The Nazi Past in Contemporary German Film: Viewing Experiences of Intimacy and Immersion

The Nazi Past in Contemporary German Film: Viewing Experiences of Intimacy and Immersion

by Axel Bangert


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How has the German image of the Nazi past changed since the reunification of East and West Germany? And what role have cinema and television played in this process? This intriguing study argues that since 1990, the two media have turned toward inner German experiences of the Third Reich. From intimate portrayals of ordinary Germans and Nazi leaders to immersive spectacles of war and defeat, German film has focused on portraying the Nazi past from within. Stimulating and accessible, combining close readings with broad contextualization, this monograph shows how profoundly cinema and television have transformed collective remembrance of the Third Reich. The first publication on the topic to embrace the two decades since 1990, it provides a comprehensive account of cinema and television productions, presenting case studies of national film events such as Stalingrad (1993) and Downfall (2004), and assessing the influence of international blockbusters from Schindler's List (1993) to The Reader (2008). Targeted at a wide readership, the book will be a central reference point for university teachers offering courses on German film or cultural memory, will give guidance to both undergraduate and postgraduate students, and will make a lasting impact on research in the field of German screen cultures. Axel Bangert holds a doctorate from the Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages, University of Cambridge. Previously a Junior Research Fellow at Homerton College, Cambridge, he is an Adjunct Professor at New York University Berlin where he teaches German Cinema Studies.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781571139054
Publisher: Boydell & Brewer, Limited
Publication date: 12/29/2014
Series: Screen Cultures: German Film and the Visual Series
Pages: 214
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.20(h) x 2.80(d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations ix

Acknowledgments xi

List of Abbreviations xiii

Introduction 1

1 Close Views of Private Pasts 23

Shameful Exposures: Documenting Personal Stories and Family Histories 23

Intimate Insights: Portraying Nazi Leaders and Resistance Activists 40

2 Seductive Encounters with Nazi Perpetrators 55

Monstrous Fascinations: Face to Face with Evil 58

Homoerotic Attractions: Inside the Third Reich 78

3 Immersive Spectacles of Public Pasts 102

A Hollywood Aesthetics of German Trauma 105

Event Television and Media Convergence 126

4 Unifying Legacies of National History? 136

The Holocaust at Home 138

The Loss of "Herniat" 145

A Heritage of Destruction 152

Conclusion 162

Filmography 171

Bibliography 177

Index 189

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