Contemporary German documentary cinema (1999 – 2007): the rural represented, the regional defamiliarised and Heimat revived
Bruns, Christina Ann
The thesis identifies a development integral to contemporary German documentary cinema that has not yet been taken into academic consideration: namely a new will to depict the regional, the rural, or Heimat. I have organised the research under precisely these three thematic motifs: the rural (Chapter One), the regional (Chapter Two), and Heimat (Chapter Three). The importance of the rural and the regional has to date been largely overlooked by academics in the field of film studies. Yet in the context of Germany they are key cultural markers – both are fundamental to the deep‐rooted German cultural concept of Heimat. Heimat, on the other hand, has attracted the recent attention of film scholars; their focus, however, has been mainly limited to historical analyses. I have implemented a number of theoretical frameworks in order to model a much‐needed understanding of this emerging German cinema. My examination of representations of the rural is rooted in a geographic approach to the medium of film, with an emphasis on the shaping (or lack thereof) of cinematic landscapes. My investigation of representations of the regional benefits from ethnographic concepts such as Other‐ing and exoticism. My discussion of a revival of Heimat on screen is based on historical analyses of the genre of the Heimat film. These theoretical frameworks are guided by close textual analysis of eight case study films spanning the period 1999 – 2007: Die Blume der Hausfrau (Dominik Wessely, 1999), Out of Edeka (Konstantin Faigle, 2001), Schotter wie Heu (Wiltrud Baier and Sigrun Baier, 2002), Herr Wichmann von der CDU (Andreas Dresen, 2003), Ich kenn’ keinen – Allein unter Heteros (Jochen Hick, 2003), Die Blutritter (Douglas Wolfsperger, 2004), Durchfahrtsland (Alexandra Sell, 2005), Full Metal Village (Sung‐Hyung Cho, 2007). The thesis not only identifies and analyses this new development in German cinema but also contextualises it in an academic framework.