1 THE GENERATIONAL OTHER: CHILDREN IN GERMAN CINEMA 1945 2005 By JENNIFER LEE COENEN A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCT OR OF PHILOSOPHY UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2011
2 2011 Jennifer Lee Coenen
3 To Danny and Julia, Dad and Mom
4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS This project would not be complete without the assistance and guidance of my committee: Nora Alter, Barbara Mennel, Eri c Kligerman, and John Cech. I also appreciate the support of Carol Anne Costabile Heming and Creed Greer. Several people have helped me personally through this project: Thanks go out to Danny for his all encompassing support ; to Julia for her patience, sup port, and understanding; to Marcie, for being my cheerleader; to Cathy, for keeping me sane; to the Littlewood family for suppo rt, encouragement, and respite. These individuals have influenced my work and my life tremendously. Their inspiration will always be with me.
5 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 4 ABSTRACT ................................ ................................ ................................ ..................... 6 CHAPTER 1 THE GENERATIONAL OTHER ................................ ................................ ................ 7 Child ................................ ................................ ................................ ........................ 13 Psychoanalysis ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 14 Fairy Tales ................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 20 2 CHILDREN IN POSTWAR CINEMA ................................ ................................ ....... 25 Irgendwo in Berlin and Deutschland im Jahre Null ................................ ................. 25 Rotation and Toxi ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 40 Die Halbstarken and Berlin Ecke Schnhauser ................................ ...................... 47 3 CHILDREN IN NEW GERMAN CINEMA ................................ ................................ 55 Literature in New German Cinema ................................ ................................ ......... 59 Der junge Trless ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 61 Jeder fr sich und Gott ge gen alle ................................ ................................ .......... 66 Alice in den Stdten ................................ ................................ ................................ 80 Die Blechtrommel ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 86 Deutschl and bleiche Mutter ................................ ................................ .................. 100 4 CHILDREN IN POST UNIFICATION CINEMA ................................ ..................... 113 Lola rennt ................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 116 Nirgendwo in Afrika ................................ ................................ ............................... 123 Good bye, Lenin! ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 131 5 CONCLUSION ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 145 WORKS CITED ................................ ................................ ................................ ........... 151 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ................................ ................................ .......................... 157
6 Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy THE GENERATIONAL OTHER: CHILDREN IN GERMAN CINEMA 1945 2005 By Jennifer L. Coenen December 2011 Chair: Nora Alter Major: German T he generational other is revealed t hroug h the relationship s between the child protagonists, their adult counterparts in the films, and the adult audience The generational other is explored in a survey of German fiction films from 1946 through 2003 divided into three postwar generations that re present their eras (these dates represent the earliest and latest dates for the films discussed) : postwar cinema (1946 1957), New German Cinema (1966 1980), and post Wall cinema (1998 2003). The concept of a generational other is based on the two dimension s of human development beyond the physical: the psychological, in which the child gains an understanding of self that leads to the formation of a personal identity, and the social, in which the child enters the social order and develops a connection to the collective identity. My analysis of the connection between the child protagonist and adult audience relies on p sychoanaly tic theory and scholarship on fairy tales.
7 CHAPTER 1 THE GENERATIONAL OTH ER My dissertation introduces the concept of the generatio nal other explored through the relationship between the adult audience and child protagonist(s) in a discussion of German fiction films from 1946 through 2003. I organize the films into three postwar periods: 1 postwar cinema (1946 1957), New German Cinema (1966 1980), and post Wall cinema (1998 2003). The concept of a generational other begins with the two dimensions of human development beyond the physical: the psychological, in which the child gains an understanding of self that leads to the formation of a personal identity, and the social, in which the child enters the social order and develops a connection to a collective identity. To explore these developmental paths, I will turn to psychoanalytic theory for an explanation of the basis for of the format ion of the self and other and scholarship on fairy tale s for their connection to the socializing process, especially within German culture. T hese two theoretical fields re veal develo pmental processes and how they connect the child protagonist to the adult audience. relationship to gender identification after the World War II Robert Shandley and Jaimey culinity and Barbara Kosta explores the female child, usually in a postwar mother daughter female identity. Shandley writes that in the rubble films a crisis involving a child often leads to the restoration of masculine power, but in a film such as Gerhard Irgendwo in Berlin 1 The dates listed here are the earliest and latest dates for the films I discuss from each era. Problems with defining these eras and their timespan are briefly discussed in each chapter.
8 ( Somewhere in Berlin 1947) (which I discuss in Chapter 2), Shandley claims the goal of the film is to reaffirm paternal authority, which emphasizes an attribu te that contributed to the rise of National Socialism following the strong father figure. Fisher describes the child (most often the male child) in postwar films in a regulatory function, acting as the and in po stwar society as a distraction In Disciplining Germany (2007) he traces the important but overlooked role that children had during the Nazi regime through areas of postwar reconstruction such as dealing with guilt, re education, and children in rubble fil ms. The focus on children and their confronting their own challenges. At one point, he does briefly suggest that the youth could be an other, but he develops that other as o ne that must be mastered, or 53). Kosta suggests that in films of the seventies and eighties the female child often offers an autobiographical ref lection of the adult filmm aker exploring a feminist perspective of history that suggests its place in the private as well as public realms. Kosta has explored female protagonists in literature and film throughout her publications. In Recasting Autobiography (1994) she focuses on te xts and films which present an autobiography of a parent, particularly the mother, from the perspective of the child, determined gender identification (9). Later she explores the removal of gender and cultural boundaries in post wall Germany through her co edited book Writing Against Boundaries (2001). I argue that focusing on by age and maturity uncovers a different aspect of experience Focusing on the
9 generational other reveal s a power that the child commands over its counterpart, the adult (including the audience), placing the adult in a weaker position traditionally held by the young and allowing the adult to simulate a fresh beginning in constructing an identity The generational other appears in German film s from the end of World War II through today as an expression of the German collective working through its Nazi past and the traumas of war through identity development The period between the end of World War II and the late f ifties was comprised of physical, economic, social, and psychological rebuilding. While the political forces worked to repair the infrastructure, German society attempted to work through the trauma of war and t he burden of responsibility, a process revealed in postwar cultural productions including film. Physical and economic development began immediately with debris removal and rebuilding of infrastructure, but working through the social and psychological damag e has been a lasting process continuing even today. Each subsequent generation has had to come World War II as well as the traumas suffered because of it German The first generation, those who experienced the war personally, emerged from the traumatic experience with the burden of moving society forward while being heavily tethered to the guilt, whether active or passive, associated with being German at th at time. The second generation, those who experienced the war secondarily through their parents and society either because they were not yet born or because they were infants or very young children, had to come to terms with the effects with National Socia lism and World War II on their identity development even though they were personally not part of it.
10 Their collective identity was tainted by trauma tha t exposed the faults of the older generation through blame and ideology, exemplified by feminist and anti authoritarian movements in West Germany. The third generation, the grandchildren of those who experienced the war, is not only distanced from it by ti me, but also by their the second generation ) melanchol ic connection to the war and by the third significant historical events: experiencing the end of the Cold War and the reunification of Germany not only as a joyous end to ty ranny, but also as a complete change in their worldview and the loss of the parts of childhood that helped build a collective identity (both in the East and the West). This third generation also has had to cope with a rapidly globalizing world and the chan ges globalization has brought to German society. The generational other comes out of the idea of the gendered and ethnic others that have been major research foci since the nineteen seventies The child adult relationship mirrors these configurations of ma le female and colonizer colonized ; the the significant binding force. Tim Morris explains that in the adult child power dynamic children involve negotiations of cultural power. We have power over others because we are more adult than they are. Or we are more adult in this relationship is validated through their abilities to master inadequacy, to cross the borders of adulthood and childhood during times of war and trauma, and to go through the process of psychological and social
11 development. o the future also threatens the adult; b ecause children will experience the future beyond the current adult generation, the younger generation can revise history using its own memories and experiences, thus threatening to render the adult generation powerl ess and even forgotten. is recorded throughout post World War II publications by physicians, psychologists, and organizations for protecting children In an UNESCO publication from 1949 on safe houses ), Elisabeth Rotten acknowledges that the experience o f European children during the war that children are connected to adults shocks of battle and bombing, fatigue and illness, hunger and cold, but the anxieties of his pare (13). These observations published in the aftermath of the war express the reality of the phys ical afflictions. Because war disrupts the classification of powerful adult and powerless child, postwar adult audiences can identify with child protagonists in their attempt to reconstitute themselves and their society. The postwar German population exper ienced the trauma of war individually and collectively, and though they undoubtedly brought this about themselves, their need to work through such a severely disrupted consciousness caused a return to the early stages of social and psychological developmen t.
12 Reconstructing a broken society causes its adult members to find themselves back in a situation they experienced in childhood the need to develop a sense of self, personally as identity and collectively as society and culture. The cultural and social influence on child development forms the basis of Lev on c ultural historical psychology and child development. First physiologically and psychological ly suggest s that our attempts to describe the child in terms of adults reveals our tendency to relate difference, i.e., otherness, to ourselves (Luria and Vygotsky 87 child, by virtue of both his physical appearance and his psychology, is a very special type of being, qualitatively different from the adult, and that special attention is needed (89). Second c ultural experiences affect specific modes of development. According to Luria and Vygotsky, the adult is a product of his or her environment. For children, the that consists of stages. Children begin to relate to the world through their mouths and hands before they connect visually (91 94). It is not, however, until the thorough development of language, and thus thinking, based experience become[s] strengthened During langu cognitive processes appear in its egocentric monologues that follow its articulated thoughts which seem random to adults This
13 process of learning about the world through mouth, skin, and eyes and then signifying the learned pa rts of the world through language constitutes cultural development. The Out of this early development behavior thro ugh the use of stimulus are provoked by specific socio cultural influences (language, behavior, etc.). Because children are themselves experiencing entrance into the social order, their behaviors, even as rep resented on screen, highlight aspects of the process of social development and acclimation that can be helpful to adults who have experienced a complete collapse of their society. Children are living, observable expressions of the psychological and social processes of human development. Child poses a challenge because quantifiable age is a poor proxy for maturity which cannot be measured directly. For my dissertation a child is an indiv idual who has not yet fully matured and completed his or her transformation into autonomous adulthood. The oldest protagonists in the films I examine are in their early twenties and thus not traditionally classified as children, but they are included becau se they remain strongly connected to their parents for their well being, i.e., they have not yet completed the transition to autonomous adulthood. On the other hand, some of the more independent protagonists that display maturity and autonomy must still be considered children because of their young age and their connection to authority.
14 Psychoanalysis The notion of an other is rooted in psychoanaly tic theory The theory of the generational other corresponds to the understanding of gendered and ethnic others However, unlike the dividing power in those relationships, power in the relationship of the generational other allows for a synthesis of the observer and the observed. This synthesis occurs because unconscious processes happen to children in their early stages of development and to postwar adults who essentially are in a similar state of development. The adults are faced with postwar trauma and the need for a new identity. The two basic stages of identity formation pre lingual and lingual occur in Jacq ues mirror stage and Sigmund fort/da game, respectively. Lacan contends that the mirror stage is the first moment of self identification of the infant in his or her environment. 2 The game that Freud observed eyond the combines the lingual part of the identification process with trauma mastery, the two most important elements for a discussion of the postwar psychological condition The issue of postwar trauma and Germans is taken up by Alexa nder and Margarete Mitscherlich in their study of the postwar melancholy of the adult collective ( The Inability to Mourn 1967 ) as the outcome of infantile psychic defense mechanisms, providing a connection between postwar adult audiences and the psycholog ical transgenerational phantom as a gap left by an unrepaired trauma that can transfer from one generation to the next 2 The Mirror Stage as Formative of the Function of the I as Revealed in Psychoanalytic Experience cr its published in 1966.
15 explains how these problems of dealing with trauma and developing a satisfact ory identification continue in the generations beyond the immediate postwar. 3 The interconnectedness of these concepts of identity formation and trauma creates the basic psychoanalytic framework with which I approach the generational other. In the mirror stage, the uncoordinated, and therefore fragmented, infant experiences identification with and alienation from the image in the mirror because he or she recognizes the image as self and as apart from the self. This event of primary identification introduc the ego and the ideal ego, essentially the psychic manifestations of the subject and his or her misrecognition of the self in the image. The ego, how the subject sees him or herself as from the outside as an object, develops because of the ideal ego, the imaginary projection of the self ( D. Evans 51 52). According to Lacanian theory, identification with the image helps create the ego and evoke s a sense of mastery, but because this takes connects to the image rather than symbolically through the mirror stage argues that the specular image helps the child realize him or herself in the environment ( crits 3). Through this realization, the child develops an identification with the image in the hope of the self being as whole as it is in the image ( crits 4, D. Evans 115). 3 The Shell and the Kernel The Symptoms of Phobia the R Phantom of Hamlet or The Sixth Act, preceded by
16 observations of the fort/da game expose through representational play and overcoming trauma through entry into the symbolic order ( using language ). Freud recounts watching a toddler hide a toy while making the basic vowel sound in the word fort (away). This was the most commonly played part of the game, though Freud also observed that sometimes the boy would reveal the hidden object while saying da (here). In playing the game, the boy could master the loss of his mother when she went out by making himself an active part in a representation of the disappearance rather than taking on passive, weaker position to the active, dominant position to overcome a trauma parallels my argument about the generational other in which the child protagonist takes the active, dominant position over the adult audience which becomes situated in the passive, weaker position. Freud the adult w atching and learn ing from a child also presumes this generational relationship even though he responds by analyzing the behavior unlike an audience who relates to the child protagonist in its attempt to rebuild its own collective identity and social structure and work thr ough trauma to master its loss. In the game n ot only is the trauma handled through representat ional the realm of what Lacan comes to Law, and culture, i.e. the areas that separate humans from their basic biological, natural, and animalistic form) and therefore manages a satisfying outcome for the subject. If, as D ylan symb according to Lacan the child has passed through the Oedipus complex, completing the second process of identification. Lacan explains the
17 Oedipus complex as a series of three steps that take the child from the imaginary order The child then tries to become the object of her desire and make up for the lack. Second, the child recognizes that the Law (the principles behind social relatio ns) denies the mother the object to repair her lack (the phallus), therefore seeing the father as competition. Finally, realizing that the father possesses the phallus that represents the l this role and he or she identifies with the father ( D. Evans 127 129). The final identification with the father develops the ego nguage, Law, and culture ( D. Evans 52). Identity formation and overcoming trauma happen in the act of articulation. In Lacanian psychoanalysis, transference labels the process of bringing the traumatic event into language in a manner that leads to working through it successfully. The use of an other to enter the s ymbolic also makes the process of transference an important authentic and full manner, there is, in the true sense, transference, symbolic transference something which takes place which changes the nature of the two beings Seminar 109). Therefore, transference can be thought of as using an other to come into language. fort/ da about the mirror stage highlight two remarkable moments of human development associated with what Lacan calls the imaginary and symbolic orders and which both ith trauma in general.
18 Alexander and Margarete Mitscherlich study these processes with a more specific focus on the psychology of postwar (West) Germany. According to the Mitscherlichs, Germans were mired in a melancholic relationship to their past becaus e they had not yet mourned the loss of their ego Ideal (Hitler, not as the person himself, but his ideal persona as Fhrer ) (23). The loss could not be mourned because of the collective psychic defense mechanisms that wartime and postwar traumas triggered For my purposes it is important to note here that these mechanisms originally infantile defense mechanisms (17) The Mitscherlichs repeatedly reference these three mechanisms in t heir work underscor ing the psycho logical proximity of the postwar German audience to the position of child, especially in regard to psychological and social development. T he Mitscherlichs address the problem of describing adults who have lived through Nazism and the war as infantile or ch ild like (17). They stand by their assessment not to dismiss or diminish the culpability of the adult population of this time and place in history, but to express that the traumatic experiences of war and loss of ego Ideal place a subject in a similar psyc hological position as young humans who are first developing their sense of self and other. The Mitscherlich s repor t three collective reactions to trauma that are manifestations of those infantile defense mechanisms. First, the response to the horrific crim es of the Nazis in the name of Germans and Germany came by way of a a way for the ego form of iden tity that was not self
19 most urgent task for their psychic apparatus was to ward off the experience of a mela took on manic qualities despite being credited to a strong and efficient German work ethic (13, 28). The inability to mourn left gaps in the unconscious that caused psych ic stress in was not created for that subject. The phantom alludes to a gap that was left over unconscious element never brought into the symbolic by the parent, but which the child in the progeny 176). The extraction of ugh traditional analysis because the subject is unaware of its presence and has no r eference to which it can recognize it through generally talking around it and its accidenta l appearance (175) The unconscious that affects the collective German ego still today because the guilt and trauma that was repressed by the past generations has transferred into the unconscious gaps of the subsequent
20 generations Although th e three generations since World War II have each worked to exorcise the phantom, its presence continues to exist in the collective unconscious Fairy Tales In traditional German culture, like many others, fairy and folk tales have acted as a tool for social development. Germany in particular is connected to this tradition because of the important efforts of the Grimm brothers to document the stories Fairy and folk tales are an integral part of the German cultural fabric. According to Jack Zipes : Germany has incorporated folktales and fairy t ales in its literary socialization process so that they play a most formative role in cultivating tales participated heavily in the creation of beliefs and norms and symbolically reflected changes in the social orders of Germany. (137) It is no wonder, then, that facing the need to rebuild their identity and society after World War II the Germans incorporate structural and content elements of fairy and folk tales in productions hi ghlighting a child protagonist T hese elements connect the reality of postwar Germany with this genre of fantasy and its socializing process. In fact, Max rationalistic era meaning ( The European Folktale 116). I attribute this ease not to lightness or entertaining qua lities but rather to the repetition of developmental and socialization features of the fairy and folk tale that have already been experienced by the population during childhood. The structure of fairy tales, Zipes argues, impresses nineteenth century Germ an bourgeois principles onto the development of the young. These principles, he contends, were still influential in the twentieth century, thus becoming part of the social and
21 psychological development of many generations from their telling, publication, a nd reading into the years of World War II making them just as significant in the postwar years. He summarizes the ir structure in Fairy Tales and the Art of Subversion (2006): To begin, something happens to the protagonist or the family structure, causing the in order to reconstitute familial and social order. The male and female heroes take on different characteristics during their travels, but their goals ultimately le ad to the same ending industrious, cunning, and acquisitive self While Zipes offers a contemporary summary of the structure, Russian scholar Vladimir Propp formulized and codified the structural elements of the fairy and folk tale dramatis personae Morphology of the Folktale He i solated 31 components the 1968 translation: absentation a family member goes from home (could be death of parents) interdiction the hero is told not to do something violation the ru le is broken reconnaissance the villain asks a question or is questioned delivery the villain gets an answer or information is revealed trickery the villain persuades, uses magic, or deceives complicity the hero is persuaded or affected by magic or deception villainy or lack the villain causes harm; a family member lacks something mediation harm or lack becomes known, the hero responds beginning counteraction (if the hero is a seeker) hero decides counteraction departure the hero leaves home the first function of the donor the hero is tested in preparation for help the hero responds to the test provision or receipt of a magical agent the hero receives a magical agent spatial transference between two kingdoms, guidanc e the hero must travel struggle the hero and villain meet in combat
22 branding, marking the hero is marked for identification victory the villain is defeated (no definition given) the misfortune or lack is repaired return the hero starts to retur n pursuit the hero meets obstructions rescue the hero avoids the danger unrecognized arrival the hero arrives at home or another place unrecognized unfounded claims difficult task the hero must endure an ordeal solution the hero manages the ordeal recognition exposure the false hero or the villain is revealed transfiguration the hero undergoes a change in appearance punishment weddi ng the hero marries and is rewarded with power and/or money focusing on the nature of the fairy tale and its characters as reflections of humanity. He offers a psychologic al perspective on the structural elements. In The European Folktale: Form and Nature (1947), he suggests that the fairy tale seems timeless and global because of its characteristics. The central character of a fairy tale is the hero who, according to Lthi knows no difference between his or her own world and the unknown European Folktale 54, Fairy Tale as Art Form 141). The story itself is a choreography literature European Folktale 54). Finally, the motifs are orphanhood, widowhood, childlessness, abandonment of children, fraternal conflict, or loyalty of brothers an European Folktale 66). For the postwar audience, unrestricted boundaries represent a chance to
23 losing control. And the motifs represent aspects of the main ar ena of social structuralization the family which is also central to early psychological development. Bruno Bettelheim suggests that fairy and folk tales are a vital part of human psychological development because they combine elements of fantasy with elements of reality. They participate in the socialization of the child because they offer a playground unconscious content i challenges and risk (2 purposes: to create a personal identity and prepare psychologically for participation in society (25). social struct ure correspond to the needs of postwar German society. The generational other as a theoretical perspective uncovers further layers of the traumatic effects of National Socialism and war on the collective adult populations in the three generations since W orld War II. Psychoanalytic theory describes the processes of identification, mastering trauma, and overcoming loss p rocesses which are explained important connections between child and adult when the adult has experience d the traumatic loss of national or collective identity. In addition, theories of fairy tale structure and purpose reveal aspects of films that create a link to childhood for the adult audience
24 and a re petition of the socializing qualities they have experienced when they were young. The following chapters develop the generational other through 13 German films from 1946 to 2003. Chapter 2 categorizes six films from the first dozen years after the war into three categories: rubble film, social criticism film, and films about rebel youths. In these films the child protagonists openly reflect on the psychological and social developmental issues of the immediate postwar period. Five films from the New German C inema are the subjects of Chapter 3. Here the child protagonists represent creating a collective identity. Chapter 4 explores two films from the late 1990s and early 2000s. The children in these films contend with identity formation in post wall Germany th century and its developing role in Europe. All translations are my own unless otherwise noted. Through my study I hope to in troduce the generational other as a theoretical concept worth further exploration. The relationships between the child protagonist and adult audience in these German films provide a new perspective through which to explore the complex path Germans have tak en to come to terms with the past.
25 CHAPTER 2 CHILDREN IN POSTWAR CINEMA This chapter examines the use of children and youths in German films from the immediat e postwar period into the late f Irgendwo in Berlin ( Somewhe re in Berlin Deutschland im Jahre Null ( Germany Year Zero Rotation Toxi Die Halbstarken ( Teenage Wolfpack 1956), and Gerhard Berlin Ecke Sch nhauser ( Berlin Schnhauser Corner 1957). The c hild protagonists in these films reveal the social and psychological condition of the adult audience and embody the process taken by adults to rebuild their society and collective psychology. Child protagon ists could serve this purpose at this time first because war disrupts generational distinctions, thereby allowing adults to identify with the children more easily, and second because tools for social and psychological development were already embedded in G erman culture via the socialization tradition of fairy and folk Irgendwo in Berlin and Deutschland im Jahre Null Irgendwo in Berlin and Roberto Rossellini Deutsch land im Jahre Null 4 two significant rubble films with child protagonists, explore effect 4 Deutschland im Jahre Null is often excluded from studies on German rubble films because it was made by Rossellin i an Italian Neo context in which it was made allow inclusion in studies of the German rubble film and especially in my study of children in postwar German film. In Shandley 17 rubble films, but excludes Rossellini mise en sc ne sic] film satisfies this definition even though Rossellini is not a ilm in a study on rubble films The film was made in the Ge rman language with Germans as actors and shot throughout destroyed Berlin. In 1972, Rossellini sold the film to Audio Brandon in its Italian dubbed form, making it the only easily accessible version until very recently (Tag Gallagher, personal corresponden ce). In
26 on the families and lives of their pre adolescent male protagonists in the setting of destroyed Germany. Through the child protagonists these films reveal t he beginning of the relationships that the two Germanies (East and West) will come to have with their past. Gustav, Willi, and Edmund proleptically assume the positions of East and West German memory. Each film contains elements indicating how each country will respond to the questions of memory as they work through their guilt and trauma and to the development of a post Nazi cultural identity. Irgendwo in Berlin follows the experiences of two boys, Gustav and Willi, in a small neighborhood of rubble fille d postwar Berlin. Gustav lives with his mother and near his of war camp. Orphaned Willi lives with a shopkeeper and her black marketeer tenant who play the role of his foster parents. The two boys spend their days playing war with the other returns, but he is thin and weak from malnutrition and psychological stress. Willi wants father is exposed an d he runs away to hide. While he avoids the adults, the neighborhood children taunt him, challenging him to climb a destroyed building through which he falls. A woman from the neighborhood takes him in to nurse him, but he eventually dies. After his death the neighborhood experiences positive changes the its original German language form, recognizing the important place this film hold in German cinematic history
27 with the help of the neighborhood children. Although the poignant scene of a boy falling from a bombed out building appe ars in both films, Deutschland im Jahre Null tells a different story. The pre adolescent boy Edmund lives with his family an old and ailing father, his adult brother hiding from authorities because he was a soldier, and his teenage sister, whose age and he alth make her the only member of the family who can earn money and therefore provide food and shelter. Edmund tries to find work, but because of his age nobody will offer him a job, no matter how menial. His only opportunities include thieving with two oth er children he knows from the street and creating mischief for payment from his former teacher, a Nazi. The teacher entices him with illusions of luxury the teacher lives in a co op with other Nazis who live relatively decadently, especially when compare d to tries to influence Edmund with Nazi ideology convincing him that the strong survive and the weak only hinder the strong. Edmund takes this lecture as advice and he decides that poisoning and killin g his sick father would unburden the family. But the night he commits this crime the family unravels. As the undertaker arrives, Edmund runs away and wanders the streets of Berlin throughout the night. In the morning, fatigued and stressed, he falls out of a shelled out building to his death. Unlike Irgendwo in Berlin Deutschland im Jahre Null ends here, without reconstituting the family and community. The differences in the re establishment of film industry in the Russian occupied zone and the American/Br itish/French occupied zones begin revealing the separate trajectories the Allies took to institute denazification and physical and social
28 reconstruction. The Soviets eagerly licensed and produced films for the denazification agenda because they believed th at the power of film to influence the masses would be a key tool in their efforts to pull Germans out of the rubble and ruins and back into a productive society (Kaes 10). DEFA (Deutsche Film AG) was founded in 1946, before the declaration of East Germany as a nation, but eventually became the center of East German film production. The W estern Allies saw the lack of a German film industry at the end of World War II as an opportunity to import their own films into the West German market (Kaes 10). They also distrusted the idea of a national German film because of its tainted recent history as the means of propaganda under the Third Reich (Kaes 10). Therefore, many of the films influencing the people in West Germany came from other countries, especially the Un ited States, France, and Italy (Kaes 10). The postwar film industries, encouraged by the separate zones, began the distinct paths East and West Germany took on their journey to reconcile with the past and develop a cultural identity. Immediately after Worl d War II the Soviet agenda of denazification incorporated a strong antifascist propaganda which used film as the most important device for relaying messages to the masses. The cultura l and national identity of the e astern zone developed through a Soviet in duced association with antifascism; the East Germans accepted the new authority by virtue of its not being fascist (Byg 205, 207). T his so called nicht Identitt connection to National Socialism. Karsten Dmmel explores this idea in his book about the GDR identity in novels of the s eventies and e ighties, writing that the East Germans nicht faschistisch, nicht bourgeois, nicht volksfremd,
29 nicht nihilistisch skeptizistisch dekaden t, nicht formalistisch modern bourgeois, not exclusive, not nihilistic skeptic decadent, not formalist modern) as an their developing collective ident ity on negating their former one. The Soviet controlled state established itself on the view that fascism stems from late capitalism and as long as the socialists resisted the bourgeois West, they would be less likely to relapse into nicht Identitt and the legitimacy of the East German state. Barton Byg also suggests that the complete reversal and rejection of their recent identity allowed East Germans to identify mor e as victors, as antifascists, and less as victims (206). DEFA used humanistic cultural values as an antidote to Nazism in their films to satisfy political aims supporting the idea of a mass resistance to National Socialism, counteracting the tendency towa rd despair and apathy (Byg 206). Therefore, the Soviet influenced films of the e astern z one focused on the causes and effects of National Socialism (Kaes 11). In Irgendwo in Berlin each character propagates the traits which the Soviets suggested the (Eas t) Germans adopt. The main protagonist, Gustav, is at heart a good will), they can work together to rebuild the garage odies the forward looking and hopeful citizen that contributes to social reconstruction and the qualities of friendship, truth, and goodness. He represents the one character to emulate that leads to a successful future. Willi, on the other hand, is not per fect. He has the potential to be as good as Gustav, but circumstances force
30 him to compromise these qualities to survive. He aids his black marketeer foster father hopefu lly propelling a chain of events that also leads to the recovery of the and strong will because his mistakes take up the most screen time. The reverent s death forces the audience to regard his reckless behavior as a reaction to the forced situation in which he lives, therefore reproaching the behavior and character of those like his foster father whose greed and selfishness weaken society While the boys themselves represent a particular Soviet inspired ideology, their persistence and hope expected of German women. She insists that her husband will return because she does not rece ive official notification of his death. She faithfully trusts the officials and waits. She repairs and readies his clothes and home. Her behavior influences the optimism of Gustav, Uncl e Kalle, and Waldemar, a strange r who meets the family Her only failur e is her inability to supervise her son, which is a reflection of the rubbled streets, returns from a prisoner of war camp. Since a young, healthy, male character would have to be a soldier, the only way to distance him from National Socialism was to make him a victim, a prisoner of war. This situation does not assume that he either went to serve willingly or reservedly, but it does seem to distance him from culpability. Now the fa mily includes a malnourished, weary Heimkehrer (returned in while he was away soldiering, is Uncle Kalle. His role in the war remains unclear, but he says he got
31 through it by working. His work e thic and his responsibility for Gustav and his mother exemplify the characteristics of a strong male figure in society. Uncle Kalle is one of the few men not sacrifice d on the front and who sees his duty to care for the people left behind. amily is the antithesis of and abusive. The shopkeeper and her tenant participate in the black market, showing the audience how the subversive black market weakens society through its acceptance of thievery, dis respect for the authorities, and general family dysfunction. One of the most difficult aspects of restoring order and government was establishing authority. After the recent destruction caused by Nazi authorities, who appeared strong and dedicated, the Sov iets had to convince Germans of legitimate Soviet authority. One of the ways to incorporate respect for authority into cinema was to associate distrust of authority with a criminal character inviting audience members to distance themselves from such a pos ition and instead align themselves with the authority The redeemable characters employ an optimistic air, a good (German) work ethic, and a strong sense of community. They help each other look to the future, either with words, objects (food), or deeds ( ne ighborhood cleaning). However, lurking in this optimism is the negated gap of identity ( nicht Identitt the refusal to identify with themselves as citizens of Nazi Germany), a repressed identity. Focusing on positive qualities permits overlooking culpabil ity and may have eased the transition to a successful postwar reconstruction of society, but would appear in later generations as feelings of mistrust, guilt, and betrayal.
32 The West did not immediately reconcile with its Nazi past. Anton Kaes suggests that the immediate reaction was admonishment (18), then, as Bruce Murray writes, the tendency to identify with the victim, followed by recognition and highlighting the resistance movements (25). Rossellini Germany Year Zero explores the first two admo nishment and victimization within the Khler family. Edmund Khler, the 12 year old boy in Germany Year Zero an anti hero, finds himself in situations unsavory for children. Like Gustav from Irgendwo in Berlin Edmund wants to do good, but as he attempt s to help his family Nazis and the children they influence take advantage of his loyal nature. The Nazi characters continue to indoctrinate him even after the war is over, prompting a series of events that lead to crime and death. Because he is a child, h e is not held responsible for his criminal actions, but he ultimately pays with his life for the situation in which the postwar, post does not exhibit a gleam of hope. The neighborhood bystanders do not react to the fallen boy. The other children (and adults) continue in their ways and do not learn from view, the West Germans were put i nto a situation over which they, supposedly, had no control. (This idea is, at the core, false since the people elected Hitler and the National Socialists into power; the citizens had little control, however, once Hitler seized ultimate power.) The West Ge rmans used the notion of living in a situation in which you have no control, like Edmund, as the route from identification with the perpetrator to identification as victim.
33 In the quest for postwar identity, West Germans also leaned to wards admonishment as a way to appease their sense of guilt. The film represents this by not punish ing the wrongdoers. The Nazis have suffered either no punishment or only a his soldiering, th e housing residents are only fined for their overuse of electricity and his teacher is never apprehended for his crimes fall and ultimate death is the only strong punishment and is doled out not by authority, but by chance. The members of Edmund different generations of the postwar father opposed the fascist government. (Mr. Khler refused to let Edmund join the Hitler Youth.) father represents the past that prevents the younger generations from focusing on the future and reconstruction through his weakness and illness that tether the children Edmund and his siblings, to him death should lessen the responsibilities of the remaining family, therefore making it easier for death causes the family to break apart. One might argue that this break up does lessen responsibility for siblings, Eva and Karl Heinz because it eliminates the burden of caring for the father and Edmund, but the brother and sister go their separate ways as well, mplete disintegration. This isolationist trajectory of the members of the young generation suggests a n ineffective approach to a revival of German society. Not only is the past, represented by the father, removed, but his abrupt and violent absence causes the basic social unit, the family, to fall apart. The representative
34 of the past, Mr. Khler, and the representative of one possible future, Edmund, cannot exist in this postwar world. Only Eva and Karl mere day to day survival remains. Eva suppor ts the family in its postwar state of disrepair. She works day and night to care for her sick father, her unfocused young brother, and her cowardly older brother. One might see her as the only hope for the family. She goes out in the evening to collect cig arettes from men in exchange for a dance in order to sell them on the black market, but she does not go so far as to prostitute herself. Later, when she and Karl Heinz are arguing about money, she threatens to become a prostitute as a response to his unwil lingness to report himself as a former soldier and therefore earn rations and be allowed to work. He fears persecution even though he was an unwilling soldier who took part in the war in the name of duty. Admitting his service would allow him to obtain a w ork permit and ration book, thus relieving some of the strain on his family and especially his sister. Eva and Karl Heinz must navigate their conflicts with honesty, innocence, and hard work -virtues necessary for rebuilding the debauched Nazi society. B ecause they are poles of these virtues, they must separate at the end. Eva must continue in her virtuous ways and Karl Heinz must come to terms with his dishonesty (living in hiding), guilt (as member of the military), and his unwillingness to work for the survival of the family. In this they represent the gendered response to the postwar experience. These two films are not about working through the Nazi past, but of working towards the future. Irgendwo in Berlin leaves the audience with hope for the future Germany Year Zero leaves the audience in despair. These two disparate messages provide a framework with which to understand what will become the East German and
35 West German memories of and modes of identification with the Nazi regime, the Second World Wa r, and even the Holocaust. The boys who meet disastrous ends, Willi, from Irgendwo in Berlin and Edmund, from Deutschland im Jahre Null not only represent developing national consciences, but, because the boys are both associated with corruption and crim inality, their deaths do not represent a desperate future but rather an end to a guilty past. Despite the desperate reality of these films, they also give the audience a point of connection through structural elements that would be familiar to the audienc e, elements of the fairy tale. Like the confounded reality of postwar Germany, the fairy tale characteristics in these films are also mixed up. The elements explored by Propp, Lthi, and Zipes are there, though sometimes rearranged, and the characters cont ain traits of the hero and the villain. This confusion made manifest in the fairy tale structures reflects the traumatic disorder of the postwar period. Irgendwo in Berlin uses playfulness and fairy tale elements to express the ambiguity between adult and presents ld. The strange and magical qualities of the fairy and folk tales. Waldemar k, the thief is magical and sly, although not really dangerous. The painter is a mysterious and these figures contain those fairy tale characteristics. Waldemar appeals to the audience
36 with his magic, a distraction for the war fatigued characters and audience. Mr. Eckmann represents that part of German society and history connected to culture and art. He is also compassionate and fair, helping the widow with her son and taking in Willi after his foster father kicks him out. He reprimands the boys for their destruction of his painting, but treats them fairly. He parallels the wise and mysterious helper found in fairy tales. This film also references playing and games to connect the adults in the audience with the child pr otagonists. The opening scene of the film can be explained as a game Waldemar who they believe stole some money. He tries to hide from them and eventually succeeds, only to be caught by Gustav and trapped in the shelled remains of W clothes, they are too big for him because he has lost weight from starvation and malnutrition during his time away, but the baggy clothes make him look like a child boys. The elem from fantasy. In this film characters embody the hero, the villain, and the helper, and sometimes a structural element is experienced through more than one character and in non s equential narrative moments. This is not uncommon in these films whose stories 5 To begin, a family misses a member 5 The italicized words in this subsequent
37 i nterdiction children for playing with firecrackers in the rubble and forbids them to continue. Next, a rule is broken This happens several times. The children still play with firecracke rs, Waldemar steals money, and Willi steals food. The villain gathers information about a hero and uses it to trick money. returns home unrecognized and is met with the common postwar challenges. His lack is made known he is malnourished and weak. Willi is forbidden to get into hi s foster deception he attempts to beat him, but Willi runs away. Here he is tested by the other children and responds by climbing th e ruins. He falls and gets help from the old painter and the widow with her mentally disturbed soldier son. The foster father is eventually defeated when he is found out and arrested for black marketeering. As a villain Waldemar causes harm to which the he ro must respond. Gustav and his dad find the money Waldemar hid in their home and they go to return it, only to be accused of stealing it themselves until they are able to convince others that they did not steal it. Eventually all the wrongs are put right. The villains are punished and the familial order is reconstituted realist film initially defies a relationship to fairy and folk tales, but relationship with the villain, Mr. Henning, his former teacher, comes from this tradition.
38 housemates. He fails and then bumps into the teacher on the street. Mr. Henning which means that boy enroll in the causes Edmund to unknowingly help the villian (National Socialism). And, finally, the home triumpha nt and ready to head the family, describes as integral to fairy and folk tales does not occur in this film, yet that does not take away from the strength of these structural elements Despite the effort of the filmmaker to cr eate a film using realism, he does not escape these connections to the fairy tale tradition. Elements from the fairy and folk tale tradition are not the only connection between the worlds of adulthood and childhood. Edmund, a child, wavers between two wor lds to which he cannot belong: adulthood and childhood. He is consistently branded with the terms Kind (child) and Junge (boy) yet continually given adult responsibilities. The film opens as he is denied work digging ditches because he is not old enough to work. pay for electricity, they refer to Edmund using the terms mentioned before, child and boy but then turn to him and ask if he has any cigarettes that they can sell. Later in the Heinz and Eva discuss where they will stay the night when Edmund chimes in that he will go off by himself. Karl
39 while Karl Heinz chose to stay in hiding. However, activities, such as playing with other children in the neighborhood or going to school either In fact, his past is even cut off from the collective pursuits of childhood since he did not belong to the Hitler Youth. His dress during the last sequence of the film illustrates his belonging to the two worlds of childhood and adulthood During close ups he seems to be wearing an adult looking suit jacket, but when the camera pulls away, he is also wearing shorts, like a little boy. He cannot be simply a child because the family needs him to help sup port them all, but his age, inexperience, and navet do not allow him to handle the world as an adult. The scene in which Edmund prepares the poisoned tea for his father significantly heir predicament. Heinz for not coming forward and suggests that he is not a man. As the ir father continues, Eva and Edmund leave the table. Eva washes the dishes and Edmund goes off to get the tea. At the moment Edmund is shown putting the that we see Karl Heinz with his head down in shame and ct Edmund the same way as his brother, except that he receives the message without the agitation. Heinz unknowingly supports Edmund for his like behavior, that is, he does something to change their circumstan ces instead of remaining passive and cowardly.
40 The borderlessness between childhood and adulthood also appears in the adult characters through childish qualities and references to childhood Mr. Henning, ul world. He and his housemates do not work because they have excuse notes (like Edmund had for his absence from the women are using This statement ca n be interpreted several ways, but ultimately it suggests that they were one thing and no w they are the other. Also, Eva tells Karl point of beginning Germany Year Zero Although this design ation of postwar Germans as infantile or childlike is complicated by the ir adult knowledge and complicity in the socializing process. Rotation and Toxi The rubble film pe riod ended in 1948 and other genres emerged. Films focusing on social reconstruction began appearing after the physical rebuilding had taken place for several years. Films such as Rotation and Toxi offered a venue to work through changes in German society. Rotation explores the destruction of the family and its recuperation through its central theme of forgiveness Toxi explores the importance of tolerance, as represented through the appearance of dark skinned child in a bourgeois German family Again, thes e films offer the adult audience a chance to work through social changes via child protagonists and their experiences.
41 Rotation contains elements of both the rubble film and the films concerned with contemporary social changes of the late 1940s and early 1 950s. It tells a story of social reconstruction in which rubble plays an important part of the mise en scne Although the main child character does not carry the story as in the films discussed above, he is integral to the social commentary. Rotation addr esses generational differences from the outset The film opens with the print machine and then the machine of war a constructed scene of the Battle of Berlin. Within the empty and partially destroyed street, an old woman runs across. She loots bread from a bakery and runs away with it. At the moment she passes the camera, a bomb explodes and the frame cuts to an image of her hand, splayed on the ground, still holding the bread. Her death, so striking in its portrayal and timing at the beginning of the fil m, encapsulates the rejection of the old generation. The scene then cuts to a placard with dialogue : Es begann vor 20 Jahre courtship. Soon after, the film cuts to Lotte and generational angst continues : intensifying the confrontation and bias between generations. The first time we meet the child, H elmut, comparatively late in the story, he is a interpretations that explain how this film fits into the reconstruction of the German collective psychology. First, from the ad point of view, however, the playpen can represent imprisonment by adult authority.
42 These two possible interpretation s of the playpen based on the different points of view captures the focus on the generational conflict. The shot of the baby behind the (playpen) bars echoes the image of the father behind (prison) bars at the end of the war, suggesting the shared experie nce of war. A second interpretation in the context of psychoanalytic theory appears in the latter half of the scene after the mother sets the baby down and walks into the next room to get the playpen. The baby notices her absence and begins to cry. As expl ained in the fort/da game analyzed by Freud the baby has not mastered h absence. This step, clearly highlighted by the filmmaker, reminds viewers of their own need to collectively master their traumatic loss. By returning to such early childhoo d development, this film begins trauma work at the core of psychological development The next two scenes in which the son appears occur just a little later. Both scenes show the boy in a situation of play guided by adults and meant to prepare Helmut for h is role in adulthood as predatory patriarch through the sexual play of pouncing on the mother and the vi olent play of training for war. First, the family appears tranquil and progressive in its portrayal of gender roles, starting with the father asking the son for help cleaning the dishes. The chore is interrupted, however, as the father leads him in play by surprising and pouncing on the mother who has gone to the bedroom to tidy up. In the middle of this predatory game, a noise outside distracts the boy a nd he goes to the window. While the son focuses on the events outside, the parents continue to play their predator prey game. At this point, the camera cuts to the events the boy sees the SS has come to take their Jewish neighbors away. When the parents ar e finally distracted enough from their play to discover what their son is witnessing, they quickly
43 shut the window and curtains -time witness ing the crimes of his country and of his parents both the crimes against Jews and the denial of them The second scene juxtaposes the tenderness and innocence felt for the boy in the pouncing/witnessing scene. At school, a new figure has replaced the authority of his parents the National Socialist teacher. Part of his education, as we are shown, is military training. The boys throw what appear to be grenades. As soon as the son throws his, the film cuts to stock footage of a grenade exploding, connecting these boys to the reality of the adult world they are being groomed for. These two scenes intersect the two worlds of adulthood and childhood in play. While children often play house or participate in some sort of battle play, the grave reality of these scenes amplifies the play to a more prescribed, prepara tory training of the powerful adult male predator. After witnessing the removal of his neighbors and the ent rance into the world of adults. The only major Nazi chara cter in the film is the boy, a misguided child, perhaps making it easier for a contemporary audience to offer forgiveness. As a Nazi youth the boy turns in his father for possessing anti party propaganda and becomes a soldier. In the last battle, however, he and a fellow soldier take shelter from the fighting in an he find s hanging in the shop. The boy watches in disbelief as he sees his comrade give up his ideology so easily uncertain if it was there in the first place The boy must then question his entire education. He had done everything he was told was right fight for the
44 fatherland and report non believers (even his own father) to authorities. At this point the son mu st confront the situation around him and decide for himself. The film concludes with the son asking for forgiveness and showing his father (and the audience) that he is moving forward. He has a serious girlfriend and he is looking toward the future. The fa ther, alone because the mother died trying to find her husband and son during the final battle, embraces the son with fu ll forgiveness. At the very end the boy and his girlfriend meet at the same tracks and spend a day in the country as his parents did need to forgive, move on, and prevent the madness from happening again, a message sent through the character of the boy because his connection to childhood and its natural innocence can provide a smoke screen for the absolute culpability of the National Socialist government and society. Besides handling guilt, postwar society also needed to come to terms with the intolerance that allowed for the rise of National Socialism. While some early postwar cinema dealt with anti Semitism, o therness was also explored in alternative terms In the film Toxi Stemmle uses a dark skinned girl to explore G mother was a single German woman who has died, and her father is an absent African American soldier Her ailing German grandmother cannot take care of her and leaves her at the doorstep of a former employer, a bourgeois family and their unwed daughter accept Toxi into their care, but the married daughter and her husband disapprove of presence because of her physical di fference The
45 son in law attempts to take her to an orphanage only to realize how much he and the family care about her and returns home with her. The family discovers who left her on the doorstep and why and, at the end, she is reunited with her real fath er. This film challenges an audience that is apprehensive of difference because of the influence of Nazi racial ideology. In her 1999 dissertation Representing the Afro German in Early West German Cinema, for Toxi within a society on the threshold of the economic miracle and the delirium of accelerated consumerism, but her role is not restricted to that of boosting the Gross National Product but also includes that of promoting certain socio sexual structures w 6 adult audience handle the new members of their formerly closed community, but also resituates the peacetime social order. In some instances the film is almost anthrop ological 7 in its attempts to explore the physical attributes of Toxi. The camera investigates her body during a scene in which she has just taken a bath and again when she shows the paleness of the palms of her hands. Other scenes are clearly sociological. When Toxi explains, questions, or reacts to the racism around her in a sophisticated manner, audience members are asked to reflect on their treatment of others. These aspects of the film clearly provoke the audience members to question their fears and app rehensions about difference. 6 In 2011, Fenner published th e book Toxi (U of Toronto P) based on her dissertation 7 Anthropologists have worked t oward a definition of ethnographic film, and while much is still being debated, particular visual characteristics have been accepted: performance, nudity, anthropometric poses, and the return gaze (Griffiths xix xxix ).
46 a hortatory surface discourse embracing progressive gender roles, economic optimism, and a controlled measure of ethnic diversity (DPs and Jewish refugees being glaringly absent), while the actual filmic imagery exclusively reinforces the white nuclear family Toxi is a film about racism and o therness but also a film about reconstructing the broken family. goal reminds us, then, of the purpose of fairy tales in German society as part of the process of social development. thi collective conscious. The family unit is immediately disrupted by an alteration within and the family must decide what to do. The villain gathers information, deceives, and removes the heroine from the home, only to be defeated as she returns. At the stles the family construction and the family must decide what to do with her. After seeing the unsatisfactory conditions of the orphanage, the family decide s to keep her. The racist son in get rid of her. He lures her by offering her a surprise and together they slip out early in the morning breaks down on the way and they stop and get some breakfast at a nearb y caf where Toxi mentions that it is her birthday. In a mix up leaving the cafe, they lose each other and the panic sends him throughout the city only to discover her in safety and realize
47 how much he cares for her as a child who needs a family. After the y have returned, the film moves into the Christmas season and Toxi is literally given a new face. The children 8 By this point, also, o collect her, thereby immediately transforming the familial situation T he film concludes with the understanding that the reunification with her father is concrete, lasting, and happy. The threat of the other is eliminated and the social order can be stab ilized. These two films have used child protagonists as the vessels through which the German audience aligns with victimhood, innocence, and forgiveness Both films also focus on the importance of reforming the nuclear family as the key to moving forward. Die Halbstarken and Berlin Ecke Schnhauser In the later 1950s, films about rebellious adolescent s appeared in Germany as a response to influential American films about young rebels. German rebellious youths were infatuated with James Dean and Marlon Brand o and their portrayals of the heroes in Rebel Without a Cause (1955, dir. Nicholas Ray) and The Wild One (1953, dir. Laslo Benedek), respectively Die Halbstarken is a West German study of rebellious youth and the innocents who get caught up in an adventur ous and parent free lifestyle. Berlin Ecke Schnhauser also studies rebellious youths, but in East Germany, and finds that although they can be trouble, they are mostly not responsible for their situations and they can become productive members of East Ge rman society Like the other films of the postwar era, these films concern postwar social reconstruction, but they concentrate 8 white vaudeville shows. A white actor would paint his or her skin with black make up in order evoke a caricature of an African American character. Awareness of the exploitive nature of blackface contributed to its demise as theatrical entertainment For more information on blackface see: Black Like You: Blackface, Whiteface, Insult and Imitation in American Popular Culture by John Strausbaugh (Penguin Group, 2006).
48 on youth development and portray their arguments by mimicking the American genre that affected how some postwar teenagers express ed their rebellion but which also enter the German consciousness with structures pulled from fairy tales. Die Halbstarken was made in West Germany to warn the public about these problem children. In fact, the film begins with this text: Die Mehrheit der J ugend hat mit der Erscheinung der Halbstarken nichts zu tun. Die Minderheit aber fllt auf, und deshalb spricht man von ihr. Dieser Film berichtet ber die Taten einzelner Jugendlicher und ihres kriminellen Anfhrers, im Zwielicht von Erlebnisdrang und Ver brechen. Die Geschehnisse entsprechen tatschlichen Ereignissen der j ngsten Vergangenheit und sollen eine Warnung sein fr alle jungen Menschen, die in Gefahr sind, auf Abwege zu g eraten. 9 The film tells the story of a group of hoodlums and their innocent recruits. The film opens as the teenagers gather at the local swimming pool, where two estranged brothers meet. Freddy, the hoodlum, left home after disagreements with his father. Jan is the younger, better behaved son who takes care of his mother and avo ids his angry, indebted father. Freddy flaunts some high priced goods, intriguing Jan with his success on the streets. Freddy and his hoodlum friends beat up the pool manager when they are told to stop smoking and Jan runs away with them during the fracas. Freddy takes Jan to the gas station where he has a job and where sits a car that Freddy claims he will buy the following day. talks with her while Freddy goes to take care of business for s omething that is going to 9 The majority of youths have no thing to do with the phenomenon of the young hooligans. The minority, however, stands out, and therefore is being discussed. This film reports the doings of individual youths and their criminal leaders at the dim border between adventure and crime. The inc idents are based on actual events of the recent past and should serve as a warning to all youths who are in danger of heading down the wrong path. [my translation]
49 and that Freddy is doing well. The father hears this and gets angry at Jan and the mother. Jan runs out to find Freddy. If Freddy has enough money to buy the car, Jan father from abusing Jan and mother. Jan finds Freddy buying a gun and ends up proving he is good at firing it so Freddy agrees to let him part icipate in an attempted robbery of a postal truck, a number of mishaps occur, causing Freddy to fail at stealing the money The chaos that ensues ends when the police shoot and kill Freddy The two brothers reflect the difficulty of developing a postwar identification. Both boys offer the audience something to connect with ; Jan is a good boy who wants to protect his mother and bring the family back together and Freddy has the characteristics of the popular American rebel youth and seems to have or is able to get a pretty girlfriend, money, and power. At the core, both boys reject paternal authority particularly Freddy who rebel s aga inst social rules and laws. The boys want the same thing : a stable family and opportunity. Because the father has ultimately liar to the audience as victims of an overbearing and unjust father figure. The boys, then, represent different responses to one follow s the rules and stay s with t he mother, while the other break s the rules and leav es the mother. The boys are both eventually proven to be weak, a point connecting
50 complicity by inaction and deadly refusal. Die Halbst arken his father is emasculated by the debt owed to his brother in law. To return to the status quo, Jan tries to get the money for his father from his estranged hoodlum brother, Freddy who lets his brother in on the plan to steal from wa nders with and without Freddy through the town, meeting several characters along who misguides the youth. H owever, because this is not an actual fairy tale, i.e. no happy ending, the trajectory must veer from its traditional course. The female counterpart to the different self sacrificing, hard working, patient, and straight wealth, but, unlike the tradition, she does not need a man to secure it for her. She tries each other and gets her way anyhow. Sissi is a misfit. She has no place in the fairy tale; therefore the characters who follow her in this story can never return home, that is, connection to her must vanish for the family to be whole again. Another film about troublesome youths appeared the year after Die Halbstarken Berlin Ecke Schnhauser is about a group of school dropouts, three boys and a girl, who hang out
51 the corner of Schnhauser s treet Dieter was orphaned in the war and has a brother on the police force. He works in construction, but refuses to join the Free German Youth with his coworkers. Kohle comes from an abusive, lower middle class family and is fascinated with the movies he sees across the street in West Berlin. Karl Heinz comes from a well to do family, but he does not work. He is involved with stealing IDs and selling them for Western money. Angela lives alone with her mother She has t o leave some evenings so that her mother can entertain her lover, her boss. The adolescents are interested in rock n roll, motorcycles, and Marlon Brando. The film follows these kids through a short time in their lives in which their future is determined b y their actions and choices. Karl Heinz ends up in prison, Kohle dies Angela finds out she is pregnant, and Dieter clears up the story at the end, leading the audience to believe that his life and hard work will continue. Even though the film is not a fai ry tale, it use s fairy and folktale elements to convey social guidelines As in other films discussed earlier, apply All of the teens in this film portray a characteristic of the hero. Angela begins the tale by leaving home. Th en, when the kids have gathered, they commit a violation by breaking a street lamp and Karl Heinz deceives Kohle by not settling up on the dare. Dieter lacks what he wants the first fu nction of the donor provision or receipt of a magical agent spatial transference between two kingdoms, guidance struggle branding victory return difficult task solution recognition transfiguration wedding 10 Dieter and Kohle flee after they think they have accidentally killed Karl Heinz. At a refugee camp in 10 These are all the subheadings for E lements 11 18, 20, 23, 25 gy.
52 the West, Kohle describes how he can make himself sick from a concoction of coffee and tobacco (magical agent) so that he cannot be sent back Dieter chooses not to partic ipate and the next morning he finds Kohle dead and, saddened, he leaves the camp. On the way out Dieter has a fight with the fellow refugee who likely caused reckoned w ith, and he returns to the East, to the police station. His difficult task is telling the chief how the events occurred. The solution to all of the situations unfolds as Karl Heinz goes to prison, Kohle is dead, Angela discovers she is pregnant, and Dieter intends to marry her. Dieter is also recognized as innocent. The film ends with Dieter he is actually making the transition into adulthood (becoming a father, a husb and, and a worker). This end not only reconstitutes the family as is the goal of the fairy and folktale, but it also applies to the blurred boundary between adulthood and childhood that is typical of the generational other in postwar German film. These you ths live at a literal crossroad in their lives and in their neighborhood. Not end of the film, but also through the scene at the very beginning of the film when s mother prepares to meet her lover. She is getting dressed up and putting on make the tone of a parent reminding her child of curfew, but reversing the role; Angela must stay ou t until twelve, not return by then. Angela leaves so that her mother can meet with the two seem to have switched familial and generational roles. Later, when Angela goes
53 t o a club with Dieter, Karl Heinz and another girl, the theme of blurred distinctions the ambiguity that represents so many things in this movie, including age. Klein fluid relationship between parents (adults) and children. In Jazz, Rock, and Rebels Uta Poiger explores Berlin Ecke Schnhauser as a social study (124). According to Poiger, the reviewers of the film found behavior on the single (likely widowed) mother, step (126). had stunted or even reverted their adulthood during World War II and in the postwar period and had not yet matured enough to complete the process of social development If the point, then, is for the adult audien ce to learn from the child protagonists in these films, what can or should the adult audience learn? Irgendwo in Berlin appeals to the playful, optimistic side of childish behavior. Through play and fantasy the audience can conclude that the goal to return to a normal way of life is worthwhile because of its therapeutic and reconstructive benefits. According to this film dwelling on the past does not allow one to move forward. While Deutschland im Jahre Null may seem, initially, pessimistic, Rossellini clai ms it has an optimistic message. The death of Edmund is not the death of the future, but rather the death of the past. with adulthood, the film connects him to the war and to the philosophies and ethics of National Socialism. Rotation offers the audience a vessel through which they can start to work through the guilt of the Nazi influence on German identity one of the steps
54 towards aligning with victimhood that becomes a common reaction in postwar Germany. Toxi uses the childh ood need for acceptance to make the audience realize that they need to be open and accepting. The film also tries to discount the racist ideology and ignorance from which the country has just emerged by offering curious images explaining her physically and commentary, some by Toxi herself, explaining her sameness. hero, Dieter, becomes the ideal model for the wayward East German youth. He is good at heart, but has found himself in a situation of borders between place s time s and different statuses Unlike Edmund in Germany Year Zero Dieter is connected with the future and cut off from the past. The film ends with his renewal from youth orphan to adult parent. Die Halbstarken does exactly what its warning at the beginning suggest s, showing the effect of straying from the path of the nuclear family and thus disrupting the foundation of society. All of these films offer an optimistic view of the future, but require their audience to grow up psychologically and socially. To reconstru ct their lives, the adults must reclaim their power and look ahead. They must reaffirm the difference between childhood and adulthood. These films, then, may appeal to the childish nature of the adult audience, but invoke their mature side for hope and act ion.
55 CHAPTER 3 CHILDREN IN NEW GERM AN CINEMA A new era of postwar West German national cinema began in 1962 with the Oberhausen Manifesto in which filmmakers rejected their postwar predecessors and insisted on new film industry practices. These filmmaker s wanted to break away from traditional industrial practices that they perceived as corrupt and ed their manifesto with the declaration: T he old film is ics have offered other starting points, such as particular films, years of peak film production, or important establishments within the industry ; 11 others simply try to define New German Cinema by its subject matter, by a certain group of filmmakers, or by its style. 12 Scholars and critics have varying ideas of the end of New German Cinema. 13 The complexity of defining the era and the unifying factors of New German Cinema parallel the complexity and variation with which the filmmakers themselves attempt to cre ate an identity for West 11 Hans Gnther Pflaum and Hans Helmut Prinzler (1993) suggest that the significant event for the changes in cinema occurred with the establishment of the Kuratorium junger deutscher Film (Council of Young German Film) in 1965 (10). Anton Kaes (1992) an s Der Junge Trle identifie documentary influences; the revival of avant garde and experimental practices; and the critical espectively). John E. Davidson (1996) claims the showing of Der Junge Trle ss and Alexander Abschied von Gestern at the 1967 New York Film Festival inaugurated the international recognition of ctors. 12 Any book length study about New German Cinema wrestles with the problem of defining New German Cinema. See Thomas New German Cinema: A History (1989), The ( Murray and Wic kham, 1992), and Timothy New German Film: The Displaced Image (1994). 13 Deutschland im Herbst As suggested by Elsaesser John E. Davidson claims that the end of the Cold War is also the end of New German Cinema ( New German Cinema ; 9 68).
56 German cinema after World War II and, as I argue, for themselves as West Germans after the war Because it has been so difficult to define the New German Cinema in precise terms, scholars, critics, and even filmmakers choose to poi nt out the commonalities. Hans Heimat ir searches for Heimat New German filmmakers explored a number of other themes. Anton Kaes beginning the New German Cinema was engaged in a critical project of providing images that polemically challenged the existing amnesia as well as the repression of the past; the filmmakers insisted on questions of responsibility, guilt, an d the legacy of summarizes New German Cinema 211). He also connects isolation and fear with guilt and responsibility through the main protagonists of New German films ( New German Cinema 293). These themes suggest melancholy and vagueness, symptoms of Defining the era by commonalities led to the recognition of a shift in New German Cinema in the mid identity development. In his contribution to Framing the Past Elsaesser claims that up oid[ed] reference to any precise
57 ( 280 281). Kaes connects this path of identity development or a quest that could entail a return to personal childhood memories or an exploration of German myths history of everyday life (ra ther than political history), an emphasis on subjective memory, a differently nuanced concern and empathy with the Germans as victims, and, connected with this, a characteristic shift from aggressive male protagonists to silently suffering female main char acters whose violated bodies stand as emblems of a devastated Germany. (198, my emphasis) Elsaesser finds that the main area in which these new foci unfold is the family, which is unsurprisingly the area of the generational other ( New German Cinema 216). H traumatic effects of the war and Nazi era with the family, the first social unit to affect ident ity formation ( 293). Generational discontent and its influence on identity appear in the language used to explicate the genealogy of New German Cinema. References to film from the 1950s as Papas Kino escriptors of past and current films and their makers, and the use of paternal terms for the earlier pre Nazi generation of Weimar filmmakers all highlight the influence generation create an identity, whether for themselves o r for their cinema. Pflaum and Prinzler claim 14 but because of the gap in filmic predeces sors caused by Germany and German national cinema 14 This stat Auf der Suche nach Heimat Film in der BRD ed. Heinz M Die jungen filmemacher der Bundesrepublik hingegen waren, in knstleris c her Hinsicht, eine vaterlose Generation
58 under the Nazis, but also had to work towards a national and personal identity destroyed by the same cause (89). In my dissertation New German Cinema is defined as the movement headed by young filmmakers who were born during or just after World War II, who attempted to reconcile their identity with that of their parents whose guilt of witnessing and participating in the Nazi era caused a rupture in the construction of a German identity for the younger gene ration. The nearly twenty year span during which these films were made from the mid sixties until the early e ighties, was a time in Germany when the second generation entered adulthood. In trying to find their own identity, the members of this generation Oberhausen decided to break from the traditional parental authority and rescue German international artistic recognition to German film, u nseen since the Weimar period. Not only was this a reaction to Hollywood style musicals and melodrama and the German Heimat films, but it was also a reaction to the postwar traditionalism that became a dominate way for West Germans to work through their ta inted past. This generation questioned the German past in its attempts to create an identity, requiring coming to terms with Germanness and German culture, which suffered due to appropriation by the Nazis. The younger generation, powerless against its par a National Socialist Germany, worked through this impotence by returning to familiar stories, such as Der junge Trless a 1906 book by Robert Musil, and Die Blechtrommel by Gnther Grass (1959); by filming i ts own stories in (semi )autobiographical films ; or by referencing familiar tales such as Alice in Wonderland and the story of Kaspar
59 Hauser, a feral child from the Nineteenth century. The films discussed in this chapter Der junge Trless ( Young Trless dir. Volker Schl ndorff, 1966), Alice in den Stdten ( Alice in the Cities dir. Wim Wenders, 1974), Jeder fr sich und Gott gegen alle ( Every Man for Himself and God Against All, dir. Werner Herzog, 1974), Die Blechtrommel ( The Tin Drum dir. Volker Schlndorff, 1979), an d Deutschland bleiche Mutter ( Germany Pale Mother d ir. Helma Sanders Brahms, 1980) rely on child and child like recognize and articulate their inherited guilt and move towards a fun c tioning postwar German identity. Literature in New German Cinema F airy tales p lay a role in films of the New German Cinema, but this generation of filmmakers has taken the connection between identity development and fairy tales as a traditional socializi ng tool further, referring to other, more mature national literary traditions as well. Sabine Hake suggests that the appropriation of literary sources during class phenomenon propelled by beyond the high low culture divide and of elevating film to the German film back to its height of artistic success, the role of traditional lite rature in a new context ( p ostwar German cinema) connects to the deeply rooted seeds of culture on which these filmmakers rely to help them produce a cinema of significance and a n identity they can embrace eine Grundform kultureller berli eferung und Traditionsbildung [ a basic form of cultural tradition and traditional development ] (12). He also reminds us that not only are the artists changing the medium in which they tell the story, but they are also giving the story significant addition al meanings due to the context in which it is being filmed (14). The
60 Literaturverfilmung (film adaptation) that took place during the New German Cinema, reclaim the artistry of German cinema; it also occurred because the filmmakers and their audience needed to base their developing national identity on cultural products that escaped the Nazi stain. 15 Like fairy tales, stories and genres from the German literary canon were familiar to the spect ators, creating a situation in which the audience follows the story (and for the purposes of my project, the child protagonist) as it is told anew through the context of a postwar state mired in an identity crisis. Kaes suggests that familiar structure all ows p ositive and negative experiences in a form where fact, desire and memory enter into a single image or coherent narrative, unifying existence for those who live at the margins New German Cinema 214). He highlights the myt hs of Barbarossa, Siegfried, Parsifal, and Faust as examples, explaining that these s division, particularism, regionalism and decentredness, punctuated by brief and usuall y 15 I woul d be remiss to neglect mentioning other, more practical reasons for using literature as sources. Hake also re ports funding as an issue for using literary
61 disastrous periods of centralized military stories and genres, and therefore structures, films based on literature act as a unifying force in overcoming the breakdown of the German national identity. Filmmakers of this generation were influenced by Romanticism because, as Elsaesser suggests, the artists of the period experienced a similar attempt to break from tradition ( New German Cinema led many of them to a redi scovery and revaluation of a specifically Romantic tradition that New German Cinema 212 213, 306). The rebelliousness and the need to discover their German self left the filmmakers of the New Germ an Cinema in a philosophical and possibly psychological position similar to the Romantics. Alongside this connection to Romanticism, the Bildungsroman also finds its way into discussions about some New German films, especially those discussed in this cha pter. The Bildungsroman narrates personal growth focus ing on the wonder, then, that some of the films from New German Cinema include elements of the Bildungsroman and are sometimes described as such or even as anti Bildungsroman (Corrigan 134) Because the collective German identity was stunted by its connection to the recent past artists turned to familiar modes of identity formation, especially canonical literature that followed protagonists with the same goals Der junge Trless Der junge Trless is often recognized as the first film of New German Cinema. The short time at his bo arding school in rural Austria around the beginning of the Twentieth century. Trless becomes enmeshed in the problems of his friends Beineberg and
62 Reiting. Basini, a classmate, owes Reiting some money, but he does not have it. Basini steals from Beineberg to get the money and gets caught by the boys. Reiting, hands, leading to acts against Basini that both intrigue and disturb Trless. As Reiting and then Beineberg tort ure and humiliate Basini over several days and nights, Trless while Basini becomes complacent. At the same time, Trless wonders about his own behavior as test struggle, he says, is trying to understand these changes based on what he has been taught about humans and reason. The film ends the school and Trless leaving th e school after finding the authorities to the situation superficial Scholars and critics have claimed that this film constitutes a parable of the passive culpability meant to remind spectators of the path through National Socialist cruelty to th eir current postwar state. This has come to be accepted as the most popular interpretation and is even ine contemporary German history and, more exactly, the violence and psychological strain This view is supported by earlier statements by Eric Rentschler, Elsaesser, and Kaes. 16 ons to 16 Young Trless Young Tr less ( Vergangenheitsbewltigung ), in an oblique, yet decisive manner, portraying with its study of young cadets in an Austrian military academy predispositions that would become dominant structures during the New German Cinema From Hitler
63 its contemporary spectators and their national and cultural history make it a representative example of its usefulness to its generation. Making those connections through an adolescent protagonist necessitates in my investigatio n of the generational other. The characteristic of borderlessness in the adolescent protagonists in this film The adolescents in the film are neither quite children nor quite adults. Through this unsettling confusion of the spectators are unable to connect firmly with the protagonists, therefore offering a less confrontational way to experience the culpability of witnessing torture. During the opening scene at t Beineberg to look after his s on despite their similar age while identities of the young characters I f they are peers, how can one be the care giver and one be the child? Then, as the youths walk to their school, they encounter peasants and townsfolk with whom they play and flirt. In the town, as one person tries to walk through the group, the boys join a nd lift up their hands like children pretending to be a bridge. The townsfolk refer to them one woman die jungen Herren hand, talk to them a nd treat them as children even when they want to discuss something as mature as philosophical questions. When Trless visits his professor of mathematics to discuss imaginary numbers, the professor offers him candy and tells him he is just too young and ig norant for such numbers to make sense. He must simply to Heimat : 9 ).
64 accept them in order to do calculations and maybe when he is older and more learned he will understand them. A similar situation occurs at the end of the film when Trless discusses his role in the even ts involving the other three boys. He tries to speak to the faculty on a mature level, but they simplify his ideas and redirect his concerns by asking if he is a man of science or religion in order to guide him to the right educational path. Of course, Tr less denies both, and they refuse his philosophical reflections When the boys are away from the school, the distinction between adult and child is further blurred. For example, during their first extended break from school, the boys are sitting at a rest aurant in town drinking, smoking, and reading the newspaper behaviors associated with the adults of the upper class. However, in the middle of this, Trless asks Beineberg what he wants to be (when he grows up), once again showing on screen and in dialog ue this doubling of identity that these protagonists take on. The dichotomy of identities continues when they leave the restaurant to visit Bozena, a visit me. Or did the m baby, all while stroking and kissing them. Her words clearly address them as boys, but her behavior with them and the fact that they are in her domain interpolate them as adults Although all the boys are placed in both realms, Trless becomes the focus of this because of his association with Beineberg. Elsaesser suggests that the outsider character in Schlndorff in for the spectator,
65 ( New Ger man Cinema 132). Trless is an outsider in a number of ways. He does not He does not belong to the traditional educational structure as he constantly questions it a an outsider, albeit on the inside as voyeur, offers a character with which the audience can identify he is a passive observer of the offenses happening in front of him, like the spectator s who observe what is on screen I n the context of postwar Germany, he serves as a reminder of the legacy of culpable passivity that occurred in Nazi Germany. As this film shows, generation plays an important role in a connection to the audience and to the collective problem of coming to terms with the past. Hans Bernhard identification with Trless cinematically, but adding the dimension of age to an approach to the film allows us to gain a clearer understanding of the strength of the generational other Its importance contrasts with its absence in critical studies. For example, Moeller develop ment creates discourse about German culture and politics in the mid their analysis repeatedly refers to analyze what that means to develop a productive collective (national) identity instead of a melancholic, static collective identity. Their argument initiation into the world of adults hat mixes day and night, light and dark,
66 supports the understanding of adolescence as inherently confused, but they do not recognize what this can mean for the generatio n represented on screen and the generation of the audience which is also mired in deciphering a world stained by the same dualities of identification that plague Trless. Of the New German films discussed in my dissertation, Der junge Trless is least con nected to the fairy tale tradition. But its position as first in this era and the fact that it is the cinematic version of a recognized published story allow for its inclusion despite its distance from the fairy tale tradition. Several films of this era fa il to reach the same conclusion as fairy tales reconstitution of the family unit in a patriarchal order. The the family unit. Because the final point of this film is not reconstitution of the family and social order but rather the first step of dealing with guilt and trauma, i.e., articulating questions about the past, the narrative will not follow that of the fairy tale. Instead, the bond with the audience occurs i n the familiarity with the story and the dual identity of t he protagonists. Jeder fr sich und Gott gegen alle Jeder fr sich und Gott gegen alle tells the story of Kaspar Hauser, a feral and imprisoned youth from the early 19th century who is brought out of his confinement and abandoned in a town square. Several townspeople share responsibility for him until a s how to speak, oes not come to completely understand the world around him or the logic of so s Ursula Sampath proposes that t he character of Kaspar has been connected with the powerlessness of the child throughout the tradition of his tale (52). T his film
67 however, subverts that connection by casting an adult actor as the young protagonist and by the ways in which Herzog portrays the character in the film. Despite actor Bruno portrayal throughout the film helps the audience perceive him as a child, beginning with the first glimpse of him sitting on the ground playing with a wooden horse. This starts a sequence that sets up the adult child power binary between the protagonist a nd the adults in his life. A cloaked man, obviously an adult, keeps Kaspar, a boy, imprisoned. As the adult and as the guard, the cloaked figure dominates their relationship, but the his cover In the following sho ts, however, from the front, he averts his eyes. He refuses to look forward, i.e., at the audience. y the cloaked figure, Kaspar carries the power in the relationship with the adult audience b y so obviously denying his own returned look, leav ing the spectators powerless over him This early sequence of Kaspar and the cloaked figure also connects the sec ond because p World War II included feelings of victimization as a way of dealing with lo ss. The second postwar generation, to which the New German Cinema belongs, continued to express the strain of being the innocent offspring of the culpable generation through the false identification as victim. Kaspar and his audience have an undeveloped id entity at this point is generation of preoccupied by a victim complex with its own
68 collective past, the spectators begin to connect with Kaspar. Despite his seeming weakness, he subverts the gaze, giving the audience reason to believe that he has some kind of power which they wish for. The spectator further connects with Kaspar during the carnival sequence which display s him as a freak of nature alongside sev eral other human curiosities. A common analysis of this scene in scholarship connects the spectator to Kaspar ). Sampath insists that Herzog intended the audience to identify with Kaspar and his fellow exhibits, not with the carnival spectators (52). Brad Prager explores the outsider laced at the centre of things, represent[ing] a self reflective re ordering: we know that Herzog means for us not to see Kaspar as marginal, but that it is our own behaviour that of a society that would marginalise a well meaning man child such as Kaspar which audience members are invited not to objectify Kaspar Hauser and the others, but to place themselves in the position of the object. The audience therefore becomes con nected to the victim, the object. U ntil the time in the film when Kaspar begins writing his autobiography and his life is threatened, the camera places Kaspar in its gaze, fostering a relationship of otherness between Kaspar and the audience, but as he beg ins to write his own story i.e., to the audience begin s to see shots from his perspective, between adult audience and child protagonist. The audience began as adults looking at
69 him power that the audience did not have in their own identity building The line between audience and protagonist disappears, how ever imbuing the audience with the youthful tools to work through trauma and identity crisis. B ecause the second postwar generation still had not come to terms with the past, its halted development is at the time when he beg ins to tell his story and the camera begins to take on his point of view When he seems to finally be able to bring his story into the s ymbolic and the audience has fully connected with him, the cloaked figure attacks and kills him, denying a conclusion th at would reveal all This unfulfilled development, though pessimistic, is not uncharacteristic of the New German Cinema and reflects the inability to thoroughly develop a satisfactory identity The appropriation of power by the figure of the child develop s throughout the film that are paralleled with his interactions with adults. From both he learns about his physical self, animals, and language. Adults look foolish, ignorant, and cruel when they interact wit h Kaspar. Children, however, have a degree of success with him. The children around Kaspar are associated with safety while the adults are associated with terror ; even the jailer and his wife scare Kaspar. These realms of safety and terror have been portra yed in the tropes of body world is also disparate. The children teach him to recognize the self by teaching him body parts, a normal step in language and identity development. The adults, however, want him to first recognize the other, and to recognize the other as dangerous. One of the town guardsman uses
70 swordplay to test Kaspar and to demonstrate for the tow nspeople and officials that he does not recognize danger, i.e. he does not recognize the other. When he does not respond to a sword lunging at him, they encourage him to touch the flame of a candle. When Kaspar touches the flame and is burned, the camera f ocuses on his face, on his gaze. To prevent succumbing to the subjugation of the gaze of the spectator, and scopophilic power by subjecting them to his look, thus giving him as child power over the cinematic and diegetic audience as adult. Anatomy is one trope through which the spectator can see a difference between anatomy in relation to their own views of what is normal, for example therefore to the social order. The town officials inspect his body upon their first interrogation in the st able. They catalog and record the state of his feet, his vaccination marks, and the injuries on his arms. At the end of the film, the doctors inspect his liver son teaches Kaspar the names of body parts such as eyes, nose, ear, mouth, shoulder, arm, and hand. These body parts are necessary for sensing the world around him through sight, smell, sound, taste, feel. The boy even uses a mirror to help Kaspar understand these parts which also literally puts the power to look in his own hands and mirror stage, the first step into the s ymbolic world Two other instances in which the film highlights dealing with body parts include the jailer and his wi fe, both adults. Kaspar is frightened of them, but they treat him better
71 than the other adults do even though they never come to understand him. At first the jailer tries to sit Kaspar at his kitchen table to eat. Upon failing to do this himself, he calls and they lift the foundling off the floor. instead turns over the power to deal with particular parts of the body to the litt le boy who tells him where to put his feet, etc. A little later in the film, Kaspar and Julius are sitting Mutter, die Haut geht ab going away). As she scrubs, she and her husband lift Kaspar to stand in the tub, revealing his naked backside to the camera, but she comforts him that he does not need to worry, she is not looking at anything, i.e., inspecting anything about him as the tow nspeople and officials do. In this she seems to position herself as care giver rather than to take the position of the officials and townsfolk as assessors. Sampath likens these two adults to children in rst take the unmannered boy under their wing intuitively grasp his problems. The jailer and his wife, who are very simple ese misfit scenes that show caring adults juxtaposed to the cruel cloaked figure and the curious and objectifying town officials. mals by children is a more trustworthy experience because the hierarchy of provincial life pits animals as lower than children In the context of the story, animals are the only be ings lower than Kaspar in the social
72 structure. The figure of the horse is t he first animal shown in the film and it is connected to adults throughout the film. At the beginning, the only diversion given to Kaspar in his prison is a toy horse. The townsfol k bring him to a stable and put him in with the horses entrance into language. His captor teaches him the word for horse and gives him a the film. Birds also have significance for Kaspar throughout the film. His first glimpse of with a bird, he plays with the bird using a stick, but he is gentle with it. This scene shows his attempt to have power over his own world and his own learning. Later, the figure of the bird becomes threatening when some men from the village bring a chicken into cell to taunt him. When they realize he is not paying attention to them, they the last bird in the film is also portrayed as ben efactor home, a stork is shown carrying around and then devouring a frog. children are meant to introduce him to language to bring him into the symbolic world In one scene the jai shown playing with a cat. Kaspar lifts the cat up on its hind legs and walks it around the Die Ka tze kann nicht auf zwei Pfoten gehen mimics those trying to manipulate his body making him stand up, walk, and place himself at the
73 tabl e but in this instance, Kaspar is the one forcing his power unfairly onto an other. a force ful one which Kaspar experienced with the adults. Later, the figure of the cat continues to be important in process of language acquisition which I will discuss in more detail later protagonist O ne of the earliest studies of the New German Cinema suggests that Herzog ger points out the connections to Caspar David Friedrich, the Romantic painter whom Herzog claims as one of his sources and whose influence appears in the composition of the shots of landscapes and to authors Achim von Arnim, Friedrich Hlderlin, Joseph vo n Eichendorff and Georg Bchner (82 83). Prager agrees with Sandford that the and (83). Samp ath claims a more specific connection of the Kaspar Hauser tradition to Romanticism through Rousseau, specifically through the treatment of Kaspar Hauser as ( 58 78 ) Sampath recogni zes the connection among the context of the times in which his story is appropriated: If all these writers [the Romantics] had been content to retell the nineteenth century mystery, one would not be surprised to fin d a Romantic slant to fit the tale. But in virtually all cases, writers use the historical elements with discrimination, in order to express other, superordinate ideas. So the question arises whether these Romantic or Rousseauistic ingredients are merely a nachronistic embellishments, vestigial remains of
74 the original ambiance of the story which have hardened into conventions or statement, signaling a desire to revive tenets of Romantic ism as an antidote to the sterility of our technical age. Several critics [Paul Kluckhohn, Theodore Ziolkowski, and Jakob Wasserman] have seen a conspicuous relationship between the mistrust of the putative forces of progress in the Age of Romanticism and the Zivil is ationspessimismus of the twentieth century. (59) This relationship is especially useful for recognizing the connection between rebels against the Enlightenment and postwar German reactions to National Socialism, especially from the second postwa r generation. Herzog himself suggests that Kaspar eccentricities (qtd. in Pflaum 62). 17 a radical critiq argument against Enlightened patterns of thought appears in the scene in which a logician challenges Kaspar. Herzog is not the only storyteller that portrays Kaspar as v ictim to this philosophy. Sampath suggests that twentieth century (44). Despite being connected to the past through philosop hies and tales, the film is also extraordinarily contemporary. which brings together elements of human development and connections to German cultural heritage. Critics have explored the connection among language acquisition, socialization, and power in this film. Prager suggests the film is less about language 17 Original source: Pflaum, Hans Gnther, et al., eds. Werner Herzog Reihe Film 22 Munich : H anser, 1979 : 68
75 Sampath reminds us that the Romantics qu estioned language acquisition in the Romantic concept of Sprachskepsis : role of language in society as a whole, were not seriously questioned until the end of the nineteenth century. At that time, Sprachskepsis became a conspicuous element of German literature, closely linked with the concept of alienation...More recent deconstructionist critics such as Jacques Lacan, patriarchal order, gave the issue a further, political dimension and renewed importance Focusing on Lacanian language acquisition as a force of patriarchy, Prager further explores the connection among [H] This father e page. Here the transition between the silent screaming 18 the Schreien, and writing, or Schreiben, is emphasised. With the addition of a single letter Herzog moves us form the space of Sc hreiben. Once one has seen the whole film it may seem clear that this screaming is ultimately a call to return to an existence prior to the These issues with entering entry into the s ymbolic order by identifying oneself through language. Kaspar writes his name in two sequences of the film. The first is in the scene described above by Prager in which s hand and sounds out the term Schreiben as he does so. T he second time Kaspar sows his name in the garden with seeds. He speaks positively of this experience until he finds his name trampled. He cries at this and vows to sow it again. This scene is framed b y a number of other images that stage dichotomous 18 Hren Sie denn nicht das entsetzliche Schreien ringsum, das man gewhnlich die Stille heit? not hear that terrible scream around us that man calls silence?]
76 interpretations as his rebellion against the patriarchal order (by writing his own name) and his sublimation to it (being victim of violent destruction) After asking the housekeeper about the usefulness of women, she suggests asking his caretaker, but he reports that he already did, leaving the spectator to assume that neither will give him an answer. Next, he sits at a small table in the garden writing a manuscript when he recounts his tale about sowing his name in the garden. The image cuts to a long take of a stork devouring a frog and then to another lengthy scene of Kaspar and Daumer boating. Afterwards Kaspar finds his name destroyed. By virtue of inscribing himself in the land and vowing to do it ag ain after someone destroys it, he rejects the social and linguistic order being forced upon him. However, by succumbing to language, he also seems to have been unable to avoid the patriarchal order. A third event in the film can also attest to this dichoto my of rebellion and sublimation. Toward the end of his life, Kaspar writes constantly and he says that he will write his autobiography. At this point, however, his life. While attempting to further define hims elf, he is destroyed by the father. of a cup, but when it is empty, the jailer leer he goes on to explain, tenderly, to Kaspar that nothing more will come out. He also tries to show Kaspar what he means by putting his hand in the upside down cup and tapping on the bottom. The father emula leer explains its meaning kindly, and then shows him with his hands that one cup is full and
77 the other empty. Although the scene does not seem to highlight the significance of the initiated this care for Kaspar and the father took his cue from the boy, copying his method of teaching and learning language, thereby legitimizing and giving authority to the child. This same authority appears in two parallel scenes of Kaspar being taught passages. First, the children are working with him and Agnes, a little girl, tries to teach him a nursery rhyme: G uten Morgen, weies Ktzchen, Ist hier noch ein freies Pltzchen? Wenn du artig bist, dann ja, Trinke hier, ich trinke da, Schlapp, schlapp, schlapp, die Milch ist gut, Schlapp, schlapp, schlapp, wie wohl das tut. 19 Ist hier Agnes that it is too difficult for Kaspar b ecause he only knows a few words She, however, offers him the chance to expand hi s linguistic capabilities and does so with words that mean something to him. Kaspar has connected with the cat and the basic need to eat and drink. The rhyme becomes difficult for Kaspar when he reaches abstract notions such as an unoccupied space (an empty ein freies Pltzchen seemingly unwilling to communicate, but the scene shows him eagerly trying to learn from the girl. Later in the film, when he is living with Daumer the philanthropist, two preachers visit and inquire d any pre social spirituality. 19 there/Yum yum yum, this milk is good/Yum yum yum, this is really great.
78 When Kaspar suggests he needs to learn more language in order to understand them, they aggressively command him to simply have faith and believe in God. In their frustration they reprimand him for pressing his thumb and foref inger together when he speaks, then immediately and arbitrarily order him to repeat their prayer: Und der Friede Gottes welcher hher ist denn alle menschliche Vernunft, bewahre unsere Herzen in Christu Jesu, Amen. 20 The scene ends before Kaspar can even at tempt to repeat the prayer. Unlike the rhyme nothing in the prayer fits into his world. He consistently tells the preachers he does not understand and even at the beginning of their conversation they agree that they are speaking about a subject that is too abstract for him. Unlike the children, they are also very aggressive toward him. When Kaspar works with the children on the nursery rhyme, the learning environment is much mo re inviting, leading to a positive reception of the lesson. When Kaspar speaks with the preachers, the y are confrontational and nnection to literature, R eferences to the literary world Hren Sie denn nich t das entzetzliche Schreien ringsum, das man gewhnlich die Stille heit 21 constitutes a variation of a line from 20 From Philippians 4:7: And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (King James Version) 21 Do you not hear that terrible scream around us that man calls silence ?
79 22 And, of course, the story of Kaspar Hauser has been used as the basis for many literary works, which Sampath catalogs and explores in her For my project, however, I focus on the specific relationships with Romanticism, fairy tales, and the Bildungsroman Nineteenth century philosophical and literary movements inform the generational relationship within this film. The re sistance of members of the New German Cinema generation to their parents and authoritarian upbringing parallels the resistance to the Enlightenment by the Romantics and its agenda for logic and reason. Herzog authority, logical reasoning, and their relationship with each other. This aligns Herzog with detractors of the philosophical movement of the Enlightenment such as the Romantics, whom Herzog invokes at all levels of the film from shot composition that referenc es Romantic painters to dialogue and characters. Two other literary influences from the nineteenth century are the fairy tale, connect ed with fantasy, childhood, and social development, and the Bildungsroman the novel which focuses on individual d evelopment and reason. The next step in positing this film as anti Enlightenment is to place it with the Romanticism and even the fairy tale. To connect it with the fairy tale, one must 22 Hren Sie denn nichts? Hren Sie denn nicht die entsetzliche Stimme, d ie um den ganzen Horizont schreit und die man gewhnlich die Stille heit? [Do you hear nothing? Do you not hear the terrible voice that screams across the entire horizon and that one generally calls silence?]
80 understand the connection not based on the magic and enchantment of the traditional tale, but on the status as legend and the familiar literary structure. Prager calls the tale and held in a secret dungeon, the good natured simpleton who turns out to have extraordinary abilities, the changeling or orphan in search of home and parent s, or the social outcast who has to overcome his state of repudiati explains that normal experiences in fairy tales that help the hero overcome adversity do not work for Kaspar Hauser: the magical agent, love, animals (25 27). She con cludes : B y choosing a protagonist who so obviously combines many of the initial characteristics of the conventional fairy tale hero, and then drawing attention to the failure of the traditional and expected support system, authors can express their view th at the established framework of beliefs has become questionable in their time, and that the victim can no longer count on outside help (29) certainly not a postwar construction, it is significant as a representative of the generation whose anxieties appear in this film. The connection this generation has with stories and literary genres fr om before World War II creates an identity which anticipates c ultural greatness but which struggles with infected traditions. Alice in den Stdten Alice in den Stdten ( Alice in the Cities role in bringing an adult out of a state of melancholy. Alice tells the story of Philip Winter, a German photojournalist who travels through the U.S. trying to find images and a story to offer his editor. Frustrated that the images misrepresent what he sees and
81 lack a story, Phili p journeys back to Europe. At the airport in New York he meets a German woman and her daughter. The woman abandons her daughter with him, saying she will c atch up with them in Amsterdam He takes Alice, the daughter, with him, but they arrive in Europe causes Philip to become responsible for the young girl who insists that they find her grandmother T he pair sets out for a trip Ruhrgebiet an area in Western Germany known for its population density and heavy indust ry. They cannot find the grandmother at first, but after several inquiries and much travel, Philip discovers that the grandmother is in southern Germany. The film ends as the pair head to Bavaria, where her grandmother, and, by this point, mother a re waiting. Alice and Philip exemplify the relationship of the generational other and, identity of the adult. In an article on the lost ego and this film, Jean Franois Boulin the film is centered on the wandering, uprooting, and anguish of adulthood and its links e catalyst for his be interpreted as a substitute father and he is placed in situations which obviously mark him as adult male especially when paired with adult wome n, his undeveloped ident ity and inability to reach the s ymbolic with his work place him in the position of child. Alice is then placed in the position of adult as she leads him to Germany. She provokes him into story telling and associating it with picture s, his professional goal, and also gets him
82 As his generational other, she defines him. Photography in this film connects Philip and Alice to questions of identity. Philip begins by being angry about the fac t that his photos have not captured what he sees and the way he sees it. In three separate reactions to his pictures, Alice guides him away from this struggle. First, he takes a the emptiness of the shot. This legitimizes his photo and his visual language. Second, a policeman disregards an empty, undeveloped Polaroid picture that Philip shows him an ne Finally, Alice takes a recognition is visually interrupted for the audience by her reflection as she looks over his shoulder while he gazes at his own image. But he is also forced to see himself via her gaze in a re imagined mirror stage, the first step in reconstructing his (personal and, as German, hat you really own narcissism, he entered a more aware, more responsible state of being. Alice will Hi s image is received and accepted when she looks at the photo. The shift of power in the generational relationship relies on the ability of the child important trope in many geographical borders, but they also cross generational boundaries Boulin highlights these areas:
83 Throughout, the film develops an interesting dialectic between the states of ad ulthood and childhood in which Alice and Winter come and go. They are so than anything else except the capricious side and focus on the immediate (food especially). Philip has the qua lities of adult reasoning and culture, and the reactions to it. But he is also an adolescent in many ways, notably his egocentrism, his closing off of himself, and the inability to fix or settle anything. Only at the end of the film does the advantage tend towards and come to terms with adulthood due to Alice. (71) s the film to the Bildungsroman tradition. This is seconded by Taberner who writes that d iscovery which takes the past as the starting point of identity, omes clearer when one looks at the scholarship of Martin Swales and Michael Minden and their definitions of the genre. Swales, in his 1978 study, suggests that the Bildungsroman can be appropriated by a variety of artists edium by which the German mind, through all its two forces within the genre which later scholars take up and explore further. Swales calls these two opposing forces th e Nebeneinander (coexistence) and the Nacheinander (consecutive) [individual] potentiality and [societal] This tension is also what drives identity formation. reco gnition. He develops his world outside of the hero in which must he live, i.e., the society to which he belongs and all the constraints and requirements that go along
84 story emulates a Bildungsroman one need only consider this Alice reintroduces Winter to the passion for images from which he had become disconnected in America. She also inspires him once more to associate pictures with story telling and thus to invest them with personal meaning. Finally, she helps him to resolve the crisis of male identity that derives, in part at least, from the rootlessness engendered by his inability to locate himself either in his German past or in the American present he had adopted as a substitute culture. (126) Along his journey Philip not only acquires an identity for himself (as other against Alice), b ut also reclaims his art he is able to tell stories and his pictures become filled, and and grandmother. The other component of the Bildungsroman duality is represented in figure, and by becoming able to tell stories and invigorate his photos with them; he also accomplishes his Certain elements of the Bildungsroman also characterize areas of the film. Swales states that the Bildungsroman [and] [t] 33). Throughout the film Philip bem oans his inability to tell a story until Alice gets him to open up He cannot when he begins to tell Alice about his time in America does he become able to tell a sto ry. Eventually, at a hotel in Germany, Alice asks specifically for a bedtime story. He Es war einmal ein Mann Es war einmal ein kleiner Junge me there as a little boy), then at the end of the film, he agrees that he can finally write his story. This specific journey reaches its pinnacle during the bedtime story when he
85 changes from telling the story of an adult to one of a child. Making these ch anges in the presence of a child propels Philip to reach his goal. the Bildungsroman r elates to my notion of the generational offices of one in no Because this film only contains characteristics of the Bildungsroman and does not completely encompass the genre, it only fits this description in a circuitous way While allows him to return to and understand his own self. Her outer world, her reality, has not yet s uccumbed to the melancholy that an adult would experience when struggling to (mother and grandmother) corresponds with his journey of identity development that forc es him to begin to come to terms with being German. Alice in den Stdten relationship with German literary tradition also includes a connection to the fantasy tale by Lewis Carroll (1865). Like the other films in my study this film further connects to childhood via the fantastic, referenced in this case by follow the girls journe ys home through New York City and the cities of Europe (Amsterdam in the Netherlands and several in Germany). In each stor y the Alice crosses geographical
86 between real and imaginary worlds and also generational boundaries which are older, positing both adult and child with ending to his identity crisis. Die Blechtrommel Die Blechtrommel provokes the question why postwar Germany so thoroughly accepted Oskar as a legitimate character through whose eyes, as childlike as they are the audience could look at Nazism and war. Oskar holds the unique distinction of experiencing the physical body of a child at the same time his mind explore s the world l by from The speaking experience as part of an entertainment group for troops, his second love, and the end of the war and his intention to grow again. focusing on generational conflicts. To remain a faithful adaptation, Schlndorff needed Oskar to be both adult and child and in both first and third person. Moeller and Lellis recognize the different points of view stemming from Oskar and his personas:
8 7 person shots of Oskar, a spectator observing the action in a detached of view inside his environment. There is, in stances voices adult/child duality, however, was his refusal to use an adult with dwarfism for the role of Oskar, but instead to cast twelve year old David Bennent, whose growth disorder made him look younger than he was. In Die Blechtrommel several irthday anticipate the power held by the child in the relationship of the generational other The first word heard in the film is Ich which Oskar speaks in a voice over. This immediately aligns the A ll characters and points of view are subjected to his perspective as omnipotent narrator Although Oskar should be the epitome of the castrated, lacking protagonist because he appears as a boy, he disrupts that function of the charact er because, first, his point of view dominates the shots on screen; second, he is seen and heard (with drum, screams, and the opening Ich ); and finally, he eventually fathers a child, thus demonstrating his own phallic power. Images of and references to t he covered woman and the exposed man disrupt the power structure and set up the notion that this film will not accept traditional modes of looking i.e., the dominant character in the relationship will possess the weaker one through the gaze, and the notio n begins with the very first sequence. The grandmother is covered in four skirts, therefore denying any scopophilic sexualization. When she hides Josef, a man on the run from authorities, under her skirts, he takes advantage of
88 his position and rapes her. After the questioning police take their leave, Josef is let out cousin and lover, Jan, i s being examined for the military; naked men are arranged in military order throughout the screen, on display for the spectators along with the military board. This scene is framed by parallel scenes of the women (old and young, mother and daughter) who ar e almost completely covered by long skirts and head scarves selling food in the market ; first when Agnes is a little girl and then Agnes as a young woman In a l ater scene Jan meet s Agnes for a sexual rendezvous and he is shown undressing before she even enters the room. when changing with his caretaker at the beach His body is displayed long before Maria begins to change her clothes and her breasts, buttocks, and crotch are never shown. In another sequence, even the mise e n sc ne displays the male figure birthday, Nazis parade through the street and in front of the grocery store neighborhood a s the grocer is moving his stock in and out of the basement. The camera discontinues following the pa rade and instead trails the grocer to his dark basement full David displayed on a shelf. Along with the focus o n the male body in this film, the denial of the woman as sexual object of the gaze continues and the first sequence in which the viewer anticipates seeing a nude woman begins when Oskar goes with his mother on an outing into the town to get a new drum. There, after getting his new drum from the toy merchant who flirts with his mothe r, he witnesses his mother visiting Jan for a sexual
89 the front of the building to an upper floor to see Jan looking out, and then the camera enters the pane to show what is happening in the hotel room. The spectator first sees strips off her clothes quickly, but stays covered by her slip long after Jan has removed his clothing. Their nakedne face, breasts, and genitals); the camera always keeps Jan in the frame with her and portrays their nakedness togeth er Even as they copulate, the camera pans up to a painting above the bed of women lounging in a field. Although the poses are reminiscent of classical paintings which include nudes, these women are completely covered. Later, at the beach, Jan helps Agnes take off her stockings and his hand plays under her skirt. As they walk, they watch a fisherman bring in his bounty eels which husband chastises her for her response and Jan comforts her. As he comforts her, he rubs his hand over her rear. Afterwards, at home, she is upset about having to eat eels for dinner and she runs to her room crying. Jan goes in to calm her down and ends up fondling her to orgasm; her husband a ssumes that the noises are her sobs. These two fondle each other throughout these different scenes of the film and just as they hide denies the audience a traditional look at her body.
90 father in his shop and to keep house. She cares for Oskar as a child even though he i s actually her age at this point in the film. The first time she takes Oskar to the beach, he plays with her as she sunbathes (she wears a two piece swimsuit which leaves her belly uncovered). Later, she cleans the stairs in their building and Oskar watche s her bending over scrubbing, but her dress keeps her body covered. At their second beach outing, the camera joins Oskar and Maria in the changing hut. After Oskar puts on his swimsuit, he watches her as she changes. When she turns to face him (and away fr om the audience), he lunges forward and buries his head in her crotch. Some writhing and gasps assumes that he is performing cunnilingus on her, but the audience does not see en Nazi party meeting. In the bed Oskar seduces her with the same game he played on the beach, then crawls under the covers and has se x with her. The blanket not only covers her nakedness in this scene, but it covers Oskar completely as well. In the next scene Oskar walks in on his father and Maria having sex on the couch. Again, she is covered by her dress (he simply lifted her skirt). Finally, meets and falls in love with Roswitha. Their romance is shown sweetly, with a picnic, music, holding each other, and chaste kissing. In their last sequence together they are roused out of bed by Bebra because they are being attacked. Again, Roswitha is first covered by the blankets and then a robe. In a much later scene, after Oskar has impregnated Maria, he is beckoned by a woman who lives upstairs; he gets into be d with her under the auspices of warming up, but they obviously mean to do more.
91 Between the blanket and her robe, no nudity is shown at all despite the obvious sexual intention of the scene. to manifest itself in astrological account and a shot o f the street outside. Next, the image on screen takes the audience into a different setting the womb. As the camera focuse s on Oskar in utero, he lo c ks the audience in his gaze for a length of time, and then the camera takes over his point of view as he is being born. The image rotates upside down, then rightside up as he is being turned by the midwife. Afterward, t he camera switches from to that of those in the room. As he is being bathed (which is shown ), his parents discuss and predict his future. Then, the point of view returns to Oskar look ing at his mother as she p romises him a drum when he turns three and his voice over pronounces that he will not protest his birth even though he wants to return to the womb, in anticipation of that drum. filmmaker Josef von projected upside down so that story and character involvement would not interfere with appropr she claims his films engender, the statement has a different effect when thought about of links the audience to
92 world, causing a non traditional mode of identification for the spectator that remo ves the lacking character (the woman or, for my purposes, the child, i.e., Oskar) from objectivity and gives the power of identification to Oskar received the tin drum tha t his mother promised at his birth. In this scene, he same language Mulvey uses to buttress her argument that the pleasure of looking at the woman is coded by beauty connects the traditional relationship of passive sexualized woman and active aggressive ma le and the relationship between (seemingly) weak child and (seemingly) powerful adult. The s beauty to youth, thus connecting young screen protagonists to a gaze like that of the gaze at adult female protagonists. In a toast, one man auf die Jugend und auf alles Schne Schn ist die Jugend his example illustrates how the framework of the gendered gaze can help us understand the power dynamic of the generational gaze. gaze during this scene also portray s his unexpected power over the diegetic and, by extension, the adult audience. Bef ore Oskar decides to stop growing, he watches his mother and Jan singing at the piano; the camera point of view as well. Jan sneaks his hand in her blouse as they sing about love. During this and, therefore, at the audience also. The reverse shot shows Oskar looking disapprovingly, not at the camera, but slightly back, in the direction of his mother and Jan. Their mutual looking is set up like a warped mirror image a relationship that is paral leled by voice in this scene Even though we
93 pitched sustained note at the end of the song, again fortifying the connection between the subjects of the two gazes (first Oskar at his m other who responds to his look; second the audience at Oskar, who denies our look). In this scene the child protagonist refuses to succumb to the objectification hout the scene. After singing, the adults mother, this time with his foot. Oskar has the unique ability to see into this secret world of the adults under the table and witness the truth. Although this scene seems to connect the audience to audience by insinuating tha flawed relationship with its recent past. he is omniscient and can control his growth. On film, Oskar is outwardly a child, without th e innocence of. As narrator, he is all knowing, even from before his birth, and his experiences are not innocent. Carol Her comparison of the film to the novel finds his grotesque persona and ironic voice turn horrible events into comical ones (237 238). T he distortion and exaggeration ation reach other character s in the film portraying some of the events as dark comedy. First the rape of his grandmother clearly shows that she is being taken advantage of, but the way it happens the
94 grandfather hiding under her skirts is absurd Then, af ter he disappears some time later while the police attempt to apprehend him, Oskar narrates about the speculation that his grandfather got away to America and has become wealthy selling fire insurance and making matches. This particular scene is punctuated visually by the early film style at his desk smoking a fat cigar. 23 This scene contrast s with the poverty of grandmother and mother selling geese before World War I, then turnips after World War I in the cold marketplace. The film also tells the story of t this grotesque style. The spectator may sympathize with her horror of watching the eels being fished, the n vomiting, and the painful way she rejects eating them for dinner, but when she succumbs to being forced to eat them, her behavior becomes obsessive and disgusting. She cannot stop eating fish pickled, canned, etc.; any fish she can find in the store, s he devours voraciously and gluttonously to her peril as it makes her sicker and sicker. Her craving is not simply due to her pregnancy, but it is an attempt at suicide and she obsession th at causes other characters and presumably the audience to feel sick and want to turn away in disgust, but is so gross that they cannot help but look. grotesque, but I suggest tha t it is actually the scream that causes it (238). First, when 23 For films in Weimar cinema, this image of th e big American man sitting behind a desk smoking a cigar commonly represented wealth, greed, and gluttony. (See Die Austernprinzessin 1919, dir Ernst Lubitsch, for an example.)
95 him alone and Jan, ever the interlocutor, attempts to placate everyone. Oskar screams and the glass on the clock shatters, ending the argument and shocking all. In this situation, Oskar has found a power he has over the adults. Next, Oskar begins school, but when the teacher tries to take his drum away, he screams again, this time shattering her eyeglass lense s, obviously a much worse outcome than the clock losing its glass face. He not only gets to keep his drum, but he has rendered the teacher powerless. refuses to let go specimens of animals and even a fetus are kept. There are no further attempts to take his drum away. The subsequent occurrences of his shrieking are under his control. In finding his mother i n a romantic assignation with Jan, Oskar climbs the clock tower in the town square and screams, shattering glass that rains down on the street below, causing a commotion. Later he does it for show showing Bebra what talent he has, performing his screams screams create chaos and absurdity, later they become amusement. Another way to look at the absurdity or grotesqueness in the film is to consider its relationship to fantasy, most specifically to the fairy tale. As I have proposed, the use of familiar structures from childhood, such as the fairy or folk tale, comprises part of the the book from which it was adapted, lends itself to a number of fairy and folk tale Propp extrapolates in his study. The structures appear in different levels of the story: the family, the drum, and Nazism.
96 According to Propp, folktales begin with an absence followed by an interdiction grandfather then from Poland altogether. The absence of the (grand)father creates the circumstances that propel the tale. All three components of the tale include a warning and its dismissal. Within the family the social code against adultery and in favor of the sanctity of the nuclea r family is denied glass shattering scream which he continues to use throughout the film. The stor y of by Alfred and Jan, respectively. At this point, Propp suggests, the villain appears. This is the case in each storyline. The threat to the family is Jan or Agne s or at least their relationship. The threat for Poland is Nazism. The next steps in the to deceive s submission, allowing the villain to harm the family. These steps are not clearly linear within the three storylines, but they do appear in each. Jan and Agnes deceive Alfred (and others) with their secret meetings and touches. Their villainous relationsh ip threatens and eventually harms the family structure. In the him, leading the astonished doctor to write about him in a medical journal. The story of Oskar and his d
97 structure. Several people try to trick or bribe Oskar into releasing his drum, but fail to do and counteract. His first action thereafter is to depart. Alfred recognizes the lack of an honest marriage as the basis for the family, causing Agnes to begin a downward spiral that leads to her death. Maria i s brought in to replace her, initially as housekeeper and shop assistant, but later as lover, wife, and mother. The family still suffers from a love triangle, this time Alfred, Maria, and Oskar. Oskar remedies the situation by leaving to tainment corps. According to Propp, after this departure the hero meets a new character, the the film, however, this step occurs earlier, when Oskar first meets Bebra after the circus. Again, all three storylines merge here. Bebra himself is portrayed like a mysterious fairytale character. He claims he is a descendent of Prince Eugene and, like Oskar, he made himself stop growing, but when he was ten. Oskar shows him h is talent of is a riddled warning before Oskar is whisked away by his parent s: My dear Oskar, trust an experienced colleague. Our kind must never sit in fairgrounds. They will stage torchlight parades. They will build platforms and fill them and from those pl atforms preach our destruction. This wisdom obviously foreshadows the military invasion, but also gives Oskar a place to belong, where his identity is not in question.
98 Next Propp expects the hero to enter a new loc ation, but in the film it will be awhile before Oskar leaves home. He appears in the interim, however, in a number of new settings within his community: first at the Nazi rally in a field near town, then on the beach with his mother and father and Jan, the n with his mother at church, in the Finally, he travels to Bebra and joins his troupe. hero marked, the villain defeated, the misfortune or lack relieved, and the hero returned. end of the film. As pin in his hand and threatens to label him with it. Instead, the father takes it and swallows it to hide it, causing him to choke on it and die, lea ving Maria, Oskar, and his place as man of the family. The story of the drum follows the story of the family and it is only when Oskar throws the drum into the father and the Nazis are defeated that he agrees to grow. task for him to complete, his recognition, the exposure of the villain, and then the reconstitution of the family. In this film t he previous structure s ha ve already satisfied these elements. One cannot explore folk/fairy tales and this film without covering the more overt Es beginnt weit vor mir (It began long before me) Es war einmal ( O nce upon a
99 time), the traditional beginning to German fairy tales, connects the film to the framework of the folk/fairy tale. Second is the scene of Kristallnacht e upon a time there was a drummer. His name was Oskar. He lost his poor mama who had eaten too much fish. Once upon a time there were gullible people scenes of Kristallnacht and Nazis burning and looting a synagogue. The scene His name was Sigismund Markus and he sold tin drums lacquered in red and white and he took all the toys in the world away with him. Once upon a time there was a drummer. Susan Anderson suggest s that the fairy tale reference in the Kristallnacht juxtaposing the reenactment of Naz i violence against Jews with the aesthetic form of the fairy tale, Schlndorff suggests that Oskar is using art to escape a reality that he : circuits such idolization from the very begin ning, suggesting that our sentimentalized images of childhood are a fantasy, not a reality, and that they are based more on our narcissism childhood, we live a fantasy; Oskar, in contrast, peskily insists on showing us who and postwar novels and visual art. Although his focus is not on the film, he does suggest that Grass and Schlndorff (along with other authors and filmmakers ) 24 re 24 In this list, he include s Arno Schmidt, Gnter Grass, Edgar Hilsenrath, Rol f Hochhuth, Ingo Schramm, Alexander Kluge, Volker Schlndorff, and Helma Sanders Brahms (423).
100 claimed the German fairy tale tradition [from the pollution of Nazi ideology] for their works in order to exploit the artistic potential of the connection between this genre and the T makes these tales an appropriate venue through which to convey the unspeakable is their connection with a more innocent time (childhood) and their purpose during that time to pr previous and well known literary structures such as the fairy tale, the Bildungsroman and romanticism as well as the philosophies from the humanists of that same period. Deutschlan d bleiche Mutter Helma Sanders Deutschland bleiche Mutter follows Lene, a young woman, through courtship, marriage, and family life as it occurs from just before the Nazis invade Poland through the first years after the war. The film i ntercu t s first person narration by In her commentary, the adult Anna (voiced by the filmmaker) recalls memories of her childhood thoughts about her experiences and about some events she could not have experienced; she ponders thes e experiences during and after World War II as the camera shows what is happening narratively (the story of the family) and through documentary footage (what is happening to the country the environment and in a few instances the people). Obviously Lene i s the main protagonist of the film, but only her connection to Anna, her daughter, makes her a fully realized character. Like the other films in this chapter, the two main characters in Deutschland bleiche Mutter embody borderlessness in connection to thei r generation. The mother is not always an adult and the daugh ter is not always a child. T he psychology of the mother child relationship already involves a
101 mother cons titutes the main theme of Germany, Pale Mother mother a 25 (101). To Bammer, the two are constant phys ical connection between Lene and Anna (101). Bammer also sets up the the film supports this reading of their relationship (101 102). The narrative structure of I/you and narrator/protagonist parallels the relationship of self/other, in which the self cannot exist without the other and vice versa because they are projections of each other which create a primordial unconscious union. This conclusion is also one which Bam mer comes to by way of the feminist writers Adrienne Rich and Irigaray and by way of Sanders and oneness is not merely a utopian fantasy, but (at least potentially) actual primal exper (140). Thomas Elsaesser s s, the father, representative of both patriarchy and the 25 Irigaray, Luce Trans. Hlne Vivienne Wenzel Signs 7 1 (1981) : 60 67.
102 Fatherland, is denied entry ( New German Cinema 270). Bammer suggests that this mother and child (103). ich (I) as the seque nce on screen focuses on Lene as object view, then from the audience spectator, and finally from the aggressive group of Nazis d also be the person focused on, but in Sanders intr oductory sequence, when Lene silently fends off her harassers and then cries to herself, Anna tells what is happening (in relation to herself, i.e. her parents coming together) and commenting on the situation from which she comes into the world (how even t hough she comes from this, she is not responsible for it). Later, after the wedding, the newlyweds quietly, with only very few words and those mostly spoken by Hans, evaluate the home and each other and prepare to consummate the marriage. Here ogue comments on how she fits in to this trio (she cannot imagine them together; she is in between them) and that this (later) ruptured family structure has caused her (as an adult) not to marry. Sometime later, Lene goes to retrieve a specific thread from a shop formerly owned by a Jewish merchant. The shop is closed, but a neighbor helps her loot the boarded
103 is only superficial and her silence about the loss of the shopkeeper is again filled in by arration asking how she is better than her mother and answer ing that it is solely a coincidence that she was born later. In the middle and end sequences of the film, end. When Lene and Anna travel alone through the countryside, Lene sings and tells stories; little replaces her narration as adult. She tells her father to leave her mother alone; she calls her father a name (when prompted by his friend Ulrich); she encourages her mother to Not only enact the final ritual of separation. Yet her desire to achieve separation cannot cene ultimately connects the utopian union with the mother to the daughter giving her voice to her mother. The idea of the utopian mother child union may have been spurred on by gender theory, but its conclusion also becomes significant for generational th eory. In their union, mother and daughter overcome the boundary that separates their generations ; child becomes mother and mother becomes child. Unlike most of the other films in this chapter, this particular film highlights the significance of fairy tale s in the generational relationship. While the film includes several references to fairy tales and their structures, the central section of the film in which Lene recounts the story of Der Ruber Bru tigam (The Robber Bridegroom) to Anna provides the most s ignificant recognition of this characteristic
104 interview with Sanders Brahms in his book about female directors Sanders Brahms recounts her reasons for choosing this particular tale to include in her film. She connected the old w 26 with her story about a mother psychic fear Scholars have privileged a discussion of the fairy tale in the analysis of the film, viewing it of a f urther connection between Lene and Germany; and also in terms of the relationship between Lene and Anna, mother and daughter, as females surviving patriarchy. I see another dimension of the tale namely it that focuses on the generations within the story. The fairy tale begins when a father agrees to marry his daughter off to a certain man. The man suggests she visit his house in the woods; he says that he will leave a trail of ashes for her to follow to find it. She agrees, but also brings peas and lentils to drop on the path to find her way back. When she arrives, no one except an old woman is there. The old woman leave immediately. The girl does not leave in time, so the two of them hide behi nd some barrels as the groom and his cohorts return with a maiden in tow. They drug her with wine, abuse her, then cut her into bits and feast on her. She is wearing a ring and when the groom tries to take it, he struggles, then cuts off her finger to make it easier. He removes the ring, tosses the finger away, and it lands in the young bride s lap as she 26 Kehr um, kehr um, du junge Braut, du b ist in einem Mrderhaus. Turn around, turn around, young
105 hides. She keeps it and after the old woman their wine and they fall asleep, the two women leave. The girl te lls her father what she witnessed and at a meal attended by the groom and his men, she recounts the story to all as if it was a dream. At the end she admits it was not a dream and provides the severed finger as proof. The story ends after the groom and his men try to run but are caught and punished. Lene begins to tell this story after the war is over following documentary footage of a grounded plane burning and two shots of a dead and bloody soldier. The telling of the story is visually punctuated by shot s of the landscape, documentary footage, and a scene in which two American soldiers rape Lene. At the beginning, mother and daughter are walking through a green, lightly forested area Its peaceful setting however, is disrupted by the gruesomeness of the tale Lene tells and by a corpse they find Lene tries to protect Anna from seeing it, but Anna protests that she wants to see it and Lene reluctantly lets her. As they continue, Lene finds shelter for them in a brick building which could have been a factor y, but looks remarkably like a crematorium. Sanders tracking it up in a relatively long shot. They settle themselves in front of an area that looks like ovens in the wall. The documen tary footage includes a long shot of an aerial view of berubbled Berlin, a maimed soldier playing a legless piano, and a soldier in front Lene and Anna enter anothe r building and are confronted by two jolly American soldiers who rape Lene as Anna stands by and watches. Mother and daughter are next seen riding between railroad cars as Lene finishes the fairy tale.
106 These interjections link the story to the stories of the film Roger Cook points out, the decomposed remains of the soldier, the legless piano [ sic ], and the ruins of Berlin are all emblems of the maiming and dismemberment brought by the Nazis. The intersplicing of these shots into the narration of the folktale establishes a parallel between these consequences of Nazi Ruber Brutigam The plane on fire and the t rail followed in the aerial shot represent the real German buildings (both in the documentary foota ge and Sanders and Lene) also represent the proof the murder has been committed which is represented in the fairy tale by the severed finger. Instead of the young bride showing the proof, the filmmaker herself does it. Finally, Nazis. The rapists being American soldiers also alludes to a criticism of Allied occupation. in an attempt to abate the trauma of what had happened for herself and for Anna This also returns to the fairytale in which the bride reassur es her anxious wedding guests. Because the fairy tale interrupts the traditional cinematic narrative, it has been ca T hese three views about the role of the fairy tale allow a further understanding of the structural and theoretical c onnections between the tale and the film. Seiter bases her claim on Sanders own statement that the film tells both the story of Lene and of Germany, therefore
107 suggesting its alienating quality to be part of its appropriation of narrative by femini ne modes (579). Kaes connect s and his subsequent dispatch to the front war and the destruction of their relationship (579). T support s this when Anna proposes that the war outside is over and the war at home is beginning. than other scholars of the film fixes it as one of the fantasies that mother and daughter share in their liberated bonding. In Deutschland bleiche Mutter those transgressive forms of expression which animated the mother daughter bond during the war years inform the narrative relationship between over comments are addressed directly to her mother. The film then becomes a form of cinematic folktale, and the daughter assumes the reverse role of narrating to her mother her own tale ion The film as cinematic folktale becomes the mirror image of the Mrchen that Lene tells Anna ( Cook 117 118) T hese observations lead to Sanders s at express ing her ideas outside of c onventions of patriarchal storytelling. Seiter calls it alienating because it was new and different and not the traditional way in which to tell a story, cinematically or otherwise. Instead of continuing the story in the vein of the traditional family melo drama, Sanders Brahms interrupts the flow of the film with this segment that Cook describes as the place where mother and daughter share their bond and are as close as they can come to the fantasy of returning to the mother (117). Sanders Brahms tries to r ecreate
108 this fantastic space with her film, but this time she is telling the story. Yet, the outside world (i.e. the patriarchal world) intrudes upon their fantasy in the form of the corpse that they find, the crematorium like buildings they enter, and mos rape. In Sanders directed at Lene, but just as much is expressed with Lene in third person, directed at the audience. (I will approach the relationship of the audienc e to the film later.) The connection that this film has to fairy tales extends beyond the actual fairy tale sequence. According to Rosemarie framing devices to construct and explore the identity of German women the central identity: idealized, mythical constructions of the self and negative re pressed perceptions of the Other, constructions that are subsequently corrected and modified through T his framing device includes references to fairy tales and their structural elements. Morewed S he and Kaes note the re ference to Sleeping Beauty when Lene pricks her finger on the needle attached to the curtains in her new home (233, 150, respectivel y). Kaes also suggests that pointing out that Lene is the only dark haired one among her seven The Robber Bridegroom presupposes feminist readings in its different uses of familiar fairy tale structures. Morewe dge suggests that
109 helps her initially appears as a fairy tale witch, but the young willingness to seek out the old woman is the special test which allows her to gain a magical agent from a helper (Morewedge 233). The diffe rent levels of story within a story also belong to the fairy tale genre (as we see in The Robber Bridegroom ). Barbara Hyams points out that Sanders twice, once as the original experience of the yo ung bride then as her retelling it as if it cinematic images and the fairy tale as allegory, Sanders Brahms tells the story again. Like the girls in the story, Lene/Ger destroyed in the house; the other manages to escape and ultimately leads to the apprehension of the criminals by recounting her story, even if she has to do it subversively (as a dream). Like the young bride, Sanders Brahms has to provide proof of the atrocities, which is done through her use of the documentary footage. 27 narrated tale leading to success, the reconstitution of the family, and social justice on the one hand and an experienced horror tale leading to a sense of failure, isolation, and the victimization of the heroine on Witnessing is o ne of the themes this sequence reflects, which reappears throughout the film When confronted wit h atrocities, the mother refuses to witness, to speak up, thereby becoming complicit in the event. At the beginning she does not 27 Hyams (351) and Kosta (152) discuss t he connection between the proof in the fairy tale and in the film
110 bag) to harassment by the group of young m en following her. When their neighbor Rahel is taken away by the SS, Lene refuses to watch or to let her sister watch or even to discuss it, changing the subject back to the young men in whom the sisters are e smacks her; she becomes aloof, but eventually sleeps in his arms. When she is raped, she does not fight, but simply accepts paralysis sets in, she allows her husband t o command the doctor to pull her teeth. Finally, facing everything, she does not want to live. She attempts the ultimate silence of death through suicide but in the end cannot do it. On the other hand, Anna does not refuse to witness; she speaks up or cri es out. She wants to see the corpse in the woods; she does not look away when her mother is raped. As a baby, when Anna is unhappy she cries loudly. The film emphasizes these shrill and disruptive cries when ects their destroyed house, when they arrive in the apartment of relatives in Berlin, and when Hans visits them in the apartment on his leave. When she can talk, she also responds in situations in which her mother would do nothing. First, after the war and name after his friend Ulrich prompts her. Hans hits her repeatedly and she screams and cries and tries to stop him. When Hans accuses Lene of infidelity, Anna is the one to respond to him, telling him to leave her moth er alone. Even when Lene is cruel to her throwing hot soup at her, waking her and Hans up in the middle of the night by destroying their belongings, and in the end when Lene enters the bathroom to try to kill herself Anna fights back with words, crying Mutti, Mutti, at school the next day and then telling her mom to go to bed, and finally by her pleading
111 not to be left alone. And finally, Sanders Brahms, as the real life Anna, retells her story with images, narrative, and commentary an ultimate act of speaking and claiming witness. Sanders Brahms voice over narration at the end brings the story to contemporary times and defines the relationship of Anna and Lene as ambivalent ng time r, the way her mother told her the fairy tale, the daughter has claimed power an d extended it to her generation loss of the father and the Mitscherlich report on that subject fro m 1969 in his history of effort to come to terms with what Fascism meant at the pers New German Cinema 243). Thus, the New German Cinema has come to be identified as a cinema of self representation and self reflection (Elsaesser New German Cinema 243). Not only did this generation try to redeem German cinema, but the whole cu ltural realm as well. supports the idea of auteurism, which characterized New German Cinema with its many auteurs. Elsaesser calls the diversity of the New German Cinema New German Cin ema 3 2 2). By this
112 generational and national memory to create meaning ( New German Cinema 3 2 2) In contrast the continuing awareness of the dangers posed by an impersonal cinema that serves larger causes, be it a cinema that actively supported a fascist regime as was the case during the Third Reich, or be it a cinema that legitimized a conservative status quo, helping to ( 200). Despite these differences, this generation was united in its fo cused on working through those problems for themselves and for Germany collectively.
113 C HAPTER 4 CHILDREN IN POST UNIFICATION CINEMA The third generation, or the Enkelgeneration (grandchild generation), is comprised of those born in the s eventies who exper ienced adolescence in the late e ighties through early n ineties. They are the third generation since World War II, but unlike earlier generations they do not identify themselves as the progeny of perpetrators and victims; they also grew up in divided Cold W ar Germany and experienced the end of the GDR and the reunification of Germany as children and adolescents, a critical time for their identity formation and the identity formation of the new Germany. Within the last two decades, characters from this genera tion have appeared as protagonists in cultural productions about their childhood and youth, showing a generation more active in developing their identity than its predecessors. In this chapter I exam ine three films from the post 89 period: Lola rennt ( Run Lola Run dir. Tom Tykwer, 1998) Nirgendwo in Afrika ( Nowhere in Africa dir. Caroline Link, 2001), and Good bye, Lenin! (dir. Wolfgang Becker, 2003). These films represent important moments in a new generation of German cinema. The uniqueness of Lola ren nt would be produced in Germany. The film addresses criminality, youth, contemporary concerns with otherness, and navigating a place saturated with the past in order to move to ward the future. Nirgendwo in Afrika returns to the time of Nazi Germany, but not the place, to tell a story about an exiled German Jewish family. The final film takes place during the most significant historical moment of this generation. Good Bye, Lenin! not only offers comic relief, but an alternative history of the events of 1989 90. In Good Bye, Lenin! not only for a positive
114 remembrance of the GDR, but also for it to live on in his home even after i t was gone outside. Each of these films present post of the traversability of new Berlin. unific ation sensibilities with a complicated characterization of first generation adults and second generation follows him directly through the traumatic process of loss durin g the opening of the East German borders through unification. T he films of this generation are mostly discussed individually rather than collective ly because they are so recent but some film scholars have tried to define the period from the end of the New German Cinema through the late n ineties until Lola rennt Eric Rentschler, for example, summarizes German film after New German Cinema and before Lola rennt bound profusion of romantic comedies, crude farces, road movies, action films, and literary adaptations. This cinema is above all star 262). It is worthwhile to note his between time revolves around their confrontation with adulthood, a problem that also manifests itself in the films in this chapter even though they come after the period Rentschler covers ( 262 263). These descri ptions of German cinema of the e ighties and n ineties are seconded by Hake and she adds that the central struggle for the films after Lola as well because it reflect s the condition of this generation that finds itself
115 aching for independence from other generations of German history while dealing with its inevitable belonging to the collective past and creating a unifying identity that allows it to move forward. Films like Nirgendwo in Afrika that focus on a historically significant time called heritage films. German heritage films became prominent in the nineties and ). Good Bye, Lenin! belongs to the group of films influenced by Ostalgie nostalgia for GDR life, which focused on the c ommon experiences of the youths While these films have particular char acteristics shared with other films, their genre statuses are still being debated, however, because they are still too new and this generation is still actively producing films. The Enkelgeneration is unique in t wentieth c entury German history. Far removed from the traumatic experience of the war and the instabilities it caused, these young adults have grown up in a prosperous Europe working towards political and economic unity. The (re)unification of Germany during their childhood and adolescence, during w hich postwar political and cultural boundaries were removed, affected the character of this generation as builders of a new future, rather than a generation trying to come to terms with the past. This generation also stands apart in its cohesion, uniting W est Germans, East Germans, and the second generation children of immigrants. Thus, cultural production of and about these young Germans revolves around those areas that significantly affect their identity building reunification, a culturally rich and mix ed society, and a Europe working together. The Enkelgeneration protagonists of
116 its understanding of history. While older generations have conveyed their preoccupation with the Nazi p ast on film through melancholic woe and the sorrow of unanswered questions that have transferred into all areas of their life, the Enkelgeneration is too busy dealing with its own traumas of identity. Some have experienced the collapse of the nation of the ir childhood and its erasure from everyday life due to the end of east European communism; others have endured the difficulty of combining two culturally and historically different national identities into one, and all of them are faced with the question o global world. These are the concerns that make their way into filmic representations of this generation. Lola rennt Lola epitomizes the drive of her generation to take control to solve a problem. One of the most significant problems for this generation is defining what it means to be German at the turn of the millennium, disconnected by generations from World War II, in search of a national identity in post Cold War Germany, and discovering its pla ce in a globally connected economy. As Tom Tykwer himself has acknowledged, the philosophical questions posed during the opening sequence of the film reflect these Wer sind wir? Woher kommen wir? Wohin gehen wir? Woher wissen wir, was wir zu wis ) (Who are we? Where do we come from? Where are we going? How did we come to know what we believe we know? How is it that we know anything at all?). The need to answer these
117 questions prompts this generation to become active directors of its stories instead of Despite the distance from the wartime past, this generation still appears to be haunted by a transgenerational phantom. Nicholas Abraham suggests that ndings quite accidentally reveal the nature of the missing pieces [that represent Lola rennt The tactics through which Lola explores space and tim e follow conventions in video games and computerized technology. The beginning of the film foreshadows this idea as the camera navigates the crowd of people. The motion of the camera emulates an image of electricity travelling through wires or as a visuali works in much the same way during the initial zoom in to a specified geographical location The flashbacks in the film that are inserted between level s and are not player controlled As she runs, Lola faces a number of obstacles and as she replays each level, her choices change based on what she has learned by experiencing it before. As part of the Enkelgeneration Lola already subscribes to visual representation as the preferred medium, so it is not surprising to see that her story harnesses such representation. Throughout the film, nar rative devices constantly remind us that this generation relies on images. For Lola, images are a part of how she thinks. When deciding whom to ask for the money, she goes through the list visually. When she and Manni tell stories, their flashbacks always appear on screen. Sight becomes their power
118 destabilizes, or perhaps even subverts, st ereotypical gender identities and traditional technology have empowered this generation, giving them personal control over events Annegret Mahler Bungers further explains representative of her subconscious She suggest s that the film is like a dream with a 84). What this means, then, is that the place s and time are also internal to Lola as r epresentative of her generation Berlin is in her and she defines her own sense of time. Mahler Bungers argues that the surrealistic r a bonding system of orientation, in order to deal with the chaotic possibilities [that] deeply born out of the New Age movement of the s eventies and e ighties tha t blurred the border laissez faire selfishness of the her peers (89, 91). Unlike her parents, Lola must deal with parents who truly are disengaged, illustrating the change from second generation passivity to third generation activity. materialistic, selfish problems created by her pa rents and grandparents and, in traditional teenage rebellion, chooses a path of selflessness This is displayed in the
119 three narrative sequences and the two outer narrative discussions with Manni, optimistic that this generation can control the chaos cause d by earlier generations. begins with references to feelings about World War II. When Manni Das war nicht meine Schuld! Du warst nicht da this generation when time travel as each sequence positions Lola as a manifestation of each generation. In the first sequence, she suggests that Manni should run a way but he reminds attempt to run away, that is, refuse publicly (and privately) to discuss what happened during National Socialist rule, but, as Manni remind s her, it is ines capable. Her second option is to go to her powerful father and ask for the money. Not only will he not help her, but he says he is leaving the family and he is not even her real father. Thus, she has lost her father. Stunned, she runs to Manni, but arrives too late and is forced into a criminal act in concert with him. As they try to run away after robbing a grocery store they cannot escape the guilt of their criminal activity Lola is shot by a police officer and dies as a result of her complicity (death happened often to children in the rubble films). Like many from the w loses her own self as a victim of the series of tragedies influenced by war. In the following transitional sequence she and Manni discuss the idea of uncertainty and
120 replacement. As she probes how Manni knows that she is the best woman for him, she points out that he cannot possibly know that and if they had not met, he could be saying that to another woman. She does not want to hear what he says; she wants to know what he feels. She refuses his attempt to articulate his feelings, confirming the transfer of the unspoken gap from one generation, or, in this case, one sequence, to the next. In the second sequence she re turns to her father for help. When she arrives, he is having an argument with his lover and becomes agitated and confrontational when Lola appears. She has caught him in his infidelity He refuses to answer questions and after further heated exchang e, they react to each other violently. He slaps her for calling his girlfriend a slut and she throws objects around his office. As she leaves, she realizes how to further respond to her father by taking him at gunpoint to get the money from the teller. T o prove that she can and will use the weapon, she fires it. (In the first sequence, Manni taught her how to shoot the gun. On the American DVD commentary, Tykwer points out that Lola learns new things as she tra vels throughout the sequences, an e xperience similar to playing leveled video games.) In this second sequence Lola of the second generation uses what she has learned from (and about) the first generation. own crime, she is mistaken for innocent by the police outside of the building. This suggests that despite her parental manifestations of them (such as the RAF/Baader Meinhof group), they are innocent of that which the first postwar generation is not, namely active and/or passive complicity in the crimes of Nazi Germany. Even though she has rejected her father in his guilt, she his being an
121 extensi t he final sequence of the film: s of represents (130) Durin g the transitional sequence that follows, she insis ts that she will not let Manni, the only significant male in her life, die. In the final sequence Lola has learned from the experiences of previous generations and is ready to take on the problem(s) as her own person. She cannot rely on Papa to help her this time because he is absent simply by coincidence Without the strings of the past holding onto her, she is able to use her voice, specifically her scream, productively. By winning money legitimately, she has stayed innocent, not lost her father, not lost Manni, and has survived. The movie ends with Manni and Lola walking off into the future together with their successes, completely separated from parents (or grandparents), fully realizing the satisfactory development of the third generation. Although one can argue that postmodernist feel of Lola rennt makes Lola recognized as such. The film is framed by subtle reference s to fairy tales first by the voice voice on a number of audio cassettes of fairy tales produced in the seventies and e stine Haase describes the rapid rhythm of techno music combined with fast motion images of people scurrying around
122 bombards the audience that conjures up nights in front of fireplaces, listening to an old storyteller, and memories of childhood Pippi Longstocking, a red headed adventurous girl who enjoy s thwarting (adult) authority 28 Mahler with red hair and who are resolute orphans that she reference s] themselves are able to to the fairy tale tradition. Owen Evans has more to say about Lola rennt and fairy tales than d o most other scholars. He characterizes the f which it accomplishes by incorporating strong elements of youth fantastic into realistic situations also occurs in the film, which is manifested in the blind touch saves the security guard and her scream leads to her obtaining the money in two separate seque princesses and the guard refers to her as such. Also, she, like other fairy tale heroes, must comple te her tasks alone (113). O. Evans also mention s the importance of the hero doing three tasks or having three attempts as another connection between the film and fairy tales (113). O. Evans concludes his reading of the film as fairy tale by 28 Bungers; Ow en Evans also connects her to Little Red Riding Hood ( Rotkppchen ) (114).
123 commenting on t he difference in intent. Although fairy tales had political and social in thi s film connect the audience and the characters, but I would also add that the connection gives Lola power and affect s social goals, specifically the goals of this erstimulating images and creates a comfortable place in which the adult audience can connect with Lola so that she can take them on her journey. She subverts the power o f a traditional binary relationship through the fairy tales. As the child, she would be expected to be powerless, but as the situation of the generational other exposes, she, as representative of her generation, has more power to overcome the trauma that a ffects identity development than the collective adult audience. Nirgendwo in Afrika Nirgendwo in Afrika explores a crisis of identity through the story of a German Jewish family during World War II. The film begins with the mother and daughter enjoying the ir last time to socialize with friends and family fleeing Germany. The father, a former lawyer in Germany, is already in Kenya and has secured a position as farm manager. When Jettel (mother) and Regina (daughter) arrive, Regina is eager to explore her new world while her mother fights against assimilation and acceptance of experience the native culture and bond with the native people, specifically Ouwor, the old man who assi sts the family, and Jogona, a native boy of her age. At the local
124 school, Regina also becomes acquainted with British customs and culture and the English language. Because she is denied her traditional German Jewish identity, she takes on, at least partly, the adult cultures and sub cultures around [her], cultures to which [she has] not yet learned how to belo 29 These mulit national, multi lingual, and multi cultural experiences provide a unique position for the child protagonist to have more power over the single minded adults around her and to represent the Enkelgeneration This film continues explo ring the problems with German identity formation for the the war, she also reflects some of the questions of post reunification German society. Lutz Koepnick, in one of his earliest studies of German h eritage f ilms, suggests that postcolonialism and post unification (both as parts of postmodernism) have influenced (respectively) ( The Dar k Mirror 261, 267). In a different publication the same year, Koepnick further clarifies by suggesting that it is not simply because of the postmodern minefield, struct division. By re viewing the national past, they solicit a new kind of German consensus 29 In a study of the films Chocolat (dir. Claire Denis, 1988) and Nirgendwo in Afrika Adam Muller explores a theory of nostalgia through the two main characters, two little European girls, who spend part of their childhood in Africa. For both, he marks their time in school as transformative. Here the girls are forced to
125 generation to const ruct a useful post unification identity, its members had to construct a narrative of their past that would allow successful development. The film acts as a reminder of what happened then and the purpose of the first person narrative is to account for the n eed to have witnessed the events, explaining one of the reasons the film is biographical. The only proof of the horrendous deeds lies in the first person accounts because the whole story of life under the Nazis can only be constructed with a number of pers onal accounts alongside historical and statistical data. 30 Because so much was denied and repressed in the postwar eras, the first person narrative of Nirgendwo in Afrika comes from postwar generations begging for proof of the truth and seeking to understan d themselves as a nation. In this film, the c witnessing of the time and place. By narrating and unable to claim identification with the c haracter, but to act as its other. Despite any visual knowledge by the audience of the protagonist before he or she speaks, his or her presence is not separated from the audience until the first utterance in first person. Eigentlich konnte ich mich an Deutschland schon gar nicht mehr richtig erinnern. Ich wute noch, da es da Schnee gibt, und Jahreszeiten Not only does this statement set up an awa references time ( nicht mehr Jahreszeiten ). Even though the characters are devoted to their place settings, the audience becomes aware of the time and their position in relation to it, as past. The audience can onl 30 Shoah which is hours and hours of personal stories.
126 relationship to a bygone time, a lost era, not a place, distinguishes the film. Nirgendwo in Afrika takes place during a time that no longer exists but cannot be left out of cultural h eritage films] are part of a new kind of public memory work which has led to an unprecedented institutionalization, ritualization, and spectacularization of Holoca primary site of transmitting memory between generations who have never lived through 57). This film represents this mingling of the generations because it integrates a audience and context of Germany in 2001. An element of the h eritage films that is most often discussed is nostalgia. Nostalgia itself has its own area of scholarship, but is also a significant part of stories certainly provokes a number of reactions. When one then takes on the position of the child protagonist and their role in collective identity formation, one must also consider t he importance of nostalgia in that role. Nostalgia is often understood as a longing for a loss that manifests itself as a utopian fantasy of th at loss. P sychoanalytic descriptions of fort/da game parallel the work of nostalg ia, one can see its connection to identity development. T he little boy observed by Freud overcomes his loss by rewriting the situation (the mother does not leave) and mastering a representative of his mother ; the nostalgic works to overcome the loss of an imagined utopia by rewriting its history or by collecting representative objects from it. The main difference between the two situations is the reality of the mother versus the reality of
127 ss experienced in nostalgia, its characteristics become vague and open. This film, as an expression of a child), also relates to its contemporary situation and audience, expressing a collective nostalgia for a utopian fantasy of German Jewish cooperation and a site within German national culture in which the Jew survives the war. In order to fulfill this notion, Regina must take on specific qualities that make her believa ble to her diegetic counterparts and filled 0); she is in the past as written for the setting of the story, she is in the present as she is created in contemporary times for consumption by a contemporary audience, and she is in the future as her experiences in the past viewed through the present wil l affect how history will be remembered. Since part of her character is connected to Africa, it is no wonder, then, that Kristin Kopp represented seem to exist in a dev elopmental stasis, outside of the time of historical static, respectively) highlight the focus of this film on the question of German history, the main concern for the G erman audience in their journey to a postwar, post unification collective identity.
128 character is not only influenced by the concerns of the post unification, but also her strength as generational other who displays power through subversion of the difference, much like the protagonist from Toxi In Toxi, an Afro German child is placed in a bourgeois Christian German home; in Nirgendwo in Afrika a German Jewish child is pl aced in the colonial Kenyan bush. highlight the contrast between the child physicality and her surroundings and both girls respond to difference openly and naively. Regina, like Toxi, gains her power throug h these reactions, denying a gendered or ethnic objectifying gaze. She refuses to be happens early during a bathing scene. While the camera investigates her body, the convers ation between mother and daughter is foregrounded. As they talk, the mother their homes. Regina dismisses these proscribed differences by pointing out that she denie s the audience from seeing her as different and chastising those who do. In a later scene, when Regina has reached adolescence, upon returning home during a school break, she meets up with Jogona, a native boy about her age and one of her childhood friends In this scene, Regina pre Jogona first tries to get her to climb the tree with him, but she refuses because she thinks she is too old and cannot get her uniform dirty. He suggests she take off her
129 blouse to keep it cl ean, but, framed so that she is looking at Jogona and with her back to the audience she refuses to do that as well. He insists again and she reiterates her argument that she is not a child and can no longer expose her torso because she has developed breast s. So, while taunting the audience in her sexually coded taboo school skinned bodies are held to a different standard than the dark skinned bodies by the Europeans. Jogona, then, provokes her by asking if she can still climb trees and, in reaffirming her connection to life in Kenya, agrees to take off her shirt and climb the tree. The sexual taunting in this scene continues as she finally strips and begins climbing, all the while keeping her back to the audience, denying thei r look and, like Medusa in the mirror, punishing them for thinking she could be objectified, thus, exemplifying the generational gaze as one that reflects back to the audience and As with the other films in this study, th e distinctions between adult and child and transition from a bigot to a more accepting woman. A conversation she has with Jogona also expresses this dual identity. She recites a poem she learned in school and he dismisses the line that one cannot talk to the night. She agrees, then praises his father for his ability to talk to the thunder and lightning. This portion of the conversation ends ather actually talks to the ancestors. The first half of this scene provides insight to the conversation between the filmed child and the adult
130 darkened theater, thus d enying a relationship between the audience and the characters child protagonist to speak to his or her ancestors, the adult generations in the audience. designation ultimately defines adult in my study, further expanding her characteristics of child and adu the intermediary of cultural translation (746). He also disconnects her (partly) from generate t guiding) ideal, representation of the cosmopolitan se subtly powerful ability both to learn from the adults in making better sense of one another and then to use what they have learned to assist adults in making better sense within broader pr ocesses of personal maturation [growing up], which in turn appeals to Regina transgresses borders of age and ethnicity to double this effect in her otherness.
131 Elements of the fairy tale are also fou nd in this film. Not only do fairy tales influence the film diegetically, but beyond the film yet connected to it, one speaks of fairy tales. In the preface to her 2004 English language translation of the autobiographical novel Nirgendwo in Afrika Zweig c alls the barrage of questions she gets about her connection with Owuor nowadays 31 ix children or attending a traditional ceremony, Link shows R fairy tales. Kopp remarks at length about the character of Owuor in the film. He is given a magical quality (for a number of reasons, she suggests) that connects him clearly with the magical helper found in fairy tales. Kopp quo tes Knipp in the connection between child like serfs valued the guardianship and protection of their paternali (115). In the postwar and specifically post unification context in which this film was made, it becomes a fairy tale of the exiled Jew, possibly as a way in which to fantasize and its fairy tale qualities help the audience accept it as such. Good bye, Lenin! Good Bye, Lenin! is the story of Alex Kerner and his family during the months in which East Germany opened its borders until after the reunification of East and West Germany (approximately one year from autu mn 1989 through O ctober 1990). Alex is nineteen and lives with his mother, Christiane, a teacher and Socialist party supporter, and his sister, Ariane, an economics student. After his father fled the East in 1978, his 31 Her explanation is that he would be over 100 years old and his inability to read and write prevented her from getting in touch with him ( ix )
132 mother devoted herself to her children and her country, summarized by Alex in a voice over as her marriage to the and falls into a coma for a prolonged time period during which the GDR collapses. When she wakes, Alex decides to keep the tr uth from her to prevent the shock and stress from damaging her health further. He attempts to keep his mother and poignantly the world of his childhood alive by recreating the fallen GDR in their home and through fake news programs and reproduced consume r products, keeping intact the world in which he has grown up. Good Bye, Lenin! and offers a look at how he represents this generation during the most significant event of the late twentieth century fo r Germany working through its own loss es and overcoming the phantoms from previous generations through mastery. Alex experiences several losses throughout the film. As a young boy, his father flees East Germany, abandoning the family and leading to his mo breakdown which causes her temporary absence. As a young adult, Alex loses his mother again to a heart attack that puts her into a coma, during which all he knew as his nation and world view disappears. His losses cause a crisis of identity and his journey of accepting these losses gives him the power in his relationship with the adult audience. Despite the portrayal of apparent powerlessness, his power manifests itself in the control he takes over history (and therefore memory), thus allowin g him to work through trauma differently than had the previous generations. The predominant historical image of the GDR that has been po rtrayed on film until the late n ineties has been about its governmental control, secrecy, and terror. In contrast this film captures and preserves the everyday life in East Berlin during and at
133 person narrative engraves the normal, everyday aspects such as consumer products and coming of age experiences into the history of the GDR. This nostalgi t wentieth c entury history, because of the taboo against recalling any positive experiences from the Nazi era, the historical precedent for the loss of nation and self. ys through everyday experiences the particular generation which experienced the Wende (change) as adolescents and its relationship to the GDR, childhood, and history. The writers and filmmakers treating these experiences come from a tradition of East Germa n storytelling and filmmaking called Alltag (everyday life). whose characteristics can also be found in Good Bye, Lenin!. The Alltag films favored female protagonists especially unmarried women, just as this film celebrates as does Alex (135). The Alltag is also highlighted in Ostalgie which I suggest gave birth to this film This film appeals to the audience through its connection to Ostalgie which first appeared in 1993 in German news publications. The term blends the words Nostalgie and Ost (East Germany, that is). The movement has led to the creation of a number of former GDR inspired consumer goods: books, movies and television programs, and even reproduced food p roducts. Beginning in the late n ineties, a number of books and films were produced by the generation which experienced 1989 as adolescents, revealing the deep cavity left by the loss of home and childhood. Writers such as Jana Hensel, Andr
134 Kubiczek, Jakob Hein, and Julia Schoch are some from thei r generation responsible for the first texts describing everyday life in the GDR from a more nave and flattering perspective than had yet been expressed. In a 2002 interview in Die Welt Jana Hensel addressed criticisms of the movement and her own work, Z onenkinder (2002), one has the feeling either everyone was in the Stasi or passed out flyers. There was an In 1999, films such as Sonnenallee (dir. Leander Haumann), a comedy, and Helden wie wir (dir. Sebastian Peterson), a drama, about adolescents in the GDR during the s eventies brought another facet of the GDR to the big screen which had been largely forgotten in all discussions of the GDR that children grew up there, experiencing both the wonders and the difficulties of childhood. The conflict surrounding Ostalgie however, is not simply a national conflict of (former) East and West Germans, but rather a generatio nal conflict of remembrance Lothar Fritze defines Ostalgie specifically as a current of shared experiences by this generation that is attempting to reclaim the loss of a reality and replace it with a perception, a central theme of the film (Fritze 113, Moles Kaupp 9). As an example Cristina Moles Kaupp notes several scenes which seem like possible recreations of documentary footage, but which have power to decide what reality is (113). This term works doubly in my discussion of the
135 ; they decide what is or what will be considered the reality and, secon d, because the audience as traditional with the child protagonist causes their observations to be guided by the young protagonist. Fewer and fewer remember World War I aging as well, and those who came of age during the Wende are now left with the task of passing on history. Ostalgie and the texts that started and have supported it could become part of the history. Unlike the children of World War II, the children of the Wende are able to share their childhood memories without breaking taboos. They have already begun to revise the history of the GDR and the events of 1989, not because of where they experienced it, but because of the age at which they experienced it. The use of visual media is significant in Good Bye, Lenin! not only because it is something this generation is accustomed to use to communicate, but because it explores the question of perception and truth in the filmic mediu m itself, in the mass media system of the GDR, and in the trend of Ostalgie Alex, as part of the Enkelgeneration already subscribes to visual representation as the preferred medium, and thus he harnesses it for his own use. For Alex, history continuously happens on a screen. As a boy he watches Sigmund Jhn, the East German cosmonaut, fly into space and later he watches as the GDR celebrates its anniversary with a parade just outside his own window. T o recreate history, he constructs it on video. His imag es of history, no matter how distorted or produced, potentially have the power to become what is remembered as historical truth. T hese representations of made up news reflect the effects that the Ostalgie movement had on the real world. C ritics frown on th is
136 because they see the potential of Ostalgic productions to become confused with complete historical truth. Just as the GDR controlled communication to its citizens through the mass media, so does Alex c ontrol the communication through media to his mother. After creating the receives. For example, he shows her that the radio is broken, but he broke it intentionally before her arrival. He scours flea markets to buy old GDR newspapers. She asks for the television and he puts it off until he can think of a way for her to watch it without exposing his deception. He then begins appropriating the events of 1989 and 1990 to create worker Denis provides him with taped copies of old news programs which Alex shows her through the television which is secretly connected to a VCR on the other side of her wall. Then his mother has some experiences that require him to create a whole new history of the GDR. First, she sees a Coca Cola banner unfurl outside her window and he and Denis make a version of the GDR news program Aktuelle Kamera claiming that Coke was first developed in Leipzig in the f ifties. La walk, the mother is inspired to walk out of their apartment and goes out into the street. Alex and his sister find her and bring her back home, but not before she meets w esterners mov ing into their apartment building and sees western vehicles and advertisements. In response, Alex and Denis create a second news program using actual, but misrepresenting capitalism were being ac cepted into the GDR. Finally, he must cover up the reunification fireworks celebrations by creating other historical reasons for the festivities.
137 He uses footage from Honecker resigning from his position several months earlier and new footage of a taxi dri ver he met who resembles Sigmund Jhn accepting the position reassigned images of Easterners fleeing to the West to make it appear as if Westerners were fleeing to the East. own manipulation of history. She admits that his father did not leave them for a Western girlfriend, but that they had planned to flee and she was supposed to follow with the child ren, but fear held her back. In the following scene she has suffered another heart attack. This prompts Alex to find his father and return him to his mother. Interrupted by is now one country. The returning father paves the way for introjections, successful loss, and caused by past phantoms After the return of the husband, Christiane can reclaim him as part of her unconscious and Alex is left to admit the end of the GDR itself. He does so by creating a final story reuniting the two Germanies under the history he had already started building. It is not until he recreates reunification on his own terms that he is able to introject both th e nation and the parent ashes after they are sent into the sky by model rocket So, for Alex, his mother not only married the Socialist State, she became it, thus creating a fr actured understanding by Alex that his mother and his homeland were one in the same. father (as ego
138 father and then nation affects him and his mother and prepares Alex for the loss of his mother. To understand the significance of these losses, one must understand Abraham object. If the subj ect introjects the love object, that is, if the subject both speaks about it and connects associations to it then normal, healthy mourning can occur (113). If the subject fails to introject the object, the object is incorporated loss of her husband and takes the GDR as her partner. What she cannot admit to, howe ver, is her own complicity in this loss she was supposed to follow him to West Berlin with the children. This is the phantom that haunts Alex. The obsession of East German characters such as Alex plays directly to the of loss, which is perhaps where appeal lies. Lacan discusses obsession and loss in his Third Seminar. The obsession is of the other (D. Evans 126) Ale x is left, after the fall of the wall, with a loss. Everything he (and his generation) has come to know and understand about the world has come crashing down around them, figuratively and literally. For Alex, the border opening and the fall of the nation w as like his father leaving again. He came to embrace the commonly shared events and artifacts from East Germany as desperate, grasping obsession with the GDR appears as a si it is meant to keep the GDR, as representative of his father, alive.
139 Continuing this habit of replacement, he also treats the perversions of real events as reality Like his mother, he treats this loss oral ly. Abraham and Torok write that when words cannot be used to name our lost object, the emptiness of the oral cavity manifests itself in a number of ways. Our introduction to Alex as a young man combines both of these symptoms. As a voice over, Alex says h auf dem Hhepunkt der mnnlichen Ausstrahlungskraft 32 then he belches. Later, he chokes on an apple, vomits after getting punched in the stomach, and screams almost primally when their old money has been found too late, making it worthless. He also continues to describe events and people figuratively, avoiding proper labeling to prevent proper mourning Lara, the nurse and love interest, is an Austauschengel aus der Sowjetunion angel from the Sovie t Union); the Altstoffsammlung collect and reuse or recycle materials); and the introduction of the Western goods into Siegeszug e trucks travel foregrounded through the frame). Instead of describing the gathering on the steps of the Rathaus Schneberg and the singing of the German national anthem by Helmut Kohl ein klassis ches Konzert vor dem Rathaus t in front of city hall). His voice over descriptions of the events of November 1989 fail to reflect the historical relevance of the situation. This real belief in it is also in line 32 Note on translation: Ausstrahlung is often translated as charisma but it also is the technical term for broadcast or transmission, which is important to note since communication technology plays such an important role in this film. Kraft most often me ans power, but it can also refer to virility.
140 therefore proof of his initial response to loss as unhealthy. In Good Bye, Lenin!, Alex loses his nation permanently and his mother temporarily His nation, his H eimat is his lost object. His mother becomes the imago, the idealized image of the nation formed during his childhood, since he cannot introject the loss of the object. He keeps the GDR and his mother in the shell of her bedroom and the few people he allo ws to visit her. When she is told some of the truth by the nurse after her second heart attack, Alex's support is lost. H e finally cries, a symbol of release. He makes the final arrangements to mourn the nation he loved by recreating its end. He also makes the final arrangements for his mother after her death. His ein Land, das in meiner Erinnerung immer mit meiner Mutter verbunden sein wird that will always be connected in my memory to my mother) proves this connection and the dual loss. Torok emphasizes that for introjection to occur the subject must connect the lost object to things associated with it rather than just incorporate it through fantasy into the unconscious; at this point, Alex accomplishes this As I claim, the child in the generational relationship has significant power which expressed S everal devices in the film disrupt the notion of Alex being looked at. The film starts with home movie type images. The home movie is projected onto the center of the screen, Unsere Datsche (our vacation h ome
141 double barrier between the film and audience disappeared into the sky, the camera pans back down to reveal an older Alex sittin g on a bench. At this point sound causes a rupture between the film and the audience. A sound check occurring off screen creates feedback, a noise meant to create discomfort. off of thus making the audience more uncomfortable and less willing to connect to Alex. Later, police assemble to stop the protest in which Alex takes part and they ar e successful. They scare, beat into submission, and arrest several of the protesters. er. This Are we supposed to be watching his mother, a spectacle in her red evening gown, or are we supposed to be watching Alex looking at his mother/the camera/the au dience? These three sets of shot reverse es not have the usua l power of an observer. The first example occurs during his first crossing several (presumably East German) citizens have gathered to watch a pornographic film
142 demonstrat possession of the gaze and, thus, power. The second example occurs new boyfriend, Rai ner, moves in and Alex sees them through a crack in the door dancing seductively together. We witness his third command of the gaze at the hospital. Although we, as the a objectify them the way that he can. He blocks our attempts to gaze subjectively by his sugar coated descriptions of these events. film, his identity as child is reaffirmed throughout the film. Alex is the child in the generational relationship, not a man in a gendered one or a colonizer in an ethnic one. His attempts to be a grown man fail. This appears first in his nave political rhetoric he uses to argue with his mother about GDR policies. When he participates in a protest against these same policies, his immaturity is again revealed, this time by his disconnection from the seriousness of the activity and his irreverently eating a n apple, only to choke on it, and then he flirts with the girl who helps him. When he visits his father in West Berlin, he waits with two children (his half brother and half sister) as they watch Unser Sandmnnchen ( Our Sandman sion program ) instead of joining the adult soiree. Later, he and his girlfriend find an abandoned apartment filled with the products and decorations of the GDR. During this time of sexual maturity, his behavior as they explore this
143 as child. Although this film seems far removed from the style of fairy tales, its elements appear generally and in reference to a specific t includes the removal of a parent, followed by an interdiction and violation. There is Austauschengel like his magical donor. Alex travels between two lands to repair the lack and the revelation, enduring challenges along the way. And finally all is revealed and the family is put right. Ariane and her boyfriend marry and raise a family and Alex is released from the bond with his mother and fatherlan d. More specifically, the provocative sequence of fairy tale, the girl runs away from a cruel stepmother only to succumb to a poisonous apple given by the stepmother in disguise. Snow White is thought to be dead, but a prince finds her in her glass casket, sees she is beautiful, and takes her corpse away to his castle. When a piece of the apple stuck in her throat becomes dislodged on the journey, she wakes and marries th e prince. The stepmother is punished by being put in shoes made of hot iron and she is forced to dance at the wedding until she collapses and dies. In Good Bye, Lenin! Alex is stifled by his step parent (the GDR as married to his mother), and when he trie s to fight it, he chokes on an apple, but it is his mother who falls into a coma. Wir lsen Probleme im Vorwrtsschreiten forward) says Alex, rec alling a motto from the GDR. Lola literally took steps to solve a problem and R egina experienced this through her exile and return to Germany These
144 young adults represent the third generation and how they are solving problems of identity Lola and Alex tak e control to solve the problems in order to overcome the burdens of the past a nd release the phantoms that stunt their development. Regina accepts the others around her in order to identify herself (generational) otherness promises an optimism missing since World War II
145 CHAPTER 5 CONCLUSION I began my dissertati on wondering why a child protagonist would appeal to an adult audience. In m y research I have found that the child protagonist offers a unique vessel through which the adult audience can experience a film. For postwar Germany, the child protagonist can act as both reflection and guide and as generational other can contribute to understanding the psychological and social development of the German collective. In the first decade after World War II German films used young protagonists to work through topic s of immediate importance such as reconstituting the family as the basic social unit upon which to build a destroyed society F ilms from the second generation reveal the weakness of the hastily reconstructed postwar family and the crisis of identity it cau se d for the second generation children. In response to the World War II the third generation portrays young protagonist s aware of the shortcomings of their parents and grandparents but who loo k forward and independently to identification with a Germany that has survived not only the war but also postwar division, the end of the Cold War reunification, and a significant place in the global economy. Through its flexibility to adapt to other era s and even other categorizations of film, the concept of the generational other has implications that reach farther than my dissertation. For example, films from the Weimar era could also be revealing when read through the lens of the generational other. S ome examples that come to mind are Der Golem, wie er in die Welt kam ( How the Golem Came Into the World dir. Carl Boese and Paul Wegener, 1920), in which a young child defeats the golem, and Mdchen in Uniform ( Girls in Uniform dir. Leontine Sagan, 1931)
146 have a number of elements from which to pull several readings, but the generation of the characters has not been studied. Recent and cu rrent films can also be revealing when read through the generational other. For example, the acclaimed filmmaker Fatih Akin, often uses young adult protagonists to explore questions of ethnic identity in Germany. In kurz und schmerzlos ( Short, Sharp, Shock 1998), 33 for example, the protagonists, all young men by age, are characterized as the child in the generational other. In this film, the protagonists are trying to find their identity, a process closely linked in psychoanalytic theory to parental figures as immigrants or offspring of immigrants. In 2009 German born Austrian filmmaker Michael Haneke directed Das weisse Band: eine Kindergeschichte The film tells the story of a small German village in the year leading up to the catalyst to World War I the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand of Austria. During this time, several horrible events occur: the doctor is injured when his horse trips on a wire strung low between rough a rotted floor, the cabbage field is destroyed, the barn is set on fire, es missing and is found beaten, the on his desk, and the doctor and th e midwife and their respective children go missing at the same time Most of these events remain a mystery, but the village teacher, who is fault. Some events are e 33 in parentheses.
147 by his oldest daughte r because she enters his office stealthily, retrieves the scissors in bird appears on the desk with the scissors still stuck in it and in the shape of the cross. The other mysteries are never solved and the disappearance of the midwife and the doctor lead the town to believe they were the ones behind all the tragedies, but the film mporal setting offers a proleptic reading of the Nazi generation, and Haneke has stated in several interviews that this is a correct assumption, but he reminds the audience that not only can Nazi Fascism develop from ignorance and cruel authoritarianism b ut a ny fanaticism can lead t o terrorism. This link to terrorism connects the events of a hundred years ago to those today. This film also seems to connect the eras of film which I have explored in this dissertation Haneke was born in 1942 placing him in the second postwar generation. His film refle cts that generation both in its concentration on parent child relations and distrust of authority as well as its cinematic similarities to New German Cinema. This is no surprise since, i n an interview for The Ob server he state s that in the sixties and seventies he saw movies almost daily (Day) This film correlates in a number of ways to the films of New German Der Junge Trless Both films were shot in black and white, set in a small town shortly before World War I, and explore cruelty and violence, specifically through children. Both films have elements of class and generational discontent. They also address the educational
148 system, r eligion, and sexual development. Unlike Trless, however, neither the village teacher nor the audience, witness es the violence in action, perhaps because of his adult status which is highlighted when he visits the father of the girl he intends to marry. T he father reminds him that she is only 17 and he is old enough to be her father (he is 31). She also uses the formal Sie (you) when speaking to him, a practice one uses for elders and strangers as a gesture of respect, even though he insists she use the in formal du (you), which is used for familiarity or as a diminutive. One could argue that the teacher should be the main character of the film because he is the narrator, but again he is dismissed from that status because he is not an omnipotent narrator lik e Oskar or Anna from Die Blechtrommel and Alice in den Stdten respectively He does not find out who the culprits are before he is drafted into the military and because his narrating voice is that of an old man, we can assume that he never finds out. T wo stories : the romantic personal story of the narrator as he falls in love and the suspenseful tale of cruel events that appear to come from within the community. In the first story, the teacher is the main characte r. This storyline is tame, wholesome, and idyllic. The boy meets the girl and they fall in love. He does not dishonor her when they meet for a carriage ride alone and he he second storyline, the children are the main characters. Unlike the child protagonists of New German Cinema, the psychology of these characters is not explored blatantly. They are mysterious through the end because we are never told or shown proof that t hey are the culprits, yet they are often found near the mysterious atrocities. We do
149 being late to dinner, marked by a white band for insolence, and tied to the bed t o cruelty through verbal abuse in a scene with the town midwife, his longtime lover. The While perform decent acts in lengthy scenes that are meant to draw attention young son wishes to keep and care for an injured young bird and humbly asks his father for compassion and motherliness toward her young brother when their father is injured and when he is afraid at night. These characters complicate the reading of the fil m as one about evil children whose strict parents and society unknowingly prepare them to become a generation of Nazis. If the film anticipates these children as future Fascists, it expa nds the understanding of their generation as simply cruel monsters. Not only are there both good and, presumably, bad children, but how much has their authoritarian, patriarchal, and strictly religious upbringing influenced their development? Another aspec t of the film that prevents this common, yet simplified reading is the social structure, this culture of authority cemented through violence and degradation is based in its patriarchy. This is also an accepted explanation of the popularity of Hitler as the ultimate father of the German Volk The group of children, however, is led by Klara, designation as leader. In the first scene with children, she immediately reprimands a
150 boy for greeting the midwife incorrectly and apologizes for him as if she were his mother. The narrator then explains that the children often followed her to the village exit after school. Later, long after she and her brother have submitted to the punishments of caning and wearing a white ribbon, the children are alone in the school, waiting for the teacher and pastor to arrive for confirmation lessons. Klara watches for them and when she sees them, she commands the other children to stop running around and yelling. she has gone missing. Klara is also the only child the filmmaker ties dire ctly to a crime the social group is also her brother. He, however, is portrayed weakly through his suicide attempt, his tearful admission of masturbating, and his puppeted r esponses to the teacher as prompted by his sister. In this film, the child protagonists, as generational other, complicate the simplified reading of the film as a modern day interpretation of the seeds of Nazism that were rooted in the cycle of strict auth ority from the earliest stages of psychological development through its manifest ations in the social constructions of family, religion, and class. As this film exemplifies, c ontinued studies of the relationships of the child protagonist to the a dult audien ce offer another way to reveal the complexity of culture through cinematic texts.
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157 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Jennifer Coenen was born in Phoenix, Arizona and has lived in southwest Missouri as well as north central Florida. In 1998 she married Danny Coenen and they welcomed their daughter in 1999 In 2000, she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in German from Southwest Missouri State University (now named Missouri State University) in Springfield, Missouri. She continued immediately in graduate studies at the University of Florida, earning a Master of Arts degree in German and continued to work towards a Ph.D. During her time as a graduate student, she has taught b eginning and advanced courses in German, the sequence of introductory college writing courses, and a writing course that incorporated an introduction to the college experience. She has presented at local conferences and symposiums as well as the German Studies Association annual conference. Following graduation, Jennifer Coenen will continue to teach a nd research German film, but would also like to study contemporary American romantic fiction.