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Hansjürgen Pohland's Tobby (1961/62): Jazz, cinéma-vérité and the beginnings of Young German Cinema

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Abstract:

This article analyses the historical significance of the lesser-known German film Tobby (1961/62), a semi-documentary portrait of the Berlin jazz singer and percussionist Toby Fichelscher. Tobby focuses on Fichelscher's grappling with a tempting offer from the commercial music industry to go on tour playing Schlager (popular) music. It was the first feature film to be made by Hansjürgen Pohland, one of the signatories to the Oberhausen Manifesto of 1962, which is regarded as the founding moment of the Young, and later the New, German Cinema. The article explores how Pohland, an ardent jazz enthusiast, attempted to use a cinéma-vérité style, which itself shares much with the aesthetic principles and ideology of jazz, to create a new type of cinema taking leave from the established commercial Papas Kino (‘father's cinema’) of the 1950s.

Keywords: New German Cinema; Young German Cinema; cinéma-vérité; intermedia; jazz; soundtrack

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1386/seci.7.3.193_1

Publication date: December 1, 2010

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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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