CS: Film and History: Virtual realities. Film and History in Eastern Europe

Timothy Olin's picture

Have you ever considered history more than a series of names and events? Have your ever thought of movies as more than entertainment? Do these two forms of human creative endeavor have much in common? This course will open up ways for connecting film and history as forms of story telling, as forms of constructing virtual realities, and as attempts to represent what really happened in the past. As this course suggests, history is not always pure social science, but often a form of craftsmanship, of detective work, or of artistry, since it takes these skills to get to what we call "historical truth." Conversely, while movies are a form of art even when in documentary fashion, they always communicate through a medium--images. That is part of a historical context, past or present. Whether consciously or not, most movies make use of "historical truth" even when attempting to question it. In this course you will be able to explore the use of history by film makers and the use of movies in understanding a number of issues in the history of Eastern Europe. We will focus on three major themes: heroes as significant actors in history; what counts as authentic, real in depictions of the past; and finally, how depictions of the past serve to discuss current problems. The weekly breakdown of the course consists of one lecture, the screening of a movie, and a small group discussion.