre analysis and cultural studies, which had already begun in the 1960s, as an interdisciplinary field for researching popular culture. Film analysis is discussed as a scientific approach to film . Today's university institutions under the names of film and television studies or media studies are in some cases still inconsistent and influenced by different disciplines. A total of 20 chairs at 12 universities can be assigned to the subject of film studies in Germany (as of June 2019). Compared to 1997, the number of chairs assigned to film studies has increased.


German film scholars include: Thomas Elsaesser , Miriam Bratu Hansen , Knut Hickethier , Gertrud Koch , Thomas Koebner , Michaela Krützen , Lothar Mikos , Norbert Grob , Marcus Stiglegger , Bernward Wember , Lorenz Engell , Georg Tiefenbach , Vinzenz Hediger .

See also


  • Julian Blunk, Tina Kaiser, Dietmar Kammerer, Chris Wahl (Eds.), Filmstil. Perspectives of a concept . edition text + kritik, Munich 2016, ISBN 978-3-86916-510-3 .
  • Dudley Andrew: Concepts in Film Theory. Oxford University Press, Oxford et al. 1984, ISBN 0-19-503394-9 .
  • Rolf Aurich, Ralf Forster (ed.): How the film became immortal. Pre-academic film studies in Germany (= film heritage. Vol. 1). edition text + kritik, Munich 2015, ISBN 978-3-86916-407-6 .
  • André Bazin : What is film? Alexander-Verlag, Berlin 2004, ISBN 3-89581-062-2 .
  • Francesco Casetti : Theories of Cinema. 1945-1995. Paperback edition. University of Texas Press, Austin TX 1999, ISBN 0-292-71206-5 .
  • Hans Emons: Film - Music - Modern. To the story of a changeable relationship . Frank & Timme, Publishing House for Scientific Literature, Berlin 2014, ISBN 978-3-7329-0050-3 .
  • John Hill, Pamela Church Gibson (Ed.): The Oxford Guide to Film Studies. Oxford University Press, Oxford et al. 1998, ISBN 0-19-871124-7 .
  • Stanley Kauffmann : Regarding Film. Criticism and Comment. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore MD et al. 2001, ISBN 0-8018-6584-0 .
  • Sigrid Lange: Introduction to Film Studies. Scientific Book Society, Darmstadt 2007, ISBN 978-3-534-18488-0 .
  • James Monaco : Understanding Film. Art, technology, language, history and theory of film and the media (= Rororo 62538 non-fiction book ). German first edition, revised and expanded new edition. Rowohlt-Taschenbuch-Verlag, Reinbek near Hamburg 2009, ISBN 978-3-499-62538-1 .
  • Bill Nichols : Representing Reality. Issues and Concepts in Documentary. Indiana University Press, Bloomington IN et al. 1991, ISBN 0-253-34060-8 .
  • Geoffrey Nowell-Smith (ed.): History of the international film. Metzler, Stuttgart et al. 2006, ISBN 3-476-02164-5 .
  • Jörg Schweinitz : Film and stereotype. A challenge for cinema and film theory. On the history of a media discourse. Akademie-Verlag, Berlin 2006, ISBN 3-05-004282-6 (At the same time: Konstanz, University, habilitation paper, 2002: Stereotype and Film. ).
  • Marcus Stiglegger : Ritual & Seduction. Curiosity, spectacle and sensuality in the film. Bertz + Fischer Verlag, Berlin 2006, ISBN 978-3-86505-303-9 (also: Mainz, University, post-doctoral thesis, 2005: Seductive strategies of cinematic staging.).
  • Bernward Wember : Objective Documentary? Model of an analysis and materials for teaching (= didactic models. 2). Colloquium-Verlag, Berlin 1972, ISBN 3-7678-0323-2 (expanded and revised special edition from the magazine "Jugend Film Fernsehen." H. 2/3, 1971).
  • Bernward Wember: How does television inform? List, Munich 1976, ISBN 3-471-79120-5 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Small subjects: film studies on the Kleine Fächer portal. Retrieved June 18, 2019 .
  2. ^ Knut Hickethier : Film and television analysis . 3rd, revised. Aufl. Tübingen: G. Narr-Verlag, 2001. ISBN 3-476-13277-3 , p. 2
  3. Small subjects: film studies on the Kleine Fächer portal. Retrieved June 18, 2019 .