Cinematic Berlin and the construction of identity and alterity in postwar Germany

Monica Riera

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingEntry for encyclopedia/dictionary


    Since the early days of German film, Berlin captivated filmmakers. Its energy, creativity, and relentless transformations became central to the construction of a historical imagination of modernity and a German national identity. In 1945, as the former capital of a defeated criminal regime, divided and disputed by two world-systems, Berlin became an ideal cinematic subject to underpin cultural constructions of identity and alterity in postwar Germany. While the ruined city of the early postwar offered a medium to address the Nazi past and its legacy of destruction, the reconstructing city allowed the Allies first and the two German states later to parade their achievements and promote their respective ideologies. The cinematic Berlin of the postwar, caught up as it was in the escalating confrontation between East and West, responded to a large extent to the strategic utopian and dystopian visions that these political ideologies crafted.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationThe Palgrave Encyclopedia of Urban Literary Studies
    EditorsJeremy Tambling
    Place of PublicationLondon
    PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
    Number of pages9
    ISBN (Electronic)9783319624198
    ISBN (Print)9783319624181, 9783319624204
    Publication statusPublished - 27 Jan 2022


    • Berlin
    • Rubble films
    • DEFA
    • German-German relations
    • Postwar cinema
    • identity


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