Professor of German Christian Rogowski is editor of the new book The Many Faces of Weimar Cinema: Rediscovering Germany’s Filmic Legacy (Boydell & Brewer). Published on June 15, 2010, the book presents up-to-date perspectives on German filmmaking from the years of the Weimar Republic (1919-1933).
Traditionally, Weimar cinema has been viewed reductively—equated with only a limited number of canonical films (for example, Robert Wiene’s The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and F.W. Murnau’s Nosferatu), several auteurist filmmakers and the expressionist film style. But in recent decades, researchers have uncovered a wealth of source material that shows Weimar cinema to be richer and more diverse than typically thought. The new book’s 18 contributors, including Rogowski himself, highlight lesser-known directors and producers, popular genres, nonfiction film and experiments in the artistic avant-garde. “The essays collected in the volume seek to redress the neglect such genre films have suffered,” he says. “Few have survived; even fewer are available outside archives, with English subtitles, for an international audience.” The essays also discuss Weimar films in terms of broader issues such as gender and sexuality; national identity and transnational collaboration; filmmaking technologies, including the introduction of sound to films; and connections with other media and art forms.