2007 Midwest Modern Language Association (M/MLA) - Annual Convention
November 8-11, The Renaissance Cleveland Hotel. Cleveland, Ohio
Realisms in recent German post-wall cinema
Post-wall cinema since the Schröder government has arguably taken a new
direction that may be described as a departure from the kind of
filmmaking that aims to “accommodate the audience’s desire for less
complicated narratives of Germanness” (Sabine Hake) – termed by Eric
Rentschler a “cinema of consensus”. Several filmmakers have addressed
uncomfortable and challenging new realities including unification and
East versus West German identity (e.g. Goodbye Lenin, Berlin is in
Germany, Forget America), marginalization and class (e.g. Nightshapes,
Absolute Giants), immigration (Turkish-German films such as
Aprilchildren, Brothers and Sisters, Dealer, Head On), asylum (e.g. Me
Boss you Sneaker, A Little Bit of Freedom, Unveiled) generational
conflicts (e.g. The State I am In, The Edukators, Fickende Fische, Head
On), crime (e.g. Tough Enough, Short Sharp Shock) and unemployment (e.g.
Forget America, Berlin is in Germany, Willenbrock). In other words,
German post-wall cinema since the late 1990s deals with pressing and
problematic political, social and economic concerns in terms of subject
The goal of this panel is to investigate the place, function, and
concept of ‘reality’ and ‘the Real’ in post-wall films including also
their reception and promotion. Papers are sought that include theory on
cinematic realism and the real -- ranging from e.g. Kracauer, Bazin, and
Deuleuze, to British theory on social realism (Colin McCabe, John Hill,
Andrew Higson) to more recent discussions on Black representation (e.g.
Mark Reid on the ‘ghetto aesthetic’ and Myrto Konstantarakos on
‘ethnocentric voyeurism’ in French beur cinema), and on realism and
popular cinema (Julia Hallam and Margret Marshment). Topics sought
include any of the following:
• The (mixing of) styles and genres employed to create a sense of
reality and authenticity.
• The place of the ‘new post-wall realism’ in the traditions of (social)
realism in film (including Italian neo-realism, British new wave, the
British Social realism by Loach and Leigh).
• The relationship between autobiographical filmmaking and the claim of
• Reality, the real and authenticity and the marginal subject.
• Reality, the real and authenticity and the local/the urban
• Reality, the real and authenticity and ethnicity.
• The notorious and uncritical use of the notion of ‘closeness to
reality’ and ‘authenticity’ in reviews and promotion.
• Individual filmmakers and their influences and role models.
• Socially aware filmmaking and the question of referentiality (i.e. the
presence/absence of social, political, national references).
Send abstracts by April 22, 2007 to Andrea Reimann, E-Mail:
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The German Studies Call for Papers List
Editor: Stefani Engelstein
Assistant Editor: Megan McKinstry
Sponsored by the University of Missouri
Info available at: http://www.missouri.edu/~graswww/resources/gerlistserv.html