Films of Douglas Sirk
This five-week class explores the celebrated work of Classic Hollywood director Douglas Sirk, as part of the one-credit auteur series of courses exploring race, class, gender and sexuality in the Melodrama genre. This auteur series seeks to investigate how the Melodrama – a film genre typically associated with Classic Hollywood – has historically and contemporarily been utilized to simultaneously reinforce and subvert hegemonic ideals in the filmic construction of identity, the individual and society. German filmmaker Douglas Sirk’s films reproduced the glossy façade of Mid-Century Americana while also investigating the cultural fractures and fault lines that lay just beneath the surface. As one of cinema’s most revisited auteurs, Sirk’s work deserves academic treatment, not only for its lovely cinematography and star-studded narratives, but also in order to better understand how race, class and gender were negotiated in Mid-Century America through the cinematic form of the Melodrama. Films looked at in this course may include the following: “All That Heaven Allows”, “Imitation of Life”, “Written on the Wind”, and “Magnificent Obsession”.