"Aftershocks of the Catastrophe: The 1950s Transformation of the West German War Film"
Lecturer: Jaimey Fisher, Professor of German and Cinema and Digital Media, Director of the UC Davis Humanities Institute
Tuesday, 13th November 2018, 5 p.m. – 7 p.m.
The University of Tokyo, Hongo Campus, Ito International Research Center 3F
This presentation concerns the astounding transformation of Germany from a thoroughly militarized and mobilized nation under the Nazis to a democratically inclined postwar polity with the citizens to support it. The presentation suggests that culture, in particular popular genres, can help track these kinds of thoroughgoing socio-cultural shifts and the remade subjectivities produced by them.
During the 1950s, West-German cinema was largely a cinema of genres, and the era’s second most popular genre were war films. Somewhat surprising, given the widespread suffering and destruction the war had wrought, these films nostalgically revisited the war experience, while also deliberately negotiating the rapid remilitarization of postwar West Germany.
In this remapping mobilization of the Cold War, the presentation examines a revealing, late-genre hybridity of the war film, namely, the nesting within it of the emergent post-war espionage genre. Films like The Fox from Paris (1957) and Rommel calls Cairo (1958/59) help unfold a novel form of soldierly subjectivity fitting their Cold-War moment. These war-spy films explore the foreign city with a tourist gaze that exploits the war-time travel pleasures while also forging a new, topologically driven subjectivity fitting the democratically-minded postwar period.
Organizer: Faculty of Letters, German Language and Literature
In the framework of the regular class of Prof. Shinji Miyata.
Contact: Prof. Stefan Keppler-Tasaki / firstname.lastname@example.org
Event webpage here.
Admission free. No registration required.
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