Re-imagining the German East: Expulsion and Relocation in German Feature and Documentary Film

in German Politics and Society
Author: Randall Halle
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Film history marks the various transformations in the material and imaginative relations between Germans and Poles in the postwar era. This article explores how film—the primary contemporary vehicle for imaginative communities—has played an important role in envisioning various spatial relationships, as well as the political and cultural shifts in the general population of Germany, West and East, and Poland. The article surveys the representation of flight and expulsion from the East first in the fictional feature film and then in the documentary genre. It then turns to contemporary productions that offer new visions of contemporary German-Polish relationships. It considers different strategies of filmmaking, such as big budget historic event films, the melancholic frame of expellee videos, the contemporary interzonal film, among others.