Race, gender and nation : the cultural construction of identity within 1990s German cinema
This study offers a cultural studies reading of race, gender and nation as represented in three thematic sub-genres of contemporary German film production. The aim of this study is to demonstrate that each of these thematic sub-genres offers a unique insight into the cultural construction of a distinct, yet problematic and porous umbrella identity enjoying a particular cultural currency in post-Wall Germany. It should be noted that, in this respect, this study represents a move away from these traditional diachronic analyses of German film, which attempt a snapshot of an entire history filmic production, towards a more clearly delineated, synchronic analysis of a single contemporary moment – namely, the 1990s. The first of these thematic sub-genres concerns the ambiguous romantic narratives of the sexually autonomous yet avowedly post-feminist New German Comedy women. As a significant sub-genre of the popular New German Comedy film of the early 1990s, these films embody a clear structural reliance on the narrative norms of a classic, mainstream cinema. In contrast, the cinematic representations East(ern) Germany, past and present, incorporate a myriad of generic forms and registers in their explorations of the meaning of reunification for eastern German populations, from up-beat comic road movies to psycho-allegorical tales of internal disquiet. The third area of this study concerns itself with the representation of Turkish-German populations in 1990s German cinema. As eclectic as the cinematic representations of the East, the work of these Turkish-German filmmakers appears to offer a troubling cinematic trajectory from abused and exploited first generation Gastarbeiter to self-assured and recalcitrant street-tough Kanaksta.