The Nazi Past in Contemporary German Film

December 2014
21 black and white illustrations
214 pages
9x6 in
Screen Cultures: German Film and the Visual
Library eBook
Camden House
BISAC PER004030, HIS014000, HIS043000

The Nazi Past in Contemporary German Film

Viewing Experiences of Intimacy and Immersion

Axel Bangert

eBook for Handhelds
From intimate portrayals of ordinary Germans and Nazi leaders to immersive spectacles of war and defeat, this study argues that, since 1990, German film has focused on portraying the Nazi past from within.

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.

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Table of Contents

Close Views of Private Pasts
Seductive Encounters with Nazi Perpetrators
Immersive Spectacles of Public Pasts
Unifying Legacies of National History?


This book is suited not only for scholars of media and film but also for lay people with an interest in the National Socialist past and its portrayal in film. Therefore it is entirely imaginable that this study would not only be acquired by university libraries but also by public libraries. . . . Bangert's focused and detailed analysis leads him to an extremely precise presentation of his findings that extends throughout the work. . . . In sum, it may be said that this publication represents a successful attempt to do justice, in 214 pages, to the complexity of the topic . . . . The author's findings could . . . find a reception in media and film studies circles. MEDIENWISSENSCHAFT

The breadth of the spectrum [of recent cinematic treatments of the Nazi period] makes it exciting to follow the very different formal solutions of the filmmakers . . . . The analyses are very concrete and comprehensible; the sympathies of the author lie above all with "small," subjective, mostly documentary films. HHPRINZLER.DE

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