Christopher LeMaire

Mentor: Dr. Barbara Mennel
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
 
"I believe that the very idea of film studies shows us that there is no final word on a film. There will always be room for a new perspective, analysis, or some sort of historical discovery. For me, pursuing research was really this natural progression of my desire to engage in these continual discussions. And, conducting this kind of research has shown to be such a fulfilling personal goal, considering how related films are to everyday life. Of course, my research goals were not created in a vacuum, and I am incredibly grateful to my mentor, Dr. Mennel, whose encouragement and insight have fueled so many of my interests."

Major

English

Minor

Russian Studies

Research Interests

  • Film History
  • German Cinema
  • Russian Literature and Culture

Academic Awards

  • University Scholars Program
  • Film Scholar at UNCW’s Visions Film Festival and Conference (2014 & 2015)
  • Florida Bright Futures

Organizations

  • N/A

Volunteer

  • Noah's Endeavor

Hobbies and Interests

  • Film
  • Photography
  • Travel
  • Literature

Research Description

Documentarians of a Different Kind: From the Weimar Republic to the Third Reich
The goal of my research is to demonstrate how German filmmakers during the Weimar period (the time between WW I and Hitler’s rise to power) became documentarians, without ever being acknowledged as such. I believe such distinctions will not only offer a deeper understanding of the German psyche during this period, but also reveal the variable nature of the documentary itself. My research actually begins post-Weimar, by analyzing the work of Leni Riefenstahl. Infamously regarded as a brilliant yet undeniably Nazi filmmaker, Riefenstahl in defense often proclaimed herself to be a mere documentarian. I aim to prove that Riefenstahl, in a way unbeknownst to herself, truly was a documentarian, a paradox that serves as the starting point for the research project. For, Riefenstahl’s tight control over aesthetics, particularly in “documenting” the Nuremburg rallies in Triumph of the Will, actually captures the Nazi mindset. Thus, I identify Riefenstahl as a documentarian of a different kind: one who subconsciously documents a national psyche by implementing its philosophy into her very method of filmmaking. In the same way, I will examine two filmmakers who, long before Riefenstahl, applied this form of documentary to Weimar society: F. W. Murnau and Walter Ruttmann. As well-known German filmmakers, they exist on opposite ends of the filmmaking spectrum (German Expressionism vs. avant-garde), thus broadening these new notions of documentary filmmaking.