An online discussion of Babylon Berlin: Season One, Episodes 1 and 2 – Led by Dr. Hester Baer, Associate Professor of Germanic Studies and Film Studies at University of Maryland, College Park
Please Note: In order to participate in the online discussion (carried out over Zoom), registrants must obtain access to the series Babylon Berlin
on their own. For licensing reasons, the Goethe-Institut Washington is unable to coordinate access to the series at this time. The first season of Babylon Berlin
is currently available for legal streaming in the United States via Netflix.
"In the current boom in German TV dramas, no show has drawn more rave reviews worldwide than Babylon Berlin. Based on Volker Kutscher’s bestselling novels, the first season follows a police detective into the nightlife and political turmoil of Weimar Berlin." - Mark Thompkins, "Symphony of a Great City in 16 Parts: Babylon Berlin
Berlin in the Roaring Twenties: It is a metropolis for those with talent and ambition, for those in a hustle. But beneath the glittering surface, the impoverished masses strive for a better life. It is a time of organized crime and political extremism. The old militaristic elites have not yet abdicated, while an even more dreadful monster starts flexing its muscles.
Gereon, a police officer from Cologne, is new to the vice squad at the Red Fort, Berlin's monumental police headquarters. Though calm and sincere at first sight, he carries a haunting burden. The squad is headed by Bruno Wolter, a loyal and caring colleague, whose hidden agenda becomes a serious threat. Caught between these two men is Charlotte, a bright young woman struggling to improve her family's miserable living conditions and is leading a double life.
When a freight train from the young Soviet Union arrives, it draws attention from many corners: to some, its treasure is the key to political power, to others, it secures a life in freedom and wealth, but first and foremost it is a deadly trap to everyone trying to approach it.
Discussion of Season One, Episodes 1 and 2, will take place via Zoom on Thursday, April 30, at 6:30 pm. Please RSVP via Eventbrite in order to receive discussion prompts and the Zoom invite link. Discussion prompts from moderator Dr. Hester Baer
will be emailed to all participants RSVP'd via Eventbrite in advance of the discussion. The Zoom invite and additional directions/tips for accessing the Zoom discussion will be emailed to all participants no less than 48 hours before the discussion begins. The discussion will take place in English.
While viewing, registrants are encouraged to make notes of scenes, stills (timestamps welcome), and other notable moments they would like to bring up in conversation. If you have Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook, live-tweet your viewing experience under the hashtag #WatchKlatsch!
RSVP via Eventbrite
Dr. Hester Baer
joined the faculty of the University of Maryland in Fall 2013. She served as the Department Head of Germanic Studies from 2015-2019. She is also a core faculty member in Film Studies and Comparative Literature, and an affiliate faculty member in Women's Studies. Baer is co-editor of the journal Feminist German Studies
Professor Baer's research interests focus on gender and sexuality in film and media; historical and contemporary feminisms; environmental humanities; and German literature and culture in the 21st Century. She is the author of Dismantling the Dream Factory: Gender, German Cinema, and the Postwar Quest for a New Film Language
(Berghahn Books, 2009) and the co-editor of a special issue of Camera Obscura
, "Women's Film Authorship in Neoliberal Times: Revisiting Feminism and German Cinema" (2018). Her book German Cinema in the Age of Neoliberalism: A New Film History
is currently under contract. Articles related to this project include "Das Boot
and the German Cinema of Neoliberalism," published in German Quarterly
(2012) and "Affectless Economies: The Berlin School and Neoliberalism," which appeared in Discourse
At the University of Maryland, Baer teaches a wide range of courses in German language, literature, and culture, film studies, and theory. Her recent undergraduate courses include "Thinking, Feeling, and Sensing: Film Theory and the Experience of Cinema," "Feminist Film and Media Theory," "Berlin - Capital of the 20th Century" and "Nazis, Terrorists, and Spies: Coming to Terms with the Past and Present in Recent German Film." Her graduate seminars include "German Literature in the 21st Century," "Weimar Culture," and "Transnational Theory and Criticism."