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Wednesday, 12 March 2014

"National Socialism in the cinema of united Germany" by Joanna Trajman.

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Narodowy socjalizm w kinie zjednoczonych Niemiec Joanny Trajman 1000 415 cropp

In the series „Germany – Media – Culture", launched by the CSNE in 2011, a new book, the seventh in this series, has been published: "National Socialism in the cinema of united Germany", written by Joanna Trajman.


It depicts how Nazism is dealt with in film in the context of changes occurring in the German culture of remembrance, trying to explain the causes for recurrence of the discourse on German victims. The lengthy publication of 500 pages consists of two parts. In the first one, the way how Germans settled with the Nazist past in history (until 1989, dealing with GDR and Federal Republic separately) and contemporary times (after 1989) is presented synthetically. The second, fundamental part of the book, concerns the specific recognition of the problem in the cinema of the united Germany, focusing on specific works of film, grouped into six chapters: The insurmountable past, the return of Hitler in film, the German catastrophe, German heroes, the Third Reich in the convention of melodrama, the seduced generation.
A trump of the publication is that it localize the presentation of the topic in a broad social-cultural context, evocating the most important historical debates and disputes around the films that often aroused controversy in Germany. The author utilized an impressive stock of sources; films (the filmography contains more than 340 titles) as well as extensive literature on the topic, press reviews and interviews with authors. The interdisciplinary character of the work makes it possible, that the momentum goes far beyond the horizon of films, making an important contribution to the debate on the difficult heritage of Germans. In view of the limited availability of German films in Poland as well as disputes around the selected productions (for example "The Downfall"), recalling the rich discourses, the publication can be a valuable aid for the Polish reader (and viewer) who wants to understand the identity processes of our western neighbor.


The book is accompanied by a DVD of the film "Winter father" (Germany-Poland 2010) by Johannes Schmid. It is one of the few German productions portraying the Polish victims of the war, not shunning the difficult topics of the Polish-German past, but also carrying hope for a new, peaceful dimension. Despite funding by the Polish Film Institute and the Culture Center in Gdynia, the film failed to make regular theatrical distribution in Poland. This very publication corrects this omission, as Schmid's movie – both due to the subject and the way it was shot – fully deserves.


"If you consider that Joanna Trajman first courageously went beyond the insufficient earlier attempts to synthesize the research field, first and foremost note the impressive cognitive aspirations of the scale of this project. Its implementation required multilateral competences: Knowledge about Germany, political science, culture and also about the history of film. However, these very competences, although worthy to recognize, would help little, if they did not go hand in hand with the scientific talent and the intellectual imagination of the author, merits, to which her book owes its harmonious, coherent, cognitively effective and extensive vision of the undertaken subject."
From Prof. Tadeusz Szczepański's review


Joanna Trajman is absolvent of international relations and cultural sciences at Wrocław University. Currently, she works as an associate professor at the Chair of International Studies at this university. She has written articles devoted to the German cinema and social issues of women in international politics.

Read 18656 times Last modified on Wednesday, 12 March 2014 11:07