Movies and Film
A Few Young Men
The most crucial moment in German film since World War II came at the Oberhausen Film Festival in 1962. There a group of two dozen-odd young screenwriters and directors demanded a revolutionary break with the studio-controlled film industry and a new way of thinking about and producing motion pictures.
The result was the Young German Cinema, a group of left-leaning, progressive, resolutely antibourgeois filmmakers who came into their own in the late 1960s and early '70s to challenge the staid conventions of postwar German film. United by a desire to use cinema as a vehicle of social critique (though always resistant to thinking of themselves as a "movement," the Young German Cinema artists made a host of films that won wide acclaim at film festivals worldwide. Several of the most prominent directors, such as Wim Wenders and Werner Herzog, remain leading figures in European film to this day, and it's impossible to understand the past 30 years of German cinema without at least some knowledge of their work.
Here are the five most important directors in the Young German Cinema (and its cousin, the New German Cinema), as well as a list of some of the better (or more notorious!) pictures they've made since the 1960s:
The Oberhausen Manifesto, a petition-like declaration signed by more than two dozen young filmmakers at the Oberhausen Film Festival in 1962, was a collective vow to create a new German cinema that would resist the commercial demands of the nation's dominating film industry.
Take your time with the movies that have come out of Germany in the past 30 years. These films are all readily available, and given the rather heavy, often depressing themes many of them share, you'll want to swallow this stuff in small doses!
Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Movies and Film © 2001 by Mark Winokur and Bruce Holsinger. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.