Spectral cinema from a phantom state: film aesthetics and the politics of identity in Divided Heaven and Solo Sunny

Austin, Thomas (2016) Spectral cinema from a phantom state: film aesthetics and the politics of identity in Divided Heaven and Solo Sunny. Studies in Eastern European Cinema, 7 (3). pp. 274-286. ISSN 2040-350X

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Abstract

In this essay I draw on close textual analysis to consider the interface between film aesthetics and the politics of identity in Konrad Wolf’s Der geteilte Himmel / Divided Heaven (1964) and Solo Sunny (1979). Both films focus on women who have to confront painful processes of self realisa-tion in specifically East German contexts. They also show Wolf and his collaborators working in two very different modes, from a nouvelle vague-inspired mix of location shooting and self-conscious formal artifice to a more laconic style and mobile camera that borrow from documentary aesthetics. Viewed from the perspective of today, the films resist the reductive stereotyping of what Christa Wolf in 1991 called the 'phantom' East Germany, and offer a more productive haunting. As living ghosts in the post-reunification era, they are a reminder of the necessity of remembering, and so confound both a negative 'master narrative' of the GDR and a collective amnesia with no interest in this history.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Konrad Wolf; DEFA; East Germany; film aesthetics; politics of identity
Schools and Departments: School of Media, Film and Music > Media and Film
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN1993 Motion pictures
Depositing User: Thomas Austin
Date Deposited: 28 Jun 2016 14:46
Last Modified: 22 Mar 2017 03:21
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/61760

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