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Brett Bowles

The politics of French and German cinema between the onset of the Great Depression and the end of World War II is far from a new topic of study. However, scholars have typically focused on one country or the other, rather than comparing the two, and prioritized high-profile directors (for example, Jean Renoir, Jean-Paul Le Chanois, Leni Riefenstahl, and Veit Harlan) whose work benefited from direct party sponsorship and served a clearly propagandistic function. Reflecting the evolution of cultural history and film studies over the past decade, this collection of essays seeks to enrich the traditional approach in three ways. The first is by expanding the definition of politics beyond official party or state discourse to include power-related issues such as representation of gender and gender roles; access to material resources including funding and technology; relationships between film creators and industry or government officials; and competition between commercial and ideological priorities in film production, censorship, and distribution.

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Daisuke Miyao

The process of modernization in Japan appeared as a separation of the senses and remapping of the body, particularly privileging the sense of vision. How did the filmmakers, critics, and novelists in the 1920s and 1930s respond to such a reorganization of the body and the elevation of vision in the context of film culture? How did they formulate a cinematic discourse on remapping the body when the status of cinema was still in flux and its definition was debated? Focusing on cinematic commentary made by different writers, this article tackles these questions. Sato Haruo, Ozu Yasujiro, and Iwasaki Akira questioned the separation of the senses, which was often enforced by state. Inspired by German cinema released in Japan at that time, they explored the notion of the haptic in cinema and problematized the privileged sense of vision in this new visual medium.

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Alexandra Ludewig

Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, unification, and the subsequent reinvention

of the nation, German filmmakers have revisited their

country’s cinematic traditions with a view to placing themselves creatively

in the tradition of its intellectual and artistic heritage. One of

the legacies that has served as a point of a new departure has been

the Heimatfilm, or homeland film. As a genre it is renowned for its

restorative stance, as it often features dialect and the renunciation of

current topicality, advocates traditional gender roles, has antimodern

overtones of rural, pastoral, often alpine, images, and expresses

a longing for premodern times, for “the good old days” that supposedly

still exist away from the urban centres. The Nazis used Heimat

films in an effort “to idealize ‘Bauerntum’ as the site of desirable traditions

and stereotyped the foreign (most often the urban) as the

breeding ground for moral decay.”

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Barbara Mennel

Tim Bergfelder, Erica Carter, and Deniz Göktürk, eds., The German Cinema Book (London: British Film Institute, 2002)

Lutz Koepnick, The Dark Mirror: German Cinema between Hitler and Hollywood (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002)

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Catherine Epstein

Joshua Feinstein, The Triumph of the Ordinary: Depictions of Daily Life in the East German Cinema, 1949-1989 (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2002)

Leonie Naughton, Film Culture, Unification, and the “New” Germany (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2002)

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Hanna Schissler, ed. The Miracle Years: A Cultural History of West Germany, 1949-1968 (Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2001)

Review by Johannes von Moltke

Uta G. Poiger, Jazz, Rock, and Rebels: Cold War Politics and American Culture in a Divided Germany (Berkeley, Los Angeles, and London: University of California Press, 2000)

Review by Andrea Orzoff

Felix Philipp Lutz, Das Geschichtsbewußtsein der Deutschen: Grundlagen der politschen Kultur in Ost und West (Köln: Böhlau Verlag, 2000)

Review by Eric Langenbacher

Kathleen James-Chakraborty, German Architecture for a Mass Audience (London: Routledge, 2000)

Review by Eric Jarosinski

Thomas Elsaesser, Michael Wedel, eds., The BFI Companion to German Cinema (London: British Film Institute, 1999)

Review by Christian Rogowski

Jeffrey Verhey, The Spirit of 1914. Militarism, Myth, and Mobilization in Germany (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000)

Review by Frank Biess