Contemporary German Cinema

Wallflower Press are offering a discount of 20% off New German Cinema: Images of a Generation to all students of CONTEMPORARY GERMAN CINEMA.  Vouchers to claim this 20% off will be inside the course packs which are given out at the first lesson of the course. The vouchers are redeemable in Cornerhouse’s ground-floor bookshop.

New German Cinema: Images of a Generation explores the context within which films made by Fassbinder, Wenders, Herzog, von Trotta and others emerged during the late 1960s through to the mid-1980s. It examines the American dominance of the German market place, the notion and politics of an Autorenkino, the framework of European art cinema, and distribution and exhibition initiatives that helped facilitate the birth and shape of a new national cinema. The author discusses the way in which the New German Cinema engaged with contemporary West German reality and how the films raised important questions about West Germany’s self-understanding in the postwar era.

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This course is led by Maggie Hoffgen, Freelance Film Lecturer
Intermediate Level – for those with some prior knowledge of Film Studies
£50 full / £35 concs

The course will explore the phenomenon that is sometimes called New German Cinema. We will do this first by looking at the historical context, starting with the momentous event of the fall of the Berlin Wall and with it the disappearance of the border between East and West Germany.

The fall of the Wall has certainly set free creative energies – many East (and West) German film directors have flourished since then. Synergies between East and West have developed, the DEFA studios in Potsdam-Babelsberg are once again a place of international film production, prestigious film schools attract talent – most of the new German film directors were trained in one of the major German film schools.

Since film is not only a product of its makers, but also a product and a reflection of the culture in which it was made, it seems obvious that the huge changes that affected German society in the wake of reunification are tackled and/or reflected in the films made since then. However, the East/West issue is only one of the themes explored in contemporary German cinema. Another important strand is the topic of immigration and integration of mainly people of Turkish background into German society. Since the mid-nineties the surrounding issues have been represented on film by Turkish-German directors.

Some of the new film-makers have devoted themselves to other social questions in modern Germany, such as growing up in modern society, the family, social outsiders. A relatively new development is the serious exploration of historical questions relating to the Third Reich and the Second World War.

It is envisaged that the course will have two strands running through it: We will look at how the above mentioned issues have been represented on film and what this might tell us about “the state that Germany is in”. Another focus will be the most important new directors since the mid-nineties who have dealt with one or other of these topics, with plenty of illustrations from their work.

There will be two screenings that will take place in the cinema:

24th January (Week 2) NIGHT SHAPES (Dresen, 1999)

14th February (Week 5) HEAD ON (Akin, 2004).

As always, there is a lot of room for questions and discussion!

Recommended reading

There’s no prior reading required for this course – Maggie Hoffgen will provide reading materials throughout the course.