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Ludwig Binder, Studentenrevolte 1967/68, West-Berlin. Courtesy Haus der Geschichte der Bundesrepublik Deutschland

Dirk Ippen Lecture

Political Cinema and the German Left

Abel’s project-in-progress, “Left Politics Without Leftism: A Counter-Genealogy of Germany’s Political Cinema,” examines how German film history and historiography configured political cinema. Today, Abel argues, two conceptions obtain that have roots in the revolts of the “long 1968” and the era’s models of political, or leftist, filmmaking: experimental films seeking to assault viewers’ senses and intellect, and “thematic,” message-driven films dealing with weighty issues of Germany’s past and present. Films falling into neither category are often misconstrued as apolitical. Bringing nuance to this dominant conception of the “political film,” Abel’s revisionist account is inspired by three seemingly disconnected moments in his own research: writing his book The Counter-Cinema of the Berlin School; revisiting the mostly forgotten film-critical debate about the so-called “aesthetic left” in West Germany around 1968 and its relation to the New Munich Group of filmmakers; and discovering Johannes Schaaf’s long-neglected film Tattoo (1967), which diagnosed emerging political developments in remarkably prescient ways that nevertheless remained opaque to the political left.

12 Nov 19
Film Studies
19:30 - 21:00
American Academy in Berlin
Am Sandwerder 17-19
14109 Berlin-Wannsee
Speaker: Marco Abel

This event took place on November 12, 2019.

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