Animated Cartoons and Other Innovative Forms of Presenting Consciousness on Screen: The German TV Series Berlin, Berlin
When the German TV series Berlin, Berlin was launched with 26 episodes in the spring of 2002, it was quite a sensation because of its innovative use of narrative strategies. The 20 episodes of the second season confirmed that the recurrent and varied use of internal focalization via both the visual track and the soundtrack is one of the hallmarks of this series. The protagonist Lolle’s inner life is presented by means of dream sequences in blurred pictures and animated cartoons, resulting in an insertion of cartoon sequences in the real film in a manner similar to Tom Tykwer’s famous film Run Lola Run (1998). Furthermore, voice-over commentaries and music are used to reveal what is going on in Lolle’s mind. These different techniques of presenting consciousness on screen are not entirely new, but are reminiscent of such series as Ally McBeal. What is remarkable, however, is such an extensive use of these techniques in a German TV series that they are becoming one of its staple features. Critics were full of praise for Berlin, Berlin and welcomed the series because it stood out from the usual uniformity of German daily soaps. The formation of a large number of Berlin, Berlin fan clubs as well as the awarding of the ‘Deutscher Fernsehpreis’ (German Television Award) to Felicitas Woll (Lolle) in the category of best actress in a series (2002) and to the series as a whole in the category of best sitcom (2004) further testify to the great success of Berlin, Berlin. On the international level, the series was even awarded an Emmy in the category of best comedy (2004).
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