In the decade and a half since the fall of the Berlin Wall, Germany's celebrated art cinema has retained its vitality. While much of the serious post-unification film production focuses on coming to terms with the national past, the relatively young directors Tom Tykwer and Andreas Dresen stand out in charting a new course. The GDR-trained Dresen focuses his camera on the present problems of the German society, while the West German-born Tykwer has innovatively rethought the art film to reach a larger audience. Reflecting influences from the separate sides of the divided nation they grew up in as well as more surprising ones, Tykwer and Dresen make a fascinating comparison. I focused on their break-through films Lola rennt and Nachtgestalten, as well as later triumpths Der Krieger und die Kaiserin and Halbe Treppe.
In researching my project I watched many films by Tykwer's and Dresen's influences, including Wim Wenders, Jim Jarmusch, Robert Altman, and Krystof Kieslowski, and read articles in both English and German, primarily about German film and Tykwer. Dresen has not been as well studied and I am particularly proud of the section on his work; I was able to read a forthcoming article on Dresen by Laura McGee and interviewed famed screenwriter Wolfgang Kohlhaase, who has recently collaborated with Dresen, on his visit to Bowdoin. Towards the end of the project I was invited to present my research on Nachtgestalten in Professor Cafferty's course on Contested Discourses: Post-unification Film and Culture. The research and writing of such a lengthy paper presented a challenge in organizing ideas and in crafting a sustained argument. However, with the work successfully behind me, I can say it forms an important capstone in my Bowdoin career as a German and English major.
Ted Reinert '05, won a Fulbright scholarship and is spending 2005-06 in Hamburg, teaching English at a gymnasium, reading German novels and watching movies. He is on his way to becoming an expert on contemporary European film.