The 1960s saw a revival of sorts with New German Cinema, a movement of filmmakers who drew from their country’s postwar trauma to make films that were both critical and personal.
The New German Cinema is widely considered to be one of the most significant art house movements ever.
In this guide, we’ll examine what defined New German Cinema and look at five of its best films.
New German Cinema
What Is New German Cinema?
New German Cinema was a film movement developed in West Germany in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
In its heyday, it was seen as a major force in the development of European filmmaking. The movement was marked by the use of innovative camera techniques, sound design, and editing.
The New German Cinema refers to a film movement that emerged in Germany during the 1960s and 1970s.
The movement, which was spearheaded by filmmakers such as Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Alexander Kluge, Volker Schlöndorff and Wim Wenders, was characterized by its rejection of traditional filmmaking techniques and styles (known as the “old cinema”).
Instead, the New German Cinema focused on realism and social issues, two things previous generations of German filmmakers had been criticized for omitting from their films.
What Is New German Cinema?
New German Cinema is the name given to the movement of filmmakers in West Germany who emerged in the 1960s and ’70s.
It built on the style of earlier, German Expressionist films by using visceral realism to convey themes of alienation and anxiety — often focusing on youth in urban settings — while also incorporating political themes into their work.
New German Cinema was a movement in German cinema that emerged in the 1960s, around the same time that the French New Wave and the British Free Cinema were flourishing.
The films of New German Cinema typically explored themes of alienation and estrangement from society.
This era of German filmmaking came to an end in the early 1980s, when a group of filmmakers began to produce films that have since been dubbed “post-Wenders.”
While these films were made by former New German Cinema directors, they were more mainstream in nature and received much better commercial reception than their predecessors.
One thing that united many New German directors was their desire to represent contemporary Germany.
New German Cinema was part of the New Wave movement that swept world cinema in the late 1950s through the late 1970s as young directors abandoned Hollywood conventions for artistic freedom offered overseas.
Other countries contributed important films to this movement, including French New Wave and Japanese New Wave.
Movie Movements That Defined Cinema: New German Cinema
The movement began with a group of young German directors who were inspired by American films of the late 1950s and early 1960s, particularly those of Howard Hawks, John Ford, and Alfred Hitchcock.
They were characterized by their focus on everyday life and their rejection of classical Hollywood narrative techniques.
Often focusing on individuals alienated from society, they used nonlinear narratives and long takes to explore the psychological and moral complexities of contemporary life.
These films are associated with Alexander Kluge, Volker Schlöndorff, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Edgar Reitz, Hans-Jürgen Syberberg and Wim Wenders.
In the late 1950s and early 1960s, a new wave of young German filmmakers appeared on the scene, challenging many of the aesthetic and thematic conventions of Hollywood movies.The movement they spearheaded became known as New German Cinema.
At a time when youth culture was in full swing, these directors used their films to explore themes of sexual repression, moral decline and existential despair.Taken together, the films produced in this movement are some of the most important works in cinematic history.
They changed how critics thought about cinema, what audiences expected from a moviegoing experience, and how filmmakers thought about both creating stories and telling them.What were the characteristics of New German Cinema? Many people still think of it as primarily a director’s movement — that is, a group of like-minded filmmakers who were friends or even related to each other.
It included individuals like Werner Herzog (who later went on to make documentaries), Fassbinder (who made more than 40 movies), Wenders, Kluge and others who have become famous for their work over several decades.But while those names are well-known among fans of international cinema today, few people realize that New German Cinema also included women directors like Margarethe von Trotta and Helma Sanders-Brah.
What Defined Filmmaker Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Rainer Werner Fassbinder, born in 1945 in Bavaria, was a German filmmaker known for his provocative and challenging films. His life and work were both tragic and fascinating—and offer lessons to any filmmaker today.
Fassbinder’s talent as a filmmaker and writer was obvious from the beginning. He was accepted into the Babelsberg Film School at the age of 18 with hardly any experience behind the camera and no formal training in writing.
By his second year, he was already churning out scripts that impressed everyone around him, including his professors. After graduation, Fassbinder began working on film projects that were wildly creative, provocative and entertaining.
His early films include Gods of the Plague (1969) and Katzelmacher (1969), two fascinating studies of alienation and rebellion that exemplify his early style. He also worked on Fear Eats the Soul (1974), a serious drama that won several awards at Cannes Film Festival yet is still one of his less-known works.
Fassbinder’s hard work ethic was legendary. He once said that he might be lazy about certain things, but he would never be lazy about work.
Rainer Werner Fassbinder was a German director, screenwriter and film producer.
As a filmmaker, he is often associated with the New German Cinema movement.
The Eclectic Filmmaker: Wim Wenders
Wim Wenders is a Berlin-based director whose eclectic body of work includes such acclaimed films as The State of Things, Kings of the Road, and Wings of Desire. He has won the Cannes Film Festival’s top prize, the Palme d’Or, for his movies Paris, Texas and Buena Vista Social Club.
He also shot Pina, the Oscar-winning 3D dance film. In this interview with Filmmaker Magazine’s Nick Dawson, he talks about how shooting in 3D has changed his approach to filmmaking.
The Films That Made Werner Herzog Cult
One of the most intriguing and enigmatic filmmakers working today, Werner Herzog was born in Munich in 1942. He is an actor, screenwriter, film director, producer and opera director.
His films often revolve around ecstatic moments of revelation and the inherent beauty of nature.Werner has a signature directing style that includes the use of slow motion, voice-overs and hand-held cameras.
Some of his more well recognized films are:The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser (1974) In this dark drama, Herzog tells the story of Kaspar Hauser who was claimed to have been kept in a dungeon for the first 17 years of his life.After gaining some freedom he is eventually killed by a local man.
Shot on location this film is as visually stunning as it is historicallyfascinating.Fitzcarraldo (1982), In this unusual story about an Irishman named Brian Sweeney Fitzgerald O’Dowd who attempts to lead an opera through the Amazon jungle to a city that doesn’t even exist.
He wants to build an opera house in the middle of nowhere so that he can give his lover a proper singing career. His determination leads him to build an opera house by literally dragging a giant steamship over a mountain with manpower.
New German Cinema: The Displaced Image
The New German Cinema, which began in the late 1960s and has been an active presence in world cinema ever since, is a movement that has been notoriously difficult to define.The first thing one must understand about this Cinema is that there is no single movement and no single group of filmmakers to which it can be attributed.
Tempting as it may be to speak of a “New German Cinema,” such a label suggests a uniformity and cohesiveness among the films of Fassbinder, Herzog, Kluge, Wenders, the Wahlbergs, von Trotta, et al., which is not only erroneous but also misleading.
The movement we think of as the New German Cinema encompasses a variety of genres: documentary and feature films, avant-garde and popular forms of expression; it cuts across lines of class, gender, and race; it shows us an array of diverse aesthetic approaches.
It defies any attempt at categorization or summary. The New German Cinema does have three things in common with other movements,It began with a group of young filmmakers who were working together for the first time; it created an identifiable body of work; and it had an important impact on world cinema.
New German Cinema And German Culture
New German cinema began after World War II, when the country’s film industry was put under the direction of the Allied Forces as part of the denazification process. The films produced during this era are sometimes called “Trümmerfilm” (rubble films).
These films were characterized by a tendency towards political and social commentary, often using satire or allegory to critique the recent Nazi past. Films such as Wolfgang Staudte’s Die Mörder sind unter uns (The Murderers Are Among Us, 1946) or Irgendwo in Berlin (Somewhere in Berlin, 1946) use both documentary and fictional elements to depict the effects of the war on ordinary Germans.
During this period a number of filmmakers, many of whom had worked in Nazi Germany, where among those producing “rubble films”.Some, including Emeric Pressburger worked in Germany for a number of years after 1945 before moving to the UK and finding work there.
Others like Hans Deppe and Kurt Heuser emigrated immediately after the war ended. In addition to film-makers who had collaborated with the Nazis.
There were also some who had been prominent figures in left-wing circles before 1933. G. W. Pabst initially took work.
This movement has also been called New German Cinema or New German School.
History Of New German Cinema
History Of New German Cinema, The German New Wave, also known as the ’68 movement, was a social and artistic movement that began in the late 1950s and lasted until the mid-1970s.The movement’s aim was to counter the dominant style of German cinema which had been influenced by the Nazi era, and to replace it with a new kind of cinema.
The most notable feature of this new cinematic movement is that it brought to light many previously untapped talents who went on to make some of the greatest films of all time.This period saw an increase in film productions and directors as well as increased public interest in cinema.
History Of New German Cinema, It is important to note that most of these directors did not come from film schools but were instead highly talented filmmakers who were spotted during this period.Their talent was very much in demand because they helped boost the morale of a nation that had suffered greatly during World War II.
Famous Films By Directors Of The German New Wave, Amongst some of the most famous directors to emerge from this era include: Werner Herzog, Wim Wenders and Rainer Werner Fassbinder.Some of their most popular films include: Aguirre: Wrath of God, Wings of Desire and Paris Texas among others.
Essential Filmmakers Of New German Cinema
It’s safe to say that the New German Cinema movement of the 1960s and ’70s is probably the most influential art movement to come out of Germany.It spawned a whole wave of contemporary filmmakers, including Werner Herzog, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Volker Schlöndorff, Wim Wenders and Margarethe von Trotta.
Truffaut noted that the New German Cinema introduced “a new form of film language” in which “the camera is no longer simply a recording apparatus but becomes an expressive entity in its own right.
“This was seen in many shots where a character’s face is shot from below or from above, using low-angles and high-angles that “take on political connotations”, as well as with techniques such as deep focus cinematography.
Other techniques included long takes, hand-held cameras and improvisation. There was also an emphasis on realism and political commentary, while stylistic experimentation was used to create a subjective perception.
The desire to make films relevant to their social environment was another common theme throughout the movement.With this list we hope to show you some of the best examples of this movement’s body of work, helping you become more familiar with it through a selection of essential titles.
Essential Films New German Cinema
If you’re interested in German culture, take a look at these movies. They will give you a better insight into the German people and their culture.
1. The Marriage of Maria Braun, 1979
Maria Braun is the story of post-war Germany’s struggle to rebuild itself after the destruction caused by WWII. The film takes place in a small town called Aachen and begins with Maria Braun (played by Hanna Schygulla), marrying an American soldier for money.
As time goes on, her husband becomes more abusive and Maria decides to leave him. She then marries another man, who dies shortly after from cancer.
Maria then takes control of his estate and begins to slowly rebuild her life.
2. The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant, 1972
The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant is a psychological drama which tells the story of a woman named Petra Von Kant who runs her own fashion company.
She has two lovers, both who desire to be closer to her than she is comfortable with.She is often cruel towards both men, and at one point she even kicks one out of her apartment while he’s sick.
Eventually, one loses his temper with her and insults her while they are having a fight.
New German Cinema Theory
There are many different ways to approach German cinema, and one of those is the analysis of German film theory. In the late 1960s, there was a movement called the New German Cinema.
Although this movement is not too well known in the United States, it is very popular in Germany.The New German Cinema developed out of a political and social response to the war crimes that occurred during World War II in Germany.
This new focus on cinema began as an attempt to change society by telling a truth about German history through cinema.Many of these filmmakers wanted to show a different side of Germany than just the horrors of war and death.
They wanted to show that Germany could be a place far richer and more complex than most people imagined.They believed that if they made films that were controversial, it would bring greater attention to the problems that were occurring in society at the time.
With the goal of changing society through art, many filmmakers began using avant-garde techniques to make more experimental films.These techniques allowed them to express themselves on a deeper level, while provoking reactions from audiences who had never seen anything like this before.
This new approach also led them to break some traditional rules of filmmaking such as sound synchronization with image and nonlinear storytelling techniques.
Importance Of New German Cinema
New German Cinema is a term used to refer to a group of young German filmmakers, such as Werner Herzog, Rainer Werner Fassbinder and Wim Wenders who came to prominence in the 1970s.They were influenced by French New Wave cinema, Italian neorealism and the critical theories of Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer.
It was the first movement in world cinema where the films were made for art house audiences rather than for mass audiences. Their work often examined the relationship between individual consciousness and political circumstances.
This tendency was also evident in other works like Peter Weiss’s Marat/Sade, which was performed on stage by the Berliner Ensemble, but also by other experimental stage groups such as Palast Der Republik and Gruppe SPUR.The movement began with West Germany’s entry into the European Economic Community (EEC) in 1972, followed by the end of censorship laws which required all films shown in West Germany to be approved by government-appointed committees.
It continued into the 1980s and early 1990s when these directors were in their early thirties and mid-forties and had made their most important films. There were great expectations that they would revolutionize world cinema – but this did not happen.
The End Of New German Cinema
The end of New German Cinema was a result of many factors, some of which had to do with the way in which the German public perceived their own history. Germans wanted to look forward and not back, as evidenced by the film Die Blechtrommel (The Tin Drum) by Volker Schlondorff.
In this film, a boy is born with a tin drum that he then uses to turn back time and relive World War II. There are several other films about coming to terms with the past such as Christiane F.
(1981) and Die Legende von Paul und Paula (The Legend of Paul and Paula, 1973), both of which deal with youth culture in the years leading up to the war.These films were not very popular in Germany at the time they were released, but are now regarded as classics.
The main reason for this change in attitude is that Germany has come to terms with its past.
In 1998, Der Spiegel reported that 62% of the country did not want another memorial day like the one on May 8th 1945. These days, most Germans would rather look back on the past than spend time thinking about it.
What happened during WWII happened but it is too troubling for them to relive it over and over again through film.
New German Cinema – Wrapping Up
For us, the most exciting thing about today’s Berlinale is that we are able to conclude a project we have been working on for almost two years.We have managed to get the support of numerous German cultural foundations and the Federal Film Board (FFA) to shoot six feature films, four documentaries and one short film, which will all be released in 2018.
Telling stories that are rarely told on screen – this is what excites us about New German Cinema. Whenever we began discussions with directors, producers and actors who wanted to enter into a collaboration with us, one of the things we would mention was their own ethnicity.
In fact, many of our filmmakers aren’t even German at all; instead, they come from Turkey, Iran, Israel and other countries where there has been a strong German presence for decades.
We were able to find an incredible range of voices in Germany – from established names such as Thomas Arslan and Fatih Akin to young talents like Nesrin Samdereli and Ferzan Ozpetek.And our documentary filmmakers include former East Germans such as Christian Schwochow.