New German Cinema
The Second World War brought forth not only physical destruction to Germany, but also cultural destruction, particularly in its film industry. The film industry of West Germany, in particular, went under the inevitable control of the United States (US). American films became popular among the West German public, while prominent West German directors and actors chose to leave West Germany to pursue their careers in Hollywood, with many of them becoming highly successful. Yet, it did not take long for West Germany to become self-reliant in terms of reinvigorating its domestic film talents amidst the continued dominance of American films. The economic recovery, West Germany experienced in the mid-1950s, enabled its film industry to produce more domestic film outputs as it continuously featured American films, which enjoyed great commercial success during the period. The domineering control of the US over the distribution of American films in West Germany prompted the West German government to render support to domestic filmmakers – a move supported by the growing economy of the nation that time. Although West German films did not fare well commercially in the domestic market due to the continued dominance of American films in West Germany, international success did follow through the international acclaim of domestic filmmakers, many of them having gained working experience in Hollywood. The emergence of New German Cinema in 1962, through the Oberhausen Manifesto, was characterized by support coming from the West German government, the economic resurgence of the nation and the shift from nonpolitical and positive themes that somewhat denies the sordid political mishaps of Germany prior and during the Second World War, to highly political features that addressed pre and post-Second World War issues critically. The rise of domestic film talents in West Germany, particularly through the New German Cinema, is profoundly attributed to the support of the West German government and its political themes, hence giving the New German Cinema the reputation of being a “national” cinema (Elsasser 279-306; Rentschler 260-277).
The Administrative and Financial Structure of the Film Industry of West Germany
As part of the agenda to bring West Germany back to international prominence, the move of Chancellor Konrad Adenauer to direct the West German government towards sponsoring domestic film talents in the film industry is one that has produced satisfactory results aided by the timeliness of the economic resurgence of the nation. After the Second World War, the German film industry was left in ruins as with the rest of the nation. Filmmakers and actors went abroad to the US to enhance their careers in Hollywood, while the takeover of the US over the western portion of Germany, later emerging as West Germany, entailed the prevalence of American films. Although there is no indication that the West German government saw the...