Film and Fashion amidst the Ruins of Berlin

August 2018
29 black and white illustrations
266 pages
9x6 in
Screen Cultures: German Film and the Visual
ISBN: 9781571135766
Format: Hardback
Camden House
BISAC PER004030, DES005000, SOC028000

Film and Fashion amidst the Ruins of Berlin

From Nazism to the Cold War

Mila Ganeva

Shows how cinematic treatments of fashion during times of crisis offer subtle reflections on the everyday lives, desires, careers, and self-perceptions of postwar German women.

This book steers attention toward two key aspects of German culture - film and fashion - that shared similar trajectories and multiple connections, looking at them not only in the immediate postwar years but as far back as 1939. They formed spectacular sites of the postwar recovery processes in both East and West Germany. Viewed against the background of the abundant fashion discourses in the Berlin-based press, the films discussed include classics such as The Murderers Are among Us, Street Acquaintance, and Destinies of Women as well as neglected works such as And the Heavens above Us, Martina, Modell Bianka, and Ingrid. These films' treatments of fashion during times of crisis offer subtle reflections on the everyday lives, desires, careers, and self-perceptions of the women who made up a large majority of the postwar public. Costume - in films produced both by DEFA and by West German studios - is a productive site to explore the intersections between realism and escapism. With its focus on costumes within the context of the films' production, distribution, and reception, this book opens up wider discussions about the role of the costume designer, the ways film costumes can be read as intertexts, and the impact on audiences' behaviors and looks. The book reveals multiple connections between film and fashion, both across the temporal dividing line of 1945 and the Cold War split between East and West.

Mila Ganeva is Professor of German at Miami University, Oxford, Ohio.

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Table of Contents

Vicarious Consumption: Wartime Fashion in Film and the Press, 1939-44
"Fashions for Fräuleins": The Rebirth of the Fashion Industry and Media in Berlin after 1945
Vignette 1 - Charlotte Glückstein: Historical Ruptures and Continuities in Postwar Fashion
Fashion amidst the Ruins: Revisiting Two Early Rubble Films, . . . und über uns der Himmel (1947) and Die Mörder sind unter uns (1946)
Vignette 2 - Hildegard Knef: Star Appeal from Fashion to Film
Farewell to the Rubble and Welcome to the New Look: Straßenbekanntschaft (1948) and Martina (1949)
Consuming Fashion on the Screens of the Early 1950s: Modell Bianka (1951), Frauenschicksale (1952), and Ingrid: Die Geschichte eines Fotomodells (1955)
Appendix 1:Principal Costume and Fashion Designers: Biographical Notes
Appendix 2: Films and Newsreels Discussed

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