Von Trotta's The German Sisters and Petzold's The State I Am In: discursive boundaries in the films of the New German Cinema to the present day

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This article examines two films about the terrorism experienced by West Germany in the 1970s and its legacy. Released in 1981, Von Trotta's The German Sisters supplies the trauma of the unprocessed Nazi past as the motivational core behind the terrorist aberration. Perhaps the most controversial film on the subject to have emerged from the New German Cinema, The German Sisters does, however, look to the utopian potential of the child as a way to break away from the heavy burden of the past. Belonging to the Berlin Cinema, which in turn is part of the emerging Young German Cinema, Petzold's 2001 film The State I Am In opens a line of dialogue with The German Sisters specifically asking what happened to the utopian potential of the child as proposed by von Trotta and reassessing the meaning of Germany's terrorist legacy from the social perspective of the ‘new’ Federal Republic which is no longer wholly consumed by continuities with the Nazi past.

Keywords: Die bleierne Zeit; Die innere Sicherheit; Mythos-RAF; Petzold; Red Army Faction; Von Trotta

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1386/seci.2.2.93/1

Affiliations: University of Leeds.

Publication date: September 1, 2005

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  • Studies in European Cinema provides an outlet for research into any aspect of European cinema and is unique in its interdisciplinary nature, celebrating the rich and diverse cultural heritage across the continent. The journal is distinctive in bringing together a range of European cinemas in one volume and in its positioning of the discussions within a range of contexts - the cultural, historical, textual, and many others.
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