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Film Studies Program
Bryn Mawr College
101 North Merion Ave
Bryn Mawr, PA 19010
610.526.5334

Karl Blumenthal

CLASS OF 2006

Major: History of Art
Minor: Film Studies

WHAT FILM CLASSES HAVE YOU TAKEN?

New German Cinema, German Cinema after WWII, Politics & Utopia in European Cinema, Film Before WWII, Identification in Cinema, Sex & Gender in German Literature & Film, Exhibition & Inhibition: Movies, Pleasure and Social Control, Cinema & Popular Memory, The Holocaust and Visual Culture w/ Lisa Saltzman

HAVE YOU DONE ANY FILM-RELATED INTERNSHIPS OR SUMMER PROGRAMS?

No. I have worked for two semesters as a projectionist in the Program and since October as a volunteer synopsis/review writer for the Bryn Mawr Film Institute.

WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO BECOME A FILM STUDIES MINOR? WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT FILM STUDIES?

I like Film Studies and took on the minor because of the opportunity the Program has given me to engage a consistently entertaining, fascinating and always-changing medium for my primary research. I have also been able and happy to study issues from across several disciplines within the communal realm of film studies.

DO YOU ATTEND ANY FILM-RELATED EVENTS ON CAMPUS? OFF-CAMPUS? ANY HIGHLIGHTS?

I have attended and do what I can to support future events concerning film sponsored by Haverford’s Hurford Center for the Humanities. At the end of April, I will be attending West Virginia University’s annual undergraduate Art History symposium, to present my thesis on German filmmaker Werner Herzog. I have helped organize this year’s Bi-College Film Festival and also plan on screening my first short film at a student event before the end of the 2005-2006 school year.

ANY THOUGHTS ON WHETHER OR NOT YOUR FUTURE PLANS WILL INVOLVE FILM?

At the moment I am developing a documentary on the history, present activity and projected future of the Bryn Mawr Film Institute. I also hope to return to school in the next few years to continue studying film.

IS YOUR THESIS FILM-RELATED? WHAT IS IT ABOUT?

Of Gods and Grizzlies:Ecstatic Truth and the new Kinship of Werner Herzog and Caspar David Friedrich Grizzly Man (2004), the latest documentary feature from Werner Herzog, re-energizes an old argument surrounding the influence of German Romanticist painting on the filmmaker’s aesthetic vision. In the 1970’s, Herzog garnered attention with films set against German Enlightenment-era backgrounds (The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser - 1974, Heart of Glass - 1976, Nosferatu - 1979). Critics seized upon compositional similarities between their landscape scenes in particular, and those of Dresden painter Caspar David Friedrich. In spite of the visual connection, Herzog denied that his visions were mediated through the influence of Romanticism. It is my assertion that there is an artistic kinship between Herzog and Friedrich that can be read in the figures that each positions in nature scenes, hoping to represent basic human truths by way of their struggles. Herzog, unlike the main character of Grizzly Man and Friedrich both, does not sentimentalize nature. There is no spirituality that speaks to him from the wild. However, the pursuit of ecstatic truth in men’s inner turmoil mirrors Friedrich’s explicitly religious motivations. Both artists follow men who enter nature, seek enlightenment, and come away instead with confusion and/or death. This pre-occupation with the precise source of man’s quest in nature joins Werner Herzog and Caspar David Friedrich in a way that the critics of 1970’s had not anticipated.

ANYTHING YOU'D WANT TO SAY TO SOMEONE CONSIDERING TAKING A FILM STUDIES CLASS, OR CONSIDERING A MINOR IN FILM STUDIES?

Classes in the Film Studies Program have been the most intellectually stimulating and just plain fun classes that I have taken in the Bi-Co. I say give them a shot!

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