Studying German Cinema (paperback) – Maggie Hoffgen

256pp   £18.99   ISBN: 978-1-906733-00-1   2009

Of all European film industries, that of Germany has the most dramatic history and, arguably, has had most impact on the art form. From the early days of cinema when Germany’s film-makers led the world in their artistry and innovation, to the emergence in 1970s West Germany of a generation determined to confront the country’s traumas, the story of German cinema is one that reflects the narrative of the nation itself, both through the twentieth century and now, with a new generation of post-Berlin Wall film-makers, beyond.

Taking a text-led, chronological approach, Studying German Cinema is directed at non-specialists such as students of German, Film Studies, and the general reader with an interest in German cinema seeking a useful primer to the subject. Following an introduction, each of the 14 chapters focuses on one key film – from the ground-breaking horror Nosferatu to the Oscar-winning Das Leben der Anderen  (The Lives of Others) – and puts it into its relevant contexts. Depending on the individual film, these include exploration of industrial practices both in West and East Germany; aesthetic approaches; auteurist traditions (including films by Fassbinder, Wenders and Herzog); and ideology. Each film is embedded in its cultural and political context. Together, the historical discussions provide an overview of German history from the end of World War I to the present. Useful suggestions are made as to studies of related films, both those discussed within the book and outside, making Studying German Cinema the complete introduction to one of the most fascinating and turbulent of national cinemas.


Maggie Hoffgen completed her teaching degree at Heidelberg, Germany, and holds an MA in Cultural Studies with a focus on Film Studies from Manchester University. She  works as a freelance film lecturer with young people and adults, leading courses on film analysis in general and on German cinema in particular, and writing articles and study guides in those areas.



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