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Cinema from Germany and German language cinema

Parents: European cinema - Germany

Subgenres: German exploitation - German expressionism - New German cinema

Directors: Fritz Lang - F.W. Murnau - Robert Wiene - Erich von Stroheim - Josef von Sternberg - Walter Ruttmann - Rainer Werner Fassbinder - Werner Herzog - Wim Wenders - Volker Schlöndorff - Michael Haneke

Film theory: Siegfried Kracauer

Titles: The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari - (1920) - Nosferatu - (1922) - Metropolis (1927) - M (1931) - Funny Games (1997) - Run Lola Run (1998) - Gegen Die Wand (2004)

Head-On (2004) - Fatih Ak?n [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Easily the best German language film of the 2000s


Cinema in Germany can be traced back to the very beginnings of the medium at the end of the 19th Century and German cinema has made major technical and artistic contributions to film. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cinema_of_Germany [Aug 2006]

Early international powerhouse

German cinema was one of the early international powerhouses. The silent era produced classics like Robert Wiene's The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920), F.W. Murnau's' Faust (1926), Fritz Lang's Metropolis (1927), G.W. Pabst's anti-war miners film Kameradschaft (Comradeship; 1931), and with the Talkies came Von Sternberg's The Blue Angel (1930), Pabst's Westfront, and Lang's M (1931), which was banned by Joseph Goebbels who, more likely than not suggested one critic, discerned M's use of sound and image too "impressively" rendered the reality of "life under a terror regime." -Dr Mia Carter

The German cinema classics directly influenced the Hollywood and international film industries, including use of innovative sets, lighting, and spatial manipulations, specialized editing techniques, tracking shots, highly dramatic close-ups, and the heightened use of sound. These innovations were immediately adopted by Hollywood film directors. In the Nazi ministry of propaganda these techniques became central in what Siegfried Kracauer, in his From Caligari to Hitler: A Psychological History of German Cinema, describes as the medium's "sumptuous orchestration" of Nazi ideology. The close-up, for example, was used to celebrate and display the allegedly superior physiognomy of the Aryan type and to parody and display as monstrous and deformed the features of undesirable racial and ethnic types.--Dr Mia Carter

German horror films

"The weird pleasure the Germans take in evoking horror can perhaps be ascribed to the excessive and very Germanic desire to submit to discipline, together with a certain proneness to Sadism. In 'Dichtung und Wahrheit' Goethe deplores the 'unfortunate pedagogical principle which tends to free children early in life from their fear of mystery and the invisible by accustoming them to terrifying spectacles'." This insight into the 'sublimity' of the German soul is put forward by Lotte Eisner, the famous film historian, in her epochal work on the German film of the 20’s, "The Haunted Screen". --Ingo Petzke 1992 via http://www.fh-wuerzburg.de/petzke/nosferatu.html [Oct 2005]

All of this combined make the early German cinema the natural birthplace of the horror film. --Tohill, Tombs (1994)

Since World War II

Since World War II, Germany has often been overshadowed by French, Italian and Japanese cinema. There has been only one period since the war when German films and filmmakers gained increased awareness both within and outside of Germany. The cinematic "New German Wave" (Neue Deutsche Welle) made an impact in the 1970s and '80s, with directors such as Fassbinder, Herzog and Wenders. But even in Germany, very few of the Welle films were box-office hits. Today Fassbinder is dead. Herzog and Wenders still turn out an occasional film, but if German cinema has any real future now, it belongs to a new generation of filmmakers with names like Tykwer ("Run Lola Run") and Nettelbeck ("Bella Martha"). --http://german.about.com/library/weekly/aa021010a.htm [Oct 2004]

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