Cinema and Social Change in Germany and Austria
Publication Year: 2012
Published by: Wilfrid Laurier University Press
Series: Film and Media Studies
List of Illustrations
The following agencies provided invaluable financial and logistical support for this project: the Waterloo Centre for German Studies at the University of Waterloo; the Canadian Centre for German and European Studies at York University; the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada; the Kitchener and Waterloo Community Foundation (through its Community Fund and its Musagetes Funds); the German Academic Exchange Service; the Goethe-Institut Toronto; ...
1 Cinema of Dissent? Confronting Social, Economic, and Political Change in German-Language Cinema
In early 2009, when this volume was beginning to take shape, reports from the Berlinale, the international film festival in Berlin, attracted our attention. Already in January, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung was promising its readers that the event would offer a close cinematic examination of social realities “under the sign of the economic ...
CHALLENGING VIEWING HABITS
2 The Counter-Cinema of the Berlin School
After a quarter century of neglect, German cinema has rekindled international interest in its productions. The many awards and recognitions German films have recently garnered—I’m thinking here of films such as Caroline Link’s Nirgendwo in Afrika (Nowhere in Africa, 2001), Wolfgang Becker’s Good Bye, Lenin! (2003), ...
3 The Triumph of Hyperreality: A Baudrillardian Reading of Michael Haneke’s Cinematic Oeuvre
In Le temps du loup (The Time of the Wolf, 2003), Austrian film director Michael Haneke depicts the fate of a family struggling for its survival in the aftermath of an apocalyptic event left unexplained. The opening sequence confronts the viewer with the brutal killing of the family’s father at the hands of strangers squatting in their country house. The mother has thus no choice but to embark on an ominous journey with her adolescent ...
4 Subversions of the Medical Gaze: Disability and Media Parody in Christoph Schlingensief’s Freakstars 3000
Christoph Schlingensief’s film Freakstars 3000 (2003) begins with the above epigraph, an ironic disclaimer that heralds both the film’s aesthetic and its central theme of disability. Originally filmed as a television series in 2002 and cut into a film in 2003, Freakstars presents an American Idol-style casting show for disabled participants who are tested, evaluated, and ...
REASSESSING AND CONSUMING HISTORY
5 Literary Discourse and Cinematic Narrative: Scripting Affect in Das Leben der Anderen
Meticulously composed and constructed by the first-time director/ screenwriter Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, Das Leben der Anderen (The Lives of Others, 2006) has won uniform praise and the 2007 Oscar for best foreign language film. Most critics have focused on what A.O. Scott called in his New York Times review, “Mr. von Donnersmarck’s brilliant exposition of the Orwellian logic of East German Communism.”
6 Heimat 3: Edgar Reitz’s Time Machine
In a recent exploration of the representation of the West German student movement in contemporary fiction, Ingo Cornils argued for the continued significance of this phenomenon, at least as it manifests itself discursively in contemporary Germany, claiming that “one of the constituent debates of the post-unification period has centred on the impact of the generation of ’68 […] on the culture, politics and society of both the “old” West Germany and ...
7 Troubled Parents, Angry Children: The Difficult Legacy of 1968 in Contemporary German-Language Film
In a recent exploration of the representation of the West German student movement in contemporary fiction, Ingo Cornils argued for the continued significance of this phenomenon, at least as it manifests itself discursively in contemporary Germany, claiming that “one of the constituent debates of the post-unification period has centred on the impact of the generation of ’68 […] on the culture, politics and society of both the ...
8 Creative Chaos as Political Strategy in Recent German-Language Cinema
The fall of the Berlin Wall and the demise of communism in Europe have contributed to a growing sense that currently there is no politically viable alternative to capitalism. Living in a world in which the clear lines between bipolar superpowers have been erased and nearly every imaginable youth rebellion has failed to overthrow the system, what is left for a young generation to do to eradicate social injustice? ...
9 “Looking for an Old Man with a Black Moustache”: Hitler, Humour, Fake, and Forgery in Schtonk!
From Chaplin’s rendition of Hitler in The Great Dictator (Chaplin, 1940) to Donald Duck’s in Der Fuehrer’s Face (Kinney, 1942), laughing at Hitler has been a way to deflect and at least morally to minimize the threat that Nazism posed to the world. Yet comic relief resulting from poking fun at Nazi Germany can, depending on the political-historical circumstance, be perceived ...
10 Haha Hitler! Coming to Terms with Dani Levy
At the beginning of the twenty-first century, the previous century’s most notorious dictator has become a Web phenomenon and laughing stock. The Deutsche Welle reports: “Move over Paris Hilton—Hitler is the hottest thing on Web 2.0” (Chase). Maclean’s magazine tells us that “Hitler comedy is in” and declares: “If Hitler comedy is starting to become popular in Germany, it’s absolutely thriving in other parts of the world” (Weinman 51). ...
QUESTIONING COLLECTIVE IDENTITIES
11 German Fascination for Jews in Oliver Hirschbiegel’s Ein ganz gewöhnlicher Jude
Shortly after Oliver Hirschbiegel attracted international attention with his 2004 box-office success Der Untergang (Downfall), he directed the chamber- drama-style film Ein ganz gewöhnlicher Jude (Just an Ordinary Jew) with Ben Becker, which was released in 2006. While Der Untergang attempts to depict Hitler’s last days in the bunker from a historical and, according to film ...
12 Border, Bridge, or Barrier? Images of German–Polish Borderlands in German Cinema of the 2000s
On 21 December 2007, as a further step in the expansion of the European Union, which had started in 2004, passport checks were abolished on Germany’s border with its neighbours to the east, Poland and the Czech Republic, allowing the two countries’ citizens to freely move within the Union’s Schengen zone. The new European Union states’ implementation ...
13 The Transnational Deutschkei in Yilmaz Arslan’s Brudermord
These words, spoken by child narrator in voice-over near the beginning of Yilmaz Arslan’s film Brudermord (Fratricide, 2005), refer to the phenomenon of migration from Turkey to Germany, and introduce the theme of transnational social space in the film. In defining transnational social space, Ulrich Beck states that a country is “not a fixed geographical magnitude, not a separate place ...
14 Diasporic Queers: Reading for the Intersections of Alterities in Recent German Cinema
As in his earlier films Im Juli (In July, 2000) and Gegen die Wand (Head- On, 2004), director Fatih Akin creates characters in his more recent film Auf der anderen Seite (Edge of Heaven, 2007) who move between Germany and Turkey. This time, however, in contradistinction to his earlier films that focused on heterosexual romance, he frames his intricate, ...
AN INSIDER’S VIEW
15 The Construction of Reality: Aspects of Austrian Cinema between Fiction and Documentary
Realism, veracity, authenticity. What Austrian cinema, especially the feature film, is known for worldwide is a certain form of realist cinema, marked by an almost obsessive observation and at the same time forceful stylization of reality. ...
Notes on Contributors