The German film industry is one of the most prolific and successful in the world, and there are many German cinema classics to back this up. Although maybe not as well-known as some Hollywood blockbusters (obviously handicapped by the fact that more people speak English than German), there are many films to come from Germany that are rightfully considered classics, not just with Germany itself, but throughout the world.
Old School Classics
Perhaps one of the most famous German cinema classics is the irrefutable Das Boot (1981). World War 2 is in full flight and a fleet of German submarines are in the Atlantic monitoring and engaging English shipping. The film explores many relevant political and social topics as the crew battle with their conscience and question the ideology of the government they serve.
Metropolis (1927) is a film that, for the time of its release, was seen as a special effects masterpiece. The ground breaking pioneering techniques involved the ‘Schufftan’ process; a method by which mirrors are used to give the impression that the actors are occupying a miniature set. Another complex and technical piece of cinematic genius in this film involved the complicated action of, wait for it, a camera on a swing!
Of the more recent cinema classics, Goodbye Lenin (2003) is a film that enjoyed much international success. It’s 1989, and as the Berlin Wall is on the verge of being demolished, Alex’s Mum falls into a coma. 8 months later and upon emergence from the coma, she has missed some historic news that could endanger her life.
Downfall is another film that has enjoyed success on a world scale. This Oliver Hirschbiegel WW2 belter tells the story of tyrannical Hitler’s final days, holed up in a bunker as his war comes to an end. This is a tense and thought provoking film based on the memories of one of the dictator’s secretaries who was with him in the bunker.
Image: Henry Schmitt – Fotolia