New German Cinema

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It is worth acknowledging that German Cinema has faced numerous challenges to reach where it is today. These challenges started back in 1940s during the Nazi regime ruled by authoritarian icon, Adolf Hitler. Hitler ascended to power by way of military coup and was then fearful and wanted to pronounce his leadership as a way of defense from the opposing militants. In that regard, Hitler had to device all possible means that would allow him stay atop of all others and ensure strong grip of power and authority. Among the strategies was structuring of education system to make known Nazi’s philosophies to all that learned during the era. Hitler also exercised great influence on the media and media contents by ensuring that all of its publications contained traces of praise for the Nazi government.

German cinema and film industries were victims of Hitler’s influence over media. The two industries were subject to produce documentaries dominated with Nazi’s ideologies with no criticism of the government’s dictatorial rule. These events negatively impacted on audiences who disliked Nazi’s influence over the whole media to popularize its dictatorship among Germans. The dislike saw audiences and consumers of German films and movies withdrawing their interests and concentrating on the foreign contents, majorly Hollywood. The shrinking market for internal movies eventually led to the liquidation and fall of the German cinema and film industry. Upon the fall of Nazi government and ascendance of the Adenauer government, German cinema and film industries begun to revive thus leading to the signing of The Oberhausen Manifesto that created the New German Cinema in 1962.

The New German Cinema became to be known as the national cinema among the Germans. This was due to the great dominance of the movement by leading German film producers. In fact, the movement consisted of 26 young German film makers who gathered to sign the Oberhausen Manifesto. Germans also regarded the New German Cinema as national because its creation led to establishment of film schools that trained very professional and competent movie makers and producers. Another reason that made Germans recognizes New German Cinema as national was the administrative structure that oversaw the running of the movement. The movement had local directors that include Herzog, Fassbinder, Wenders and Reitz. The good thing with these directors was that they had and demonstrated high sense of consumer value by engaging consumers in most of the operations of the management.

Later in 1965, there was the creation of the Board of Trustees for Young German Film, whose members were all Germans. The board worked to oversaw financing of the film makers and film industry as well as determining tax relief for the newly developed local industry. The board also evaluated and worked to promote as well as encourage consumption of the local film contents. Another reason explaining nationalization of the New German Cinema was the increasing government interest and support for the industry. The government interventions in the industry were by ways of providing financial assistance to the makers and producers and encouraging airing of the movies in the national televisions.

Knight adds that there was strong collaboration between the members of the New German Cinema and state owned television that ensured airing of local movies (11). This collaboration worked to hunt for the local market and revive the long faded interest in local movies. Additional for the nationalization of the New German Cinema related to enhanced focus on issues of national interest rather politics of the moment. The film makers under the umbrella of the New German Cinema did not take any political positions even at a time when German was under coalition rule of two parties, CDU and SPD. . The pride expressed by Germans on the New German cinema and its consideration as national cinema attributed to the international respect and recognition accorded to the some members of the movement. Such members included Fassbinder, Herzog and Wenders who won several international film wards.  

As demonstrated by Knight, inspiration of the German film viewers and Germans as whole to describe the New German Cinema as national was partly due to the missions and goals of the movement. One of the goals of the movement was to make the German film industry appeal to the international community by easing its commercialization in the foreign markets. This was one way of to market Germany and inform the outside world about the reformation process in Germany. Another mission of the New German Cinema was to focus on the historical and recent social and political factors that affect live of Germans and work to unveil the unaddressed problems.

Another factor for the nationalization of the New German Cinema by viewers was the artistic prowess demonstrated by Fassbinder in his movie The Marriage of Maria Braun. Fassbinder achieved this status by making his movie appear as a reflection of the past German society and the need for rigorous change in the social, political and economic order. The movie introduces by depicting the war period of German earmarked with shelling of bombs and killing of soldiers. It further depicts the struggle of Germans in bid to organize their social and political order to focus on developing the nation.

The film also demonstrates and tends to celebrate the end of the dictatorial Nazi regime and celebrating the rise of the liberal government that is ready to listen to the views of citizens. By using the character Maria as the newly married bride ready to gallop and squander the monies of her husband Hermann and then the sudden fall of Maria, Fassbinder appears to remind Germans of the Hitler’s obsession with leadership thinking that he was going to own German not knowing the waiting painful fall. The fall of Hitler marked the fall of capitalism and the beginning of social nationalism that would later see the growth of the country.

In conclusion, German cinema and film industry has undergone significant revolution since the death of Adolf Hitler and fall of his Nazi government. Instead of encouraging viewers and audiences of movies to continue in their spirit, Adolf Hitler wrongly influenced the industries and turned it appear as property of Nazi government. The film and cinema industry of the moment concentrated on spreading Nazi propaganda and ideologies optimized at gripping power and asserting the authoritativeness of the government. This worked to erode public interest in local movies and film industry to the favor of foreign movie like those of American Hollywood. The year 1962 that saw the signing of the Oberhausen Manifesto marked the revival of the German movie industry. The Oberhausen Manifesto led to the creation of the New German Cinema that later gained public trust and confidence. This related to its numerous national contents with little political coverage and the internalized administration, funding and promotion.

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