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Not just death and ruins: the young and new beginnings in German 'rubble films'

Wolfel, U. (2016) Not just death and ruins: the young and new beginnings in German 'rubble films'. German Life and Letters, 69 (4). pp. 503-518. ISSN 1468-0483

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1111/glal.12133

Abstract/Summary

The article looks at ‘Trümmerfilme’ from different zones of occupation and discusses the roles which the young were allocated on German post-war screens. While in all films under-age characters are central to negotiating the severe national crisis following the end of World War II and the defeat of the Nazi dictatorship, the analysis highlights emerging differences in the depiction of the young between films from the Soviet zone and the Western zones of occupation. Despite the general use of the young as figures of distraction from the adults’ involvement in Nazi crimes, children in films from the Soviet zone help to articulate a new national ideal based on collective, public productivity, while the young in films from the Western zones help to formulate the dangers inherited from the immediate past. These differences are reflected in the opposing depictions of the young as innocent in the East and feral in the West, as well as in the intergenerational relations resulting from this. While the children’s potential in the East replaces the parent generation, which is implicitly marked as guilty, the dangers posed by the young in the West strengthen the authority of the parents and the nuclear family model.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Literature and Languages > Modern Languages and European Studies > German
ID Code:65999
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell

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