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German Cinema Essay, Research Paper

The very first film program to charge admission was held at the Berlin Wintergarten on November 1, 1895; some eight weeks before the Lumi?re Brothers' first Paris screening, brothers Max and Emil Skladanowsky treated audiences to film strips projected by their Bioskop. True, continuous motion pictures began appearing in Germany the following year, when inventor Oskar Messter started making films. The producer/director of such pioneering works as Gem?tlich Beim Kaffee (1898), Salome (1902), and Apachentanz (1906), he also made weekly newsreels in the mid teens. But domestic production languished in these early years, and German audiences went to French, American, and Italian films. In the years just before World War I, patriotic efforts like director Franz Porten's Deutschlands Ruhmestage 1870-71 (1912) attracted attention, as did the sentimental dramas directed by Kurt Stark (Liebesgl?ck Der Blinden, 1911) and the melodramas of writer/director Joe May (In Der Tiefe Des Schachts, 1912; Heimat Und Fremde, 1913). The first German film studios were finally built, and native performers began achieving celebrity. Ernst Lubitsch first appeared in short comedies in 1913 and started writing and directing with the one-reeler Fr?ulein Seifenschaum (1914). Franz Porten's wife Henny was both star and producer of Adoptivkind (1914) and Gel?ste Ketten (1915). Paul Wegener debuted in films with Der Student Von Prag (1913, The Student Of Prague), directed by Stellan Rye. This doppelganger tale, co-scripted by Wegener, is an early instance of expressionist cinema, with stylized lighting, sets, and camerawork used to bring psychological resonance to its dark story. Wegener was fond of the Jewish legend of the Golem, a clay statue brought to life, and played the creature in Der Golem (1914) and Der Golem Und Die T?nzerin (1917), both of which he co-directed. He also starred in the fantasies Peter Schlemihl (1915), which he co-scripted, and Der Rattenf?nger Von Hamelin (1916, The Pied Piper Of Hamelin), which he co-directed. World War I kept foreign films out of German theaters, and more movies were made in Germany, mostly comedies, mysteries, and historical dramas. Lubitsch's Schuhpalast Pinkus (1916) was his first collaboration with writer Hans Kr?ly, who worked on most of the writer/director's silents, including his first two features in 1918: Die Augen Der Mumie Ma and Carmen, both starring Pola Negri. These tragic dramas made Lubitsch internationally famous, but he also continued his success in comedy with two 1919 gems, the 3-reel transgender farce Ich M?chte Kein Mann Sein and the satiric feature Die Austernprinzessin, both with Ossi Oswalda. Expressionism also persisted in the war years, with such films as Stellan Rye's thriller Die Haus Ohne T?r (1914) and Homunculus (1916), directed and co-scripted by Otto Rippert, about a soulless, manmade human who becomes an evil dictator. After the war came the most celebrated of all German expressionist films: Das Kabinett Des Dr. Caligari (1919, The Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari). Distinguished by its nightmarish sets and stylized costumes and makeup, this chiller about a strange doctor who controls a somnambulist also launched the careers of most of its principals: director Robert Wiene, producer Erich Pommer, writers Carl Mayer and Hans Janowitz, and actors Werner Krauss, Conrad Veidt, Lil Dagover, and Rudolf Klein-Rogge. The year 1919 also saw the debuts of two filmmakers who would rank among Germany's greatest: Fritz Lang and F.W. Murnau. A writer for such popular directors as Joe May, Lang began directing with the Pommer productions Halbblut and Der Herr Der Liebe. Lang's third film, Hara-Kiri, was also Dagover's debut. She then reteamed with him for the two-part actioner Die Spinnen (Spiders), Lang's fourth 1919 film and his third for Pommer; this lively tale of a worldwide criminal cult looked ahead to some of Lang's classics of the 1920s. The first two films of F.W. Murnau were the psychological drama Der Knabe In Blau and an elaborate historical fantasy, Satanas, scripted by Robert Wiene, with Conrad Veidt as the Devil. Other notable films of 1919 include Anders Als Die Anderen (Different From The Others), a plea of tolerance for homosexuality, directed by Richard Oswald and starring Veidt, and two major films from Lubitsch: the sweeping historical drama Madame Dubarry with Pola Negri and his E.T.A. Hoffman-inspired fantasy Die Puppe with Ossi Oswalda.Lubitsch and Kr?ly continued their winning streak into the 1920s with K?lhiesels T?chter (1920), a broad farce starring Henny Porten and Emil Jannings; the Arabian Nights drama Sumurun (1920), with Negri, Wegener, and Lubitsch (in his final acting role); the historical epic Anna Boleyn (1920), with Jannings as Henry VIII; the uproarious comedy Die Bergkatze (1921), starring Negri; the lavish spectacle Das Weib Des Pharao (1921), again with Jannings; and the intimate comedy of manners Die Flamme (1922) with Negri. Lubitsch then came to America to work in Hollywood and never returned — a pattern of loss for German cinema which was repeated again and again over the decade. The 1920s also saw the flowering of expressionist cinema. Paul Wegener made his third and best Golem film, Der Golem (1920), co-directing with Carl Boese and co-scripting with Henrik Galeen (who'd co-directed his 1914 Golem). Robert Wiene adapted Dostoevsky's Crime And Punishment for his stylized Raskolinkow (1923) and directed the Austrian production Orlacs H?nde (1925, The Hands Of Orlac), with Conrad Veidt as a pianist who loses his hands in an accident and has the hands of an executed murderer grafted onto his arms. Fritz Lang, producer Erich Pommer, and writer Thea von Harbou made Der M?de Tod (1921, Destiny) with Lil Dagover as a young woman struggling to rescue her lover from a personified Death. The three reteamed for Lang's two-part adventure thriller, Dr. Mabuse, Der Spieler (1922), with Rudolf Klein-Rogge as the eponymous crimimal mastermind. Writer Hans Janowitz adapted Robert Louis Stevenson's The Strange Case Of Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde for F.W. Murnau's Der Januskopf (1920) with Conrad Veidt; with writer Carl Mayer, Murnau made the murder mystery Schloss Vogel?d (1921). Henrik Galeen adapted Bram Stoker's Dracula for Murnau's classic Nosferatu (1922). Filled with clever special effects and boasting a hideous, corpse-like vampire, Nosferatu is one of the masterpieces of expressionist cinema. Galeen directed and co-scripted a remake of Der Student Von Prag (1926), reteaming Conrad Veidt and Werner Krauss. Paul Leni directed the memorable Das Wachsfigurenkabinett (1924, Waxworks), written by Henrik Galeen, with Jannings, Veidt, and Krauss as wax statues of historical tyrants which come to life. Thea von Harbou divorced her husband, actor Rudolf Klein-Rogge, and married Fritz Lang in 1922. Together they made four more landmark silents, starting with perhaps Lang's masterpiece, Die Niebelungen (1924), an epic version of Norse mythology. Part 1, Siegfrieds Tod (Siegfried's Death), is a lavish but static account of the legendary hero; Part 2, Kriemhilds Rache (Kriemhild's Revenge) is a rousing actioner in which Attila the Hun (played by Klein-Rogge) helps avenge Siegfried's slaying. Their next film was Lang's classic Metropolis (1926), a nightmare vision of a mechanized future, with Klein-Rogge as the mad robot-builder Rotwang. The actor also scored as the master spy Haghi in Lang and von Harbou's memorable Spione (1928, Spies), the first great espionage thriller (and their last film for producer Pommer). Their final silent was the imaginative and prescient science-fictioner Frau Im Mond (1929, Woman In The Moon). Several other important German films were also scripted by Thea von Harbou in the '20s. With Lang, she co-wrote the exciting Das Indische Grabmal (1921) for producer/director Joe May; with the great Danish writer/director Carl Dreyer, she co-scripted the unusual, quasi-homosexual drama Mika?l (1924), an Erich Pommer production. She also co-wrote two 1922 films produced by Pommer and directed by F.W. Murnau, the revenge drama Der Brennende Acker and the Gerhart Hauptmann adaptation Phantom, and soloed on Murnau's 1923 films Die Austreibung, a rural love story, and the comedy Die Finanzen Des Grossherzogs. Murnau's greatest successes were made without von Harbou, however. His landmark Der Letzte Mann (1924, The Last Laugh) is distinguished by both its virtuoso camerawork and Murnau's ability to tell Carl Mayer's story without any intertitles; Emil Jannings starred as a hotel doorman who loses his identity when he's fired from his prestigious job. Jannings also scored in Murnau's next films: Tart?ff (1925), a Moli?re adaptation scripted by Mayer, and Faust (1926), written by Hans Kyser from the Goethe classic. German cinema of the 1920s also saw the development of three noteworthy genres. The "Kammerspiel," or chamber play, was a form of intimate drama with strong psychological overtones. Along with Dreyer's Mika?l and Lubitsch's Die Flamme, examples include writer/director Paul Czinner's Nju (1924), starring his wife Elisabeth Bregner, and three films written by Carl Mayer: Paul Leni's Hintertreppe (1921, Backstairs), co-directed by Leopold Jessner, and director Lupu Pick's Scherben (1921) and Sylvester (1923). The "street film," a realistic urban drama mourning the loss of love and freedom, started with Die Strasse (1923, The Street), directed and co-scripted (from a Mayer treatment) by Karl Grune. Other major street films include Die Freudlose Gasse (1925, The Joyless Street) and Die Liebe Der Jeanne Ney (1927, The Love Of Jeanne Ney), both directed by G.W. Pabst, Dinentrag?die (1927, Tragedy Of A Street), directed by Bruno Rahn, and Asphalt (1929) by producer/director Joe May. The third genre, the "mountain film," is an outdoors tale celebrating nature and the body. Writer/director Arnold Fanck and his athletic, charismatic star Leni Riefenstahl made several of these, such as Der Heilige Berg (1926), Der Grosse Sprung (1927), and Die Weisse H?lle Vom Piz Pal? (1929, co-directed by G.W. Pabst).Other notable German films of the 1920s include Joe May's wartime love story Heimkehr (1928, Homecoming), Robert Wiene's life of Christ, I.N.R.I. (1922), and the tragic Variet? (1925, Variety), written and directed by E.A. Dupont. Pabst directed the stylish psychological drama Geheimnisse Einer Seele (1926) Secrets Of A Soul), and two 1929 films starring American actress Louise Brooks: Die B?chse Der Pandora/Pandora's Box) and Das Tagebuch Einer Verlorenen (Diary Of A Lost Girl). With the coming of sound, the public appetite for escapist musicals and comedies increased drastically, out of which only a few films — the clever Emil Und Die Detektive (1931, Emil And The Detectives), directed by Gerhard Lamprecht and written by Billy Wilder, or the crossdressing musical farce Viktor Und Viktoria (1933), by writer/director Reinhold Schuenzel — rise above the crowd. Yet several early German talkies have become classics. Der Blaue Engel (1930, The Blue Angel), produced by Erich Pommer and directed by the American Josef von Sternberg, made a star of Marlene Dietrich as a cabaret singer who degrades the authoritarian schoolteacher (Emil Jannings) that adores her. Women directors scored with Leontine Sagan's girls-school drama M?dchen In Uniform (1931, Girls In Uniform), and the visionary mountain film Das Blaue Licht (1932, The Blue Light), directed by its star, Leni Riefenstahl. Pabst made the antiwar tale Westfront 1918 (1930), the Brecht and Weill musical Die Dreigroschenoper (1931, The Threepenny Opera), and the mining drama Kameradschaft (1931). From Fritz Lang and Thea von Harbou came their brilliant account of the hunt for a child murderer, M (1931), which made a star of actor Peter Lorre, and another thriller of arch-villain Mabuse, Das Testament Des Dr. Mabuse (1933), starring Rudolf Klein-Rogge. The year 1933 saw the rise to power of Hitler and the Nazis. The German film industry was already hurting from the departure of such artists as Lubitsch, Murnau, Leni, Dupont, and Mayer, lured away by Hollywood during the 1920s. Now the threat of Nazi anti-Semitism caused waves of German cinema talent to flee the country. The artists responsible for Menschen Am Sonntag (1929, People On Sunday), a stylish and original account of everyday people, all left Germany: co-directors Robert Siodmak and Edgar G. Ulmer, writers Curt Siodmak and Billy Wilder, and cameraman Eugen Sch?fftan. Lang, Pabst, Pommer, Wiene, Henrik Galeen, Paul Czinner and Elisabeth Bregner, Joe May, Peter Lorre, and Conrad Veidt were just some of the talent who departed by 1933. Those who stayed behind threw their support to Hitler's regime; among them were Paul Wegener, Jannings, von Harbou, Klein-Rogge, and Werner Krauss. Leni Riefenstahl made an hour-long documentary of the Nazis' 1933 Nuremberg Party Convention, Sieg Des Glaubens (1933), and followed with the propaganda classic Triumph Des Willens (1935, Triumph Of The Will), an ecstatic account of the 1934 rally. In 1938 she premiered her masterpiece, a visually-inventive, 220-minute documentary of Berlin's 1936 Olympic Games, Olympia. Most popular German films were apolitical entertainment, as in the early '30s, or lavish historical dramas; but Nazi ideology was also extolled in such films as Hitlerjunge Quex (1933) and Ohm Kruger (1941), both directed by Hans Steinhoff, and Der Herrscher (1937) and Jud S?ss (1940), both directed by Veit Harlan.After the war, the Allied de-Nazification policies screened potential scripts, directors, and stars, and refused to let notorious figures such as Jannings, Riefenstahl, and Harlan resume making movies. In 1946 Erich Pommer was brought to Germany by the Americans to oversee the reconstruction of his country's film industry. Although German theaters now showed mostly American films, movies began being made again. From Soviet-dominated East Berlin came harsh looks at postwar life, such as the anti-Nazi Die M?rder Sind Unter Uns (1946, Murderers Among Us), written and directed by Wolfgang Staudte, and Irgendwo In Berlin (1946, Somewhere In Berlin), written and directed by Gerhard Lamprecht. Similar works came from American-controled West Berlin, including Film Ohne Titel (1948), directed by Rudolph Jugert, and Berliner Ballade (1948, The Berliner), directed by Robert Stemmle. Pabst, who had returned to Germany at the outbreak of the war and directed Kom?dianten (1941) and Paracelsus (1943), made Der Prozess (1948), attacking anti-Semitism. In 1949, Germany was officially split into two nations, the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) and the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany); reunification would not occur until 1990. The films from Communist-run East Germany tended to be didactic stories in the Soviet socialist-realist style, such as Unser T?glich Brot (1949), directed by Slatan Dudow, Ernst Th?lmann (1955), directed by Kurt Maetzig, and Sie Nannten Ihn Amigo (1958), directed by Heiner Carow. West Germany went back to making genre films (and increasingly, exploitationers), although some major works were released in this period. Peter Lorre wrote, directed, and starred in the psychological thriller Der Verlorene (1951, The Lost One). Leni Riefenstahl also filled all three jobs on her 1954 release Tiefland, a non-musical version of the Eugen d'Albert opera; shot mostly in 1940, it had remained unfinished until she was permitted to resume working in 1952. Pabst recreated Hitler's downfall in Der Letzte Akt (1955, The Last Ten Days). Die Br?cke (1959, The Bridge), directed by Bernhard Wicki, was a moving war film about German teenagers trying to hold a bridge against the Allies. A returning Fritz Lang attempted to rekindle the past with the two-part adventure saga Der Tiger Von Eschnapur and Das Indische Grabmal (1959), and the espionage actioner Die Tausend Augen Des Dr. Mabuse (1961, The Thousand Eyes Of Dr. Mabuse), his final film. By the mid 1960s German cinema began to re-emerge in the West. Writer/director Volker Schl?ndorff had a hit with his first feature, Der Junge T?rless (1966, Young Torless), from the Robert Musil novel about cruelty at a boys school. In the '70s he scored with other literary adaptations: Die Verlorene Ehre Der Katharina Blum (1975, The Lost Honor Of Katharina Blum) from the Heinrich B?ll novel, co-scripted and co-directed with his wife, Margarethe von Trotta; the celebrated Die Blechtrommel (1979, The Tin Drum), from G?nter Grass' surreal novel about a little boy who stops growing after the Nazis come to power. Alexander Kluge wrote, produced, directed, and acted in the stylish Abschied Von Gestern (1966, Yesterday's Girl), about a refugee from the East who is disillusioned by life in the West; also admired were Kluge's Die Artisten In Der Zirkuskuppel: Ratlos (1968) and Der Starke Ferdinand (1976, Strongman Ferdinand). Actor Maximilian Schell was also producer of Das Schloss (1968, The Castle), a Franz Kafka adaptation directed by Rudolf Noelte; Schell's '70s successes as a writer/director include the romantic drama Erste Liebe (1970, First Love) and the tale of Nazi war guilt, Der F?ssganger (1974, The Pedestrian). French-born writer/director Jean-Marie Straub scored with his film of Johann Sebastian Bach, Chronik Der Anna Magdalena Bach (1967, Chronicle Of Anna Magdalena Bach), which he co-scripted with his wife Daniele Huillet; in the '70s the two co-directed Moses Und Aron (1975), from the opera by Arnold Schoenberg, and Della Nube Alla Resistenza (1978, From The Cloud To Resistance), adapted from writings by Cesare Pavese. Perhaps the most acclaimed of the new German writer/directors was Rainer Werner Fassbinder, who started making features in 1969 with the gangster film Liebe Ist K?lter Als Der Tod (Love Is Colder Than Death) and a drama of anti-foreigner hatred, Katzelmacher (1969). Working quickly with a loyal troupe of technicians and actors, Fassbinder made over 30 films in the next dozen years, before dying from a drug overdose in 1982 at age 37. He sardonically conflated cliches of Hollywood melodrama with the social and psychological pressures of German life, dissecting his country in a series of provocative films — most overtly in his trilogy of postwar Germany, Die Ehe Der Maria Braun (1978, The Marriage Of Maria Braun), Lola (1981), and Die Sehnsucht Der Veronika Voss (1981, Veronika Voss). The Nazi past was recalled in Lili Marleen (1980), and the pre-Nazi era in Bolweiser (1977, The Stationmaster's Wife). He probed contemporary German life in the psychological drama H?ndler Der Vier Jahrszeiten (1971, The Merchant Of Four Seasons), the interracial love story Angst Essen Seele Auf (1973, Ali — Fear Eats The Soul), the media-exploitation tale Mutter K?sters Fahrt Zum Himmel (1975, Mother K?sters Goes To Heaven), and the black comedies Chinesische Roulette (1976, Chinese Roulette) and Die Dritte Generation (1979, The Third Generation); he showed lesbian love in Die Bitteren Tr?nen Der Petra von Kant (1972, The Bitter Tears Of Petra von Kant), gay life in Faustrecht Der Freiheit (1974, Fox And His Friends), and transsexualism in In Einem Jahr Mit 13 Monden (1978, In A Year Of 13 Moons). Fassbinder also adapted Theodore Fontane in Fontane Effi Briest (1974, Effi Briest), Vladimir Nabokov in Despair (1978), Alfred D?blin in the 14-hour television mini-series Berlin Alexanderplatz (1980), and Jean Genet in Querelle — Ein Pakt Mit Dem Teufel (1982, Querelle), his last film. Director Werner Herzog premiered two films in 1970 which put him at the forefront of new German cinema: his poetic, non-narrative look at Africa, Fata Morgana, and a crazed parable about an insurrection by institutionalized dwarfs, Auch Zwerge Haben Klein Angefangen (Even Dwarfs Started Small). He followed with four classic films: a dark journey into the conquistadors' imperialist folly, Aguirre, Der Zorn Gottes (1972, Aguirre, The Wrath Of God), starring Klaus Kinski; an account of the real-life mystery man Kaspar Hauser in Jeder Fur Sich Und Gott Gegen Alle (1974, The Mystery Of Kaspar Hauser); a dreamlike vision of collective madness, Herz Aud Glas (1976, Heart Of Glass), for which he hypnotized his actors; and the black comedy of a German in America, Stroszek (1977). The '70s also saw two major documentaries by Herzog: Land Des Schweigens Und Der Dunkelheit (1971, Land Of Silence And Darkness), about the blind and deaf, and La Soufri?re (1977), shot on an evacuated volcanic island that was about to blow (but never did). Reteaming with Kinski, Herzog remade Murnau with Nosferatu: Phantom Der Nacht (1978, Nosferatu, The Vampyre), adapted Georg Buchner in Woyzeck (1979), and dragged a large boat up and down a mountain in the Amazon jungle for Fitzcarraldo (1982). Herzog faltered in later features such as Where The Green Ants Dream (1983), set in Australia, and Cobra Verde (1988), an African drama with Kinski, but his documentaries have been outstanding: Ballade Vom Kleinen Soldaten (1984, Ballad Of The Little Soldier), about young Miskito Indians fighting the Sandanistas in Nicaragua; Echos Aus Einem Dusteren Reich (1990, Echoes From A Somber Empire), examining the reign of the overthrown Emperor of Central Africa, Jean Bedel Bokassa; and Lessons Of Darkness (1995), an indelible testimony of Kuwait's devestation after the Iraqis set its oilfields on fire. The third major figure in the new wave of German cinema is Hans-Jurgen Syberberg, who made a strikingly original trilogy in the 1970s which analyzed Germany through three visionary historical figures: the martyred 19th-century king Ludwig II in Ludwig — Requiem F?r Einen Jungfr?ulichen K?nig (1972, Ludwig — Requiem For A Virgin King), popular author Karl May in Karl May (1974), and Hitler in the astounding seven-hour Hitler, Ein Film Aus Deutschland (1977, Our Hitler). Using stylized sets, miniatures, back projections, talking-head lectures, tableaux vivants, puppets, and reams of 19th-century German music, these essay films plumb the depths of the German experience and psyche. Syberberg also made the five-hour Winifred Wagner Und Die Geschichte Des Hauses Wahnfried Von 1914-1975 (1975, The Confessions Of Winifred Wagner), exhaustively interviewing Richard Wagner's daughter-in-law, an admirer of Hitler who ran the Bayreuth Festivals from 1930 to 1945. More recently he has made three memorable works showcasing actress Edith Clever: She lip-synched the role of Kundry in Syberberg's dreamlike, four-hours-plus film of the Wagner opera Parsifal (1983); she is the sole person in his six-hour Die Nacht (1985), in which she performs a range of texts about the decline of Western civilization; and she plays Sybille von Bismarck, daughter-in-law of the Iron Chancellor, in another monologue film (although this one is only some 2-1/2 hours long), Ein Traum, Was Sonst? (1990).Writer/director Wim Wenders found a following in the 1970s with his slow, non-dramatic road films of modern alienation: the Peter Handke adaptation Die Angst Des Tormanns Beim Elfmeter (1971, The Goalie's Anxiety At The Penalty Kick); the drama of a young girl on her own, Alice In Den St?dten (1973, Alice In The Cities), the buddy film Im Lauf Der Zeit (1976, Kings Of The Road). A devotee of American cinema, he made the crime film Der Amerikanische Freund (1977, The American Friend) with Dennis Hopper, documented the last days of director Nicholas Ray in Lightning Over Water (1980), and cast writer/director Samuel Fuller in a film about movies, Der Stand Der Dinge (1982, The State Of Things). Wenders found international fame in the '80s with his English-language Paris, Texas (1984), scripted by Sam Shepard, and a tale of angels on Earth, Der Himmel Uber Berlin (1987, Wings Of Desire), co-scripted by Handke. Less succesful have been his recent Bis Ans Ende Der Welt (1991, Until The End Of The World) and In Weiter Ferne So Nah (1993, Faraway So Close). Since collaborating with Schlondorff, Margarethe von Trotta has written and directed the feminist dramas Schwestern, oder Die Balance Des Gluecks (1979, Sisters, or The Balance Of Happiness) and Die Bleierne Zeit (1981, The German Sisters), and the biopic Rosa Luxemburg (1985). Lesbian filmmakers have also found success in recent years: Monika Treut co-wrote and co-directed Verf?hrung: Die Grausame Frau (1985, Seduction: The Cruel Woman) with Elfi Mikesch before soloing with Virgin Machine (1989) and My Father Is Coming (1991); Ulrike Ottinger wrote and directed the imaginative Freak Orlando (1981) and Johanna D'Arc Of Mongolia (1989). Gay men have likewise flourished. Among Rosa von Praunheim's noteworthy efforts are his essay film Nicht Der Homosexuelle Ist Pervers Sondern Die Situation, In Der Er Lebt (1970, It Is Not The Homosexual Who Is Perverse But The Situation In Which He Lives); his documentaries Armee Der Liebenden, oder Aufstand Der Perversen (1979, Army Of Lovers, or Revolt Of The Perverts) and The Transexual Menace (1996); the AIDS-themed Ein Virus Kennt Keine Moral (1986, A Virus Knows No Morals); a biopic of singer Anita Berber, Anita: T?nze Des Lasters (1988, Anita: Dances Of Vice); and a biopic/documentary of transgendered activist Charlotte von Mahlsdorff, Ich Bin Meine Eigene Frau (1993, I Am My Own Woman), adapted from her autobiography. Writer/director/actor Lothar Lambert mixed comedy, drama, gay love, drag, and feminism in numerous films, including Die Hure Und Der Hurensohn (1981, Dirty Daughters) and Drama In Blond (1985). Frank Ripploh starred in and directed two witty accounts of gay life, Taxi Zum Klo (1980) and Taxi Nach Kairo (1988). Werner Schroeter wrote and directed stylized homoerotic films such as Der Rosenkonig (1986, The Rose King). Gay themes also emerged in the tragic love story Die Konsequenz (1977, The Consequence); its writer/director Wolfgang Petersen and star Jurgen Prochnow later scored an international hit with the World War Two drama Das Boot (1981, The Boat). Actress Eva Mattes gave an uncanny impersonation of gay man Rainer Werner Fassbinder in Radu Gabrea's Ein Mann Wie EVA (1984, A Man Like EVA). Bettina Wilhelm looked at androgynous performer Georgette Dee in All Of Me (1990). One of Germany's biggest moneymakers has been the bisexual farce Der Bewegte Mann (1995, Maybe … Maybe Not), written and directed by Sonk? Wortmann. But whether aiming at gay or straight audiences, domestic or foreign, German cinema of the last three decades has renewed the artistic brilliance which had astounded the world from the mid teens to the mid '30s.

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