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Looking East

The German-Polish Borderlands in German Cinema of the 2000s.

Jakub Kazecki

on 8 May 2010

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Transcript of Looking East

Looking East:
The German-Polish Borderlands
in German Cinema of the 2000s Vergiss Amerika [Forget America] by Vanessa Joop (2000)
Herz im Kopf [Heart Over Head] by Michael Gutmann (2001)
Halbe Treppe [Grill Point] by Andreas Dresen (2002)
Klassenfahrt [School Trip] by Henner Winckler (2002)
Milchwald [This Very Moment] by Christoph Hochhäusler (2003)
Lichter [Distant Lights] by Hans-Christian Schmid (2003)
Befreite Zone [Liberated Zone] by Norbert Baumgarten (2003)
Schröders wunderbare Welt [Schröder's Wonderful World]
by Michael Schorr (2006)
German films about the German-Polish borderlands
produced in the 2000s: The EU Expansion to the East: May 2004: Accession of 10 new states in the East and South of Europe
December 2007: Opening of the borders
(German border with Poland and Czech Republic)

The 2000s: Increasing contacts between Germans and Poles and more intense local border traffic Images of the German-Polish borderlands
and foreigners in German cinema: The attitude of Germans towards Poles
in the context of the changing European borders?
Borderlands: the true link between Western and Eastern Europe, or
a territory infiltrated by foreigners who put the German social structures in danger? Increasing awareness of German audiences
and exploration of the "otherness" of Poland
as source of narrative tension Dominant tendency in the German cinema of the 2000s:

The paradigm of the frontier, a product of colonial discourse that implies the opportunity to push forward, explore the new land, and benefit, economically or socially. The risk connected with this type of border crossing is quite significant: the escapades on "the other side" are intrusions into the unknown beyond the German comfort zone. The natural boundary:

The concept of "natural boundary" popularized in France during the Enlightenment: the differences between nations result from differences in climate (that is, in nature).

Different climates influence peoples' behaviour, habits and language, creating "natural" divides between populations in different areas and "innate" sets of characteristics. Milchwald [This Very Moment]
by Christoph Hochhäusler (2003) The director of Milchwald:

[I needed] "a space that is relatively strange and different, and the German-Polish border is something like that. Many Germans do not know Poland, surprisingly. It is a direct neighbour. The language is very different; it is really a different cultural area. It is certainly the strongest of all German borders." Hans-Christian Schmid (Lichter) about Frankfurt an der Oder/Słubice:
"one can tell good stories in that place because for many it becomes a place of fate." Christoph Hochhäusler (Milchwald) commented about the area: "There is an openness [there], everything could happen there." Narrative possibilities: Even when Polish geographical, cultural, and social spaces appear open for exploration in German feature film productions in the 2000s, they largely remain a terra incognita for German visitors. The notion of frontier, of divide between the predicable civilized world (Germany),
and the wilderness (Poland) Klassenfahrt [School Trip]
by Henner Winckler
(2002) Herz im Kopf [Heart Over Head]
by Michael Gutmann
Full transcript