Picturing the New Berlin: Filmic Representations of the Postunification Capital

in German Politics and Society
Rob Burns University of Warwick R.A.Burns@warwick.ac.uk

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Just as Berlin as a political, social, ethnic, and material entity has undergone considerable change since 1989, so too the cinematic representations of the new capital over the last twenty years or so have projected a diverse set of images of the city. This article considers a selection of fiction films that can be grouped together under three broad thematic category headings: those dealing with Berlin's past, those addressing the city's multicultural identity and, most substantially, those films in which the capital of the new "Berlin Republic" can be read as a metaphor for postunification Germany. What all three categories have in common, it is argued, is that the image of Berlin that emerges from most of these films remains an overwhelmingly negative one, with the city portrayed predominantly as a site of either conflict or disorientation.

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