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History of German Films and Cinema - Essay Example

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One of the main connoisseurs of new German cinema from the late 60's to the early 80's was German film director, screenwriter and actor was Rainer Werner Fassbinder. In his short career he made over 40 films, acted in a few and also played the role of a cinematographer and producer…
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History of German Films and Cinema

Download file to see previous pages... Fassbinder's success in German theatre allowed him leverage when it came to ascending the rungs in mainstream cinema which he considered in greater esteem than theatre. But the German bourgeois always valued the older German theatre more highly than the younger cinema (Barnett p.137). He continued to make an impression in German theatre, and this improved his chances of being recognised and accepted in popular cinema which he did with films on a diverse range of prevalent issues.
One such film that explored the issue of individuals resisting traditionalism was Ali: Fear Eats the Soul. A storm outside forces a middle-aged cleaning lady named Emmi into a local German bar. The place is filled with Arabic regulars who gaze at her entrance. This bar is one of the select few public spots where foreigners are openly received. It's owner fills the jukeboxes with Arabic music but when Emmi enters, she is no longer a welcome visitor but is looked on as a stranger. The owner prods a former lover, a Moroccan man named Ali, to engage Emmi in a dance. Soon after, they become close companions, sharing common internal conflicts and emotions, along with feelings of loneliness and isolation. As their union develops, they find that society turns harsher towards them more so now than when they were isolated individuals. Emmi's neighbours chitchat continuously about her companion who is living with her and this provokes the landlord to question their living arrangements. Ali faces further embarrassment when a local grocer refuses to serve him until he improves his German. When Emmi meets her family and divulges her relationship with the Moroccan, she is met with cynicism and ridicule. The quarrel finally ends up with her TV set being destroyed. Later after Emmi's co-worker visits her at her apartment and finds Ali there, the following day she is spurned by her cleaning squad. She is then left to wallow in her predicament.
In this film, Fassbinder explores the experiences of people who do not conform to society's norms. His cinematography uses space and framing of the nonconforming individual to mirror his or her isolation and seclusion from the rest of society. When Emmi and Ali dance on the floor, a long shot of them amplifies their isolation. The confined kitchen also highlights the suffocation she feels about her life. At a bistro, the vacant surrounding tables overstated by the staff's distance from the present visitors also reflects her isolation. Fassbinder, referring to use social commentary rather than melodrama, produces a narrative that reveals the depth of exclusion that the two protagonists are faced with. He shows that although they learn to deal with unwelcome pubic scrutiny, the pressures of society continually eats the soul of both Emmi and Ali. This fractures their delicate relationship and the question begs, will the two survive their union. There are no simple answers in the real world.

In his 1979 film, The Marriage of Maria Braun, Fassbinder crafts a darkly comic and contemptuous portrayal of the revitalization program undertaken by Germany. The story is of Maria Braun whose wedding happened as a result of a swift two week courtship and a hastily conducted marriage ceremony during the last period of the second world war when ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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