Since the turn of the twenty-first century, efforts to improve human rights, social equality, and democracy in western Europe have faced growing challenges that range from economic and medical crises to the resurgence of the tribalist far right. Studying western European cinema reveals how filmmakers have been using their art to reflect on the region’s contemporary problems and potentials.
In Conflict and Survival in Contemporary Western European Film, John Alexander Williams and Alexandra Hagen have collected a diverse array of essays that analyze how filmmakers have portrayed forms of strife and endurance in the new century. Divided into three thematic sections—historical conflicts and national identities; migrants, natives, and battles over space; and ethical struggles in everyday life—this book offers case studies of historical context, narrative, and form in a range of significant recent films.
Showcasing such movies as Days of Glory, A War, Code Unknown, The Edge of Heaven, Toni Erdmann, The Great Beauty, and Weekend, this fascinating collection presents contemporary filmmakers as critical citizen-artists who are directly involved in interrogating the past, present, and future of Europe.
John Alexander Williams is professor of modern European and German history at Bradley University. He is the author of Turning to Nature in Germany: Hiking, Nudism, and Conservation, 1900-1940 and the editor of Berlin Since the Wall’s End: Shaping Society and Memory in the German Metropolis since 1989 and Weimar Culture Revisited: Studies in European Culture and History.
Alexandra Hagen is visiting assistant professor at the New College of Florida. Her research interests include twenty-first-century German literature and film as well as second language acquisition. She has edited two volumes of the journal Focus on German Studies. Her work has also appeared in Monatshefte and Die Unterrichtspraxis/Teaching German.
Foreword, Alexandra Hagen and John A. Williams
Part I: Historical Memory and National Identity: Representations of the Violent 20th Century
Part II: Moving to and from Western Europe: Migrants, Their Enemies, and Their Allies
Part III: Personhood: Everyday Lives and Ethical Values