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PostPosted: Mon Jan 11, 2016 2:33 pm 

Joined: Thu Jul 24, 2008 6:16 pm
Location: Arlington, VA
Trees wrote:
This thread seems to illustrate something I have been thinking about for some time -- that Germany's contribution to cinema in the last half century has not been very substantial compared to even small countries like Sweden or Taiwan.

Why?

We know historically that German-speaking peoples have made tremendous contributions to the arts. One need only look at classical music, for example. Even look at the wonderful German contributions to cinema before WWII. So I wonder, if maybe, some kind of real psychological trauma and scaring still afflict the German people as a result of guilt over WWII, for example? -- that they are essentially still traumatized? Some of lubitsch's posts seem to indicate that there is just not a desire to make great cinema among many Germans, that "they don't care". There must be some reason why German cinema has been lagging behind even tiny places like Hong Kong, for example?


I'm rather late to the discussion, but I'd like to chime in.

The core reason is probably the one vexation that impacts all the arts: money. If there was a steady font of money funding cinema in Germany we'd see a lot of creative output. But, apparently, like Japan and United States, the funding just isn't there to the level that it needs to be.

To me, a national homegrown cinema so important nowadays in conveying a more complete understanding of one's country, culture, and people that government support of independent film is almost imperative. There are grant programs and private financing to some extent, to be sure, but to truly development a robust national cinema a lot more support is needed, and, realistically, that can only come from public sources.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 20, 2016 9:42 am 
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Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2010 2:13 am
Location: freedomcage
AisleSeat wrote:
But, apparently, [...] the funding just isn't there to the level that it needs to be.

Germany has huge film funding (Tarantino and Anderson got their share of it: http://www.studiobabelsberg.com/en/film ... producers/). The problem rather is how difficult it is here in Germany to produce a film without state funding - and how much state funding relies solely on commercial success. Furthermore funding also is linked to the big German TV stations (ARD & ZDF). As a result many films are streamlined to both fit the least common denominator of the audience and TV programming structures.
Most material to this never-ending debate is in German, unfortunately: http://www.cicero.de/salon/deutsche-fil ... nale/56966


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 17, 2016 9:45 am 
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Location: freedomcage
Here's an interesting account of the problems of German cinema these years by Richard Brody: http://www.newyorker.com/culture/richar ... man-cinema
He takes a long detour past the "Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe" and Sara Fattahi's "Coma" but also makes some valid statements regarding the "assembly-line system of financing and production into which each individual director’s scripts are plugged—with a lack of independence, both economic and artistic."


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 18, 2016 8:35 am 
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Location: Stretford, Manchester
I thought this article was crap, to be blunt. So what's missing from German cinema is the fact that it is not one particular Syrian film and something tangentially related to a Holocaust memorial. It feels like three articles crowbarred into one. It's interesting that the article does not mentioned any recent German films aside from Labyrinth of Lies and even that is given only cursory mention.

What's wrong with most national cinemas is people drawing vast conclusions and constructing straw men from one or two well-distributed example films.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 18, 2016 9:04 am 
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#MakeGermanFilmsGreatAgain


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 18, 2016 1:04 pm 
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Joined: Mon Aug 06, 2012 10:22 pm
Location: Heard about Pittsburgh PA?
#HilariousReferenceToNaziGermany


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 27, 2016 6:15 pm 

Joined: Mon Oct 31, 2011 5:54 pm
Yeah, these seem like some really sweeping generalizations about a national cinema. To my mind, Germany's still a huge creative force. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berlin_Sc ... mmaking%29. Whether or not you want to define these as "masterpieces" is up to you, but Petzold, Graf, Farocki (rip), Ade, Kohler, even Akin have all produced considerable works in recent times. Berlinale is one of the most interesting festivals, and no doubt it feeds back into German cinema as well.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 28, 2016 6:30 pm 

Joined: Wed Jan 23, 2008 6:41 pm
der_Artur wrote:
Here's an interesting account of the problems of German cinema these years by Richard Brody: http://www.newyorker.com/culture/richar ... man-cinema
He takes a long detour past the "Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe" and Sara Fattahi's "Coma" but also makes some valid statements regarding the "assembly-line system of financing and production into which each individual director’s scripts are plugged—with a lack of independence, both economic and artistic."

This article is laughable, and as Brody said, he's not an expert on German cinema. As such he should have left it at that. Unfortunately ho chose to make generalized statements that are simply not true.

German cinema has no shortage of great directors. It never had, at no point during the last 100 years. The current problems "in general" are plenty and varied, have by now a long history, and some of them have been mentioned in this thread (e.g. too much dependence on public funding, some of which is too concerned with streamlining content for (easier) tv consumption). Still masterpieces get made on a yearly basis and many great directors are able to work fairly regularly. It's not an Eldorado but neither is it a terrible situation. That many great films and filmmakers may not be (well) known in Germany and even less so in the rest of the world is a different matter and certainly not one that has anything to do with the quality of the national output.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 28, 2016 6:39 pm 

Joined: Wed Jan 23, 2008 6:41 pm
TMDaines wrote:
What's wrong with most national cinemas is people drawing vast conclusions and constructing straw men from one or two well-distributed example films.

Exactly. If one hasn't seen at least 20 to 30% of a country's cinematic output over the course of a few years, and doesn't posess a bit of an insight into the cultural and economical processes at work, the ideas one might have are only assumptions, some of which might appear ridiculous to people who are more informed. For Germany, this would include watching at least some 50+ films a year (and not just festival picks, for that matter ;-) ).


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 28, 2016 8:26 pm 
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Location: Worthing
Indeed. I didn't consider myself truly knowledgeable about Polish cinema until I'd seen the vast majority of the major classics and a substantial cross-section of lesser work, plus keeping up to speed by watching roughly 30-40% of its post-2005 annual feature output.

But of course the more I learn, the less inclined I am to make sweeping generalisations.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 28, 2016 10:17 pm 
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Joined: Fri Mar 28, 2008 3:56 pm
Location: Aldershot, Hampshire, UK
Same with Australian cinema. To keep up with its output I'd have to watch a number of features somewhere in the mid-twenties, which are the ones given cinema releases. That's about one feature per million of population - wonder if that applies to other countries?

I'm much less up on Australian cinema pre 1970, which is due to the fact that a lot of it isn't available outside visits to Australian archives - which is what I did last week in Melbourne, watching two films on timecoded VHS which have never had DVD releases. I have seen most of the major classics made after 1970.

And as they say, the more you know, the more you're aware of how much you don't know.


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