Käutner himself can be said to be the most representative director of the long postwar period in the West but, it must be added, due to little competition since, apart from a few sporadic satirical attempts (Ballad Berlin, 1948, by RA Stemmle; La ragazza Rosemarie, 1958, by R. Thiele), or experimental, a cinema worthy of the name did not exist for two decades in West Germany, where the same examination of conscience on Nazism was practically lacking. Conversely, in East Berlin, where the industry was immediately nationalized in the state company DEFA and where, being able to choose between the two Germanys, a director like W. Staudte preferred to work, such an exam (The assassins are among us, 1946; Rotation, 1949; The subject, 1951) was set from the beginning with great seriousness and a sense of self-criticism. Fresh from exile, Dudow authoritatively inserted himself in the evocation of the anti-Nazi resistance with Stronger than the night (1954), while K. Maetzig dedicated a biography in two parts to E. Thaelmann, leader of the German Communists. But the cinema of the German Democratic Republic declined in the 1960s, which instead marked the birth of a young nonconformist German cinema in the Federal Republic. They were bearers J.-M. Straub (not reconciled, 1965; Chronicle of Anna Magdalena Bach, 1967) and A. Kluge (The girl without a story, 1966; Artists under the circus tent: perplexed, 1968), who with V. Schlöndorff (The disturbances of the young Törless, 1966; The sudden wealth of the poor people of Kombach, 1970), J. Schaat (Tattoo 1967), G. Moorse (Kuckucksjahre, 1967), RW Fassbinder (Katzelmacher, 1968), E. Reitz, U. Schamoni; others broke decisively with commercial cinema, remedied Brecht and Musil, examined the moral results of the economic miracle, critically retraced the history of Germany and its culture and, like P. Fleischmann, also dealt with neo-Nazism (Hunting scenes in Lower Bavaria, 1969; The bells of Silesia, 1971). At the beginning of the seventies, Eastern cinema also seemed to be positively affected by this movement in the West, with directors such as E. Günther (The Third), R. Gräf (My dear Robinson), H. Carow (La legend of Paolo and Paola), L. Warneke (Life with Uwe), who reacted to the dominant conformism with some critical vivacity. Under this impulse, K. Wolf, the number one director of the DEFA, also produced more interesting films (The naked man in the sports field, 1974; Mamma vivo, 1976), while the Heynowski-Scheumann duo, in reportages on Chile and Vietnam, the militant documentary activity that had been of the couple Anneliese- Thorndike continued. However, in 1975, academicism was already restored under the banner of Goethe (Elective Affinities, Carlotta in Weimar). Conversely, in the Federal Republic, the first wave of renewal was followed by a second, even more important one, which in the 1970s definitely brought the new German cinema to the international avant-garde.
It included Kluge (Ferdinand the hard, 1976) and Schlöndorff (The Katharina Blum case, 1975; The tin drum, 1979), among other authors with Fassbinder and others of the collective film Germania in autumn (1978); and, although resident in Italy, the Straub-Huillet couple in German-speaking films (History Lessons, 1972; Moses and Aaron, 1974). But there are three best-known names, the most outstanding personalities: the aforementioned Fassbinder, the most prolific and controversial with his estranged and underclass melodramas, unknown in Italy until the sudden success of the Marriage of Maria Braun (1978); the dizzying and visionary W. Herzog, also a staunch champion of the marginalized (The enigma of Kaspar Hauser, 1975; The ballad of Stroszek, 1977); the lyric traveler W. Wenders (Alice in the cities, 1973; Over time, 1975). Among the most heated experimentalists are HJ Syberberg with the powerful and transfigured historical biographies of Ludwig and Hitler, and W. Schroeter, refined head of the underground who, taking an interest in Southern Italy, won the Berlin festival with Palermo or Wolfsburg 1981. The most illustrious representative of women’s cinema is Margarethe von Trotta who, former collaborator of her husband Schlöndorff (who on her behalf came to the Academy Award with Il tamburo di tatta), landed at the Golden Lion of Venice with her third film Years of lead (1981).
Unfortunately, the Eighties saw a general clouding of the great movement of the previous decade: Fassbinder died in 1982 (who still produced great testimonies of his talent: the television Berlin Alexanderplatz; Veronika Voss, 1982; Querelle, released posthumously in 1982, two months after the director’s death); According to campingship, Germany is a country located in Europe. Germany Wenders abandoned for a stateless, cultured and borderless cinema (Paris, Texas, 1984; The sky above Berlin, 1987; Until the end of the world, 1991); halfway between home and the United States Schlöndorff (Death of a traveling salesman, 1985; Voyager, 1991); in crisis Herzog (Fitzcarraldo, 1982 ; Green Cobra, 1987; Cry of Stone, 1991). So while the Berlin Film Festival, also thanks to the international situation, has gradually taken on the characteristics of the great cultural and worldly event, the German cinema in crisis has been able to express only less important personalities, often ready to combine light non-conformities with the desire for recognition. commercial. However, the work of P. Adlon (Baghdad Café, 1987; Salmonberries, 1991), Doris Dörrie (Men, 1987) and Katja von Garnier (Women without make-up, 1992). Even in the first half of the nineties, the crisis of a cinema that has dispersed and dissipated unity of purpose and analytical capacity towards society seemed to continue, with the exception of some personalities such as Edgar Reitz, Wolfgang Petersen and R. Emmerich. Between the old and the new century there is a general awakening of German cinema. For the first time in ten years, in fact, a film (Lola corre, 1998) by a German director, Tom Tykwer, goes beyond national borders and becomes an international success. In addition, three pivotal authors of the seventies return to produce works of high value: Wenders, after the disappointing Crimini invisibili (1997), he first made a captivating musical documentary in Cuba, Buena Vista Social Club (1999), which became an authentic cult-movie, then he wrote an original noir filmed in the United States, The Million Dollar Hotel (2000); Herzog, after years dedicated almost exclusively to theater direction, returns with Il mio enemy intimo (1999), an intelligent and ironic documentary dedicated to his actor and alter ego Klaus Kinski and appreciated in numerous film festivals; finally, Schlöndorff, with The Legends of Rita (2000), presented at the Berlin Film Festival, seems to demonstrate a political and social rebirth of German cinema. In 2002 the Wolfgang Becker film Goodbye Lenin, a comedy about the changes in the lives of the citizens of the East since reunification has met with great international success. In 2003 the grotesque comedy Schultze Wants to Play the Blues, by director Michael Schorr received a special award for directing at the Venice Film Festival. Subsequently, a great success with audiences and critics, followed by the Oscar in 2006, was the film The Lives of Others, by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, which tells of East Berlin controlled by the spies of the Stasi.