The Cinema of German Wartime Suffering

Posted to our site today: Framing German Wartime Suffering, a package about a controversial subject. There’s a feature article about recent studies of the experiences of German civilians during and after World War II, and an interview with Marc Silberman, the editor of a new collection of essays about films that relate to that subject. He also talks about issues relating to the archiving of those films.

NaPolA (Before the Fall, 2004), directed by Dennis Gansel
The more comfortable you are with the notion of retributive justice – and with its gory manifestations – the less bothered are you likely to be with what happened to German citizens in the closing phases of the Second World War. As the extent of Nazi criminality emerged and became widely known, even raising the concept of German citizens suffering came to seem an obscene intervention. Some cultural and film commentators are revisiting those events, the way they continued to haunt individual and collective German memories, and how those traumas have found expression (often of an appallingly unreflective kind) in feature films.

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