Germany Cinematography - From the Fall of the Berlin Wall to the Beginning of the 21st Century

Germany Cinematography – From the Fall of the Berlin Wall to the Beginning of the 21st Century

The fall of the Berlin wall, in November 1989, caught the cinemas of the two opposing states in difficult conditions, so that, in the unification, the new Germany found itself adding two weaknesses. Apart from a few isolated cases, of authors who have finally tasted complete freedom of expression such as R. Gräf in Der Tangospieler (1991), the great turning point (Wende) has not delivered, despite numerous attempts, truly significant fiction films. However, it must be added that nonfiction cinema has instead experienced an exceptional moment of renaissance. This is demonstrated not only by the numerous ‘hot’ documents that ‘stalked’ the events but above all two extraordinary works of reflection, both born in the East: Die Mauer (1990) by J. Böttcher and the monumental Drehbuch: die Zeiten (1993) by Barbara and W. Junge with whom, together with November Days (1990) by French director Marcel Ophuls (the son of the great director Max), some unforgettable pages on the end of the GDR were written. In the 1990s, Neuer Deutscher Film was reduced to a pale memory of the past: Wenders became an international filmmaker, more at home in Paris or Los Angeles than at home; Kluge has dedicated all of his efforts to auteur television; Schlöndorff, who returned from emigration to the United States and after his experience as director of the Babelsberg studios, returned behind the camera with very unequal results; Achternbusch continued to repeat himself in a mannerist way; Lilienthal, von Trotta, Schroeter and Herzog have ceased or greatly slowed down their work in fiction while Syberberg has been lost. E. Reitz, with the exploit of Die zweite Heimat, made in 1992, it constitutes the exception that confirms the rule, but by now the generation of ‘veterans’ has ceased to play that decisive role it once was. essential reorganization of the market, something radically new began to happen in the new Germany at the turn of the millennium. The cinematic situation, at least from an economic point of view, has never been so favorable: the cinemas are full and strong investments (public and private) keep the production on its feet, which is constantly moving to feed the needs of a rich internal media market. Not to mention the investments (equal in size to those made at home) in the United States, where the Germans have always enjoyed a leading position and where directors such as Uli Edel, W. Petersen or Roland Emmerich are active, curiously Hollywood often entrusts ‘archinationalist’ films such as Independence day (1996) or Air Force One (1997). In this era of market-oriented cinema, new talents continue to exist, such as Romuald Karmakar or Fred Keleman, who stubbornly pursue a research far from fashions against the tide, while an interesting Turkish-German cinema is flourishing. Thanks to a small film and television firmament (which includes Germany George, Heiner Lauterbach, Jürgen Vogel, Katja Riemann, Uwe Ochsenknecht, Till Schweiger, etc.) and the distribution of US majors, German genre cinema is experiencing a revival at the box office. As is well known, comedy has been the pioneer and in it we must point out the acrid personality of Helmut Dietl, who uses comic matter for biting analysis of costume: so in Schtonk! (1992), where he satirizes the sensational ‘case’ of Hitler’s false diaries, as well as in Rossini (1996), merciless radiography of the cinematic environment of the Bavarian capital. At a much lower level are, for example, the Munich-based Sönke Wortmann and Katja von Garnier, author of a nice experimental debut, Abgeschminkt! (1993; Women without make-up), or the Berliner Detlev Buck with the blockbuster Männerpension (1996) or the French-speaking Rolf Silber by Echte Kerle (1996; Too bad it’s male). But comedy isn’t the only commercially awarded genre;

Finally, in Berlin, cinematically speaking, after unification, there is the collective X-Filme Creative Pool, aimed at an arthouse cinema revised and corrected by the depressed techno air of the Nineties and marked by the desire not to imitate the path of the ‘fathers’. This new Berliner Schule, made up of a pugnacious, enterprising group of thirty-year-olds, moves between expressive research and market needs and has as its spearhead Tom Tykwer, author of Lola rennt (1998; Lola corre), a film he represented the most international success of a young German author. Beside him Dani Levy and above all Wolfgang Becker, who in Das Leben ist eine Baustelle (1997) did not, however, equal the goal of the previous Kinderspiele (Silver Leopard at the 1992 Locarno Festival).

Germany Cinematography - From the Fall of the Berlin Wall to the Beginning of the 21st Century

About the author