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Title: Adapting the heroic German in post-1990 World War Two films : from 'Schindler's Ark' to 'Valkyrie'
Author: White, Anna Victoria
ISNI:       0000 0004 7425 4839
Awarding Body: Swansea University
Current Institution: Swansea University
Date of Award: 2015
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This thesis argues that since unification, contemporary popular Hollywood and German films encourage public debate and commemoration of the Holocaust and National Socialism. This thesis builds on the established Hollywood and German dynamic that was revealed in the debate surrounding Holocaust (Dir. Marvin J. Chomsky. 1978) and Heimat (Dir. Edgar Reitz. 1984) to examine the contemporary differences and debates between these two film industries' representation of the Holocaust and the National Socialist past through popular film. Specifically, the focus of this thesis is the interpretation of the morally ambiguous heroic German character, as portrayed in German and Hollywood film. The films chosen are adaptations of popular texts, remakes of other films, and/or based on historical figures and include: Schindler's List (Dir. Steven Spielberg. 1993), The Pianist (Dir. Roman Polanski. 2002), Aimee & Jaguar (Dir. Max Farberbock. 1999), The Reader (Dir. Stephen Daldry. 2008), Amen. (Dir. Costa-Gavras. 2002), John Rahe (Dir. Florian Gallenberger. 2009) and Valkyrie (Dir. Bryan Singer. 2008). All feature a heroic German character, for which Schindler is the prototype. The way in which contemporary issues surrounding popular representations of the Holocaust and National Socialism are negotiated through this characterisation in German film reveals a nuanced approach to national narratives, while Hollywood discusses specifically American or universal values through the portrayal of German history. The trope 'the heroic German' has become acceptable in contemporary popular culture on both sides of the Atlantic, and as such has transformed into the heroic Nazi trope. This thesis also concludes that these films reflect the needs of contemporary audiences by acting as a prosthetic and cultural memory and that Vergangenheitshewalligung is truly a process without a foreseeable end.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available