German Cinema and the Nation’s Past: Contemporary German Film and its Treatment of National History

Baerbel Goebel

Research output: Book/ReportBook


Media have become extremely important channels for deploying ideology among viewers, readers and listeners worldwide. When film represents history, it inevitably re-shapes, re-interpretes and re-creates history for its audiences. National cinemas addressing national history allow a glance of that nation's understanding of its past today. This study presents a detailed discussion of three nationally significant events in German history (WWII, the 1954 Soccer World Cups, Germany's reunification 1989/1990). This is reflected in The Downfall (2004), Sophie Scholl - The Last Days (2005), The Miracle of Bern (2003), Germany - A Summer Tale (2006), Berlin Blues (2003), Sun Ally (1999) and The Life of Others (2006). They represent a sense and essence of Germany, defining the country expressively as a nation and Germans as one people amidst European Union, Globalization, and the War on Terrorism. How do young German filmmakers investigate Germany's negative past imagery? How was the self-perception of the nation informed in the past and who regulates the imagery displayed now?Germany has begun construction of an identity not founded on guilt, but it does not shy away from interrogating this guilt.

This book is directed at researchers in Film, Media, Communications, History and studies addressing nationality and identity.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherVDM Verlag
Number of pages108
ISBN (Print)978-3836425780
Publication statusPublished - 2007


  • Media and Memory
  • German Cinema
  • Public Memory


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