This module will explore the various ways in which the Holocaust has been represented in film and television, with specific focus on American film. Each week will focus on a particular issue and present case studies (for example, the immediate post-World War II response; film as witness; questions of gender and sex; Holocaust ‘comedy’), but the module as a whole will address three core issues: film’s ability to ‘represent the unrepresentable’, the use of film as history, and the so-called ‘Americanization’ of the Holocaust. These will be discussed through the study of the content and historical context of key films including The Diary of Anne Frank, Judgment at Nuremberg, Schindler’s List and Inglourious Basterds. You will not be restricted to writing on American film and there will be scope for comparative work on television and non-American films, for example Shoah and the miniseries Holocaust.
This module is intentionally multi- and interdisciplinary and there are a number of different approaches you could use approaching the subject. You could, for example, look at the historical context of the films under discussion, explore the tension between history and film, or you may wish to examine the subject via one of its more formal filmic elements such as star appeal, narrative, lighting or cinematography.