‘The old cinema is dead. We believe in the new’ (in Elsaesser, 1989, 20–1). These words resonate at the close of the precociously self-confident manifesto signed by twenty-six up-and-coming West German film-makers at the 1962 Oberhausen Film Festival. The interlopers, who were inspired by the French New Wave, styled themselves as the ‘Young German Cinemâ and were exasperated by the way domestic theatres were dominated by Hollywood re-runs and the peculiarly German genre Heimatfilme, insipid depictions of sentimentalised rustic idylls. A decade later — once youth had mellowed into middle age — they would prefer to be known as the ‘New German Cinema’. Original signatories such as Alexander Kluge and Edgar Reitz had been joined by film-makers such as Werner Herzog, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Margarethe von Trotta, and Wim Wenders. These film-makers gained international acclaim for their formal and thematic innovation and became leading intellectual figures in their own country.
KeywordsAmerican Culture Empire State Building National Socialism Family Portrait American Movie
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References and Suggestions for Further Reading
- Elsaesser, Thomas 1981: ‘A Retrospect on the New German Cinema’. In German Life and Letters, 41, 3.Google Scholar
- Elsaesser, Thomas 1985: ‘Germany’s America: Wim Wenders and Peter Handke’. In Susan Hayward 1985: European Cinema, Birmingham: Aston University.Google Scholar
- Elsaesser, Thomas 1989: New German Cinema: A History. London: Macmillan.Google Scholar
- Kolker, Robert Philip and Beicken, Peter 1993: The Films of Wim Wenders: Cinema as Vision and Desire. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Sandford, John 1980: The New German Cinema. New York: Da Capo.Google Scholar
- Wenders, Wim 1991: The Logic of Images: Essays and Conversations. Translated by Michael Hofmann. London: Faber & Faber.Google Scholar
- Wenders, Wim 1997: The Act of Seeing: Texts and Conversations. Translated by Michael Hofmann. London: Faber & Faber.Google Scholar