Dismantling the Dream Factory: Gender, German Cinema, and the Postwar Quest for a New Film Language - Film Europa 9 (Paperback)Hester Baer
Paperback Published: 13/02/2012
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...convincing in its arguments, Baer's Dismantling the Dream Factory is a nicely structured work that offers a good mixture of historiography and close analysis. Baer effectively draws on contemporary press and advertising materials to highlight extradiegetic discourses surrounding the films, particularly to show how they made their appeals to female viewers. Baer's book is clearly and accessibly written, making it equally useful for teaching purposes and for more advanced scholars of German cinema. German Quarterly Baer has written an original critical view of German cinema after WWII...Unique to this study is Baer's attempt to ground her inquiry in gender theory...The result is a book that reopens the era by examining it from a fresh angle. Baer supports this important study with well-chosen stills. Choice This is a great book, well grounded in the critical literature and contemporary archival sources. The author has an extraordinary eye for detail in her close readings of the films and a profound understanding of the interplay between the diegetic and extra-diegetic elements that make up the meaning of a given film text, as she ranges from discussion of the use of sound to the marketing strategies employed to sell the films under investigation, all of which is located in a detailed understanding of the broader historical context and the German 'national trauma' of the time. Scope ...[a] fascinating study...[that] makes a major contribution to a burgeoning field dedicated to the investigation of what was once dismissed. Monatshefte ...makes a significant and original contribution, is well researched as well as written, and would lend itself conveniently to the teaching of any of these films...[It] bring[s] to bear theories from Anglo-American film studies as well as German cultural studies and history. The result is a felicitous mixture of theory, cultural-historical context, and informed film readings. Jaimey Fisher, University of California, Davis The history of postwar German cinema has most often been told as a story of failure, a failure paradoxically epitomized by the remarkable popularity of film throughout the late 1940s and 1950s. Through the analysis of 10 representative films, Hester Baer reassesses this period, looking in particular at how the attempt to 'dismantle the dream factory' of Nazi entertainment cinema resulted in a new cinematic language which developed as a result of the changing audience demographic. In an era when female viewers comprised 70 per cent of cinema audiences a 'women's cinema' emerged, which sought to appeal to female spectators through its genres, star choices, stories and formal conventions. In addition to analyzing the formal language and narrative content of these films, Baer uses a wide array of other sources to reconstruct the original context of their reception, including promotional and publicity materials, film programs, censorship documents, reviews and spreads in fan magazines. This book presents a new take on an essential period, which saw the rebirth of German cinema after its thorough delegitimization under the Nazi regime. Hester Baer is Associate Professor of German and Women's & Gender Studies at the University of Oklahoma, where she is also on the faculty of the Film & Media Studies program. She has published widely on German cinema, feminism, and women's writing.
Publisher: Berghahn Books