An insightful analysis of German film in the immediate postwar era
German Cinema in the Shadow of the Third Reich
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Robert R. Shandley
Outstanding Academic Title, Choice, 2002
At the end of World War II, Germany was a broken nation. Split in two and occupied by the victorious Allies, it would have to be rebuilt, literally, from the rubble of its own defeat. Volumes of books have been published chronicling its structural and economic rebirth; this unique study reveals how Germany rebuilt itself culturally.
Rubble Films is a close look at German cinema in the immediate postwar era, and a careful examination of its relationship to Allied occupation. Shandley reveals how German film borrowedboth literally and figurativelyfrom its Nazi past, and how the occupied powers (specifically the US) used its position as victor to open Europe to Hollywood movie products and aesthetics.
Incorporating a careful reading of several important postwar films, Shandley also discusses how the German studio system operated immediately after the war, in the east and the west, giving special focus on DEFA, the east German studio that rose during Soviet occupation.
Pathbreaking in its research, Rubble Films sheds new light on a significant moment of German cultural rebirth, and adds a new dimension to the study of the history of film.
"Rubble Films is a deft and perceptive study of the most overlooked period in German film history. Superbly researched and written, this complex tale of German film culture illuminates, at times brilliantly, the much larger story of East and West Germany in the shadow of World War II."
"His study deftly combines descriptive and analytic treatments of individual films, with a cogent reconstruction of their historical context."
"A primary strength of the bok is its breadth: Shandley provides a useful survey of the rubble film that addresses a wide range of genres...in doing so, he never loses sight of his analysis of the representation of history in these films."
"Shandley extensively mines German secondary sources to flesh out the fascinating picture of the "rubble films" first produced in the late 1940s....Shandley's book presents a clear argument and critical evaluation of these early film initiatives."
Read a review on Gadfly online, 22 October 2001.
Read a review from German Studies Review, Volume 25.2 (2002), written by Jaimey Fisher (pdf).
Read a review from Monatshefte, Volume 94.4 (2002), written by Yogini Joglekar (pdf).