TCF112/New German Cinema

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(In German: Neues Deutsches Kino)

Overview of Germany, post WW II

  1. 1945 War ended
    • Allied: US, UK, France, USSR
  2. 1949 East/West split
    • Federal Republic of Germany (W)
    • German Democratic Republic. (E)
  3. 1950s Cold War escalated
  4. 1961 Berlin wall erected
  5. 1990 Germany reunified

German Film Industry

  • After 1945 War ended, Allies control film industry
    • Home-oriented
    • US films dominate theaters
  • 1946 Guaranteed Credits Policy
    • Gov't-approved scripts
    • 8-film commitment required
    • 1956 discontinued
  • 1961 Tax Break for "Quality" films
    • Controlled by FBW
      • Filmbewertungstelle Wiesbaden
    • Conservative committee
  • Film Subsidies Bill ('67)
    • Strengthened FBW
  • 1962 Oberhausen Festival
    • Manifesto issued
  • Kuratorium Junger Deutscher Film (1965) formed
    • Some gov't funding, BUT
      • Projects chosen by journalists
    • Created 2 film schools
    • Created film archive
  • Late '60s/70s TV supports indie film

1970s Rise of the New German Cinema

  • Wim Wenders
    • Road Movies (his prod. Co.)
    • Itinerant wanderers
    • E.g., Kings of the Road
    • E.g., Wings of Desire
  • Volker Schlöndorff and Margarethe von Trotta
    • Contemporary social issues
  • Rainer Werner Fassbinder
    • Twisted, dark melodramas

Werner Herzog

  • Makes both docs & fiction
  • "I am my films"--WH
  • Thematics
    • Landscape
      • Mysteriousness
      • Forces beyond human control
      • Forces beyond human understanding
    • Eccentric human behavior
      • The insane
        • E.g., Bruno S.
      • Physically impaired
        • E.g., Land of Silence and Darkness
    • Alternative states of consciousness
      • E.g., hypnosis
  • Narrative Structure
    • Journey or quest
      1. Insane quest undertaken by rational men
      2. Reasonable journey by psychotics
  • Visual Style
    • Mise-en-scene
      • Striking, bizarre landscapes
    • Cinematography
      • Long, meditative shots of landscape
      • Few close-ups
  • Aguirre, Wrath of God stars Klaus Kinski
    • Very contentious relationship--chronicled in My Best Friend (1999)