2016 - 2017

  Siege Mentality in National Cinemas                                                                  
Prof. Nitzan Ben-ShaulMexico - Arts120Mon1000-1400 Sem  2
University credit hours:  4.0

Course description

Siege mentality refers to a conception whereby individuals or groups perceive themselves as living in a besieged state facing a hostile world. This self-conception, originating for many nations in tradition, past and present experiences, and inculcated through state ideology, may turn under certain circumstances into a central conception, biasing the approach of individuals or groups within society to different problems faced by the nation. Siege mentality, arousing under certain geo-political and socio-political circumstances can be seen to inhere particularly in films dealing with issues perceived by many within the nation as threatening their state's existence, namely: films about war, or films addressing issues perceived as threatening or debilitating the nations' internal stability in face of a perceived threatening world, such as acute inter ethnic, class, or gender tensions. The course will follow the formal and thematic embedment of siege mentality in films of different nations focusing upon 5 case studies: German Expressionist films between the World Wards, American Film Noir and McCarthyism, Cuban films after the revolution, Hungarian films after the 1956 aborted revolution and consequent Soviet invasion, and Israeli films on war. 

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