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Sonja Fritzsche

The article argues that the films Das kalte Herz (The Cold Heart, 1950) and Der Teufel von Mühlenberg (The Devil of Mill Mountain, 1955) functioned in two ways-as fairy tales and also as new Heimat or “homeland“ tale. Besides Wolfgang Staudte's The Story of Little Mook, these two films were the only two live action fairy tale films that appeared before East Germany's DEFA made its first Grimm feature adaptation in 1956, The Brave Little Tailor. Yet, unlike the Grimm-based films that take place in a generic “forest,“ these first two films take place explicitly in the Black Forest and the Harz Mountains, two locations synonymous with the beauty and timeless nature of past notions of German Heimat. The two films also engaged with the growing monetary and symbolic success of the West's postwar Heimatfilme or homeland films. The article focuses on how The Cold Heart and Mill Mountain contributed to the rearticulation of the emerging Heimat discourse in the early German Democratic Republic, with a particular focus on gender.

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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.”