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Performing the Modern German

Performance and Identity in Contemporary German Cinema

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Matthias Uecker

Since the late 1990s, German cinema has gone through a period of astonishing productivity and success that has made it the focus of scholarly analysis once more. What can contemporary German cinema tell us about current German society and its problems? What are the distinguishing features of filmmaking in Germany today?
This book analyses the representation of individual and collective behaviour in post-unification German cinema. It looks at performances of gender, ethnicity and nationality in a wide range of contemporary German films. Using Performance Theory as a framework, the book discusses how modern German identities are presented as conformist, liberating or subversive responses to external challenges.
Theoretical considerations regarding the efficacy of performance and the dialectical relationship between transgression, resistance and normalization form the background for an analysis that investigates contemporary German films in terms of their function within the restructuring of post-unification German society.

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Contents

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Acknowledgements vii Chapter 1 The Power of Performance 1 Chapter 2 When Is a Man a Man? Performances of Conf licted Masculinity 51 Chapter 3 Jewish Drag: Ritual and Identity in the Performance of Jewishness 93 Chapter 4 East is East? Performative Constructions of East German Lives 119 Chapter 5 Between Otherness and Hyphenation: Turkish-German Performances 163 Chapter 6 Against Normality? Performing Rebellion and Resistance 207 Chapter 7 Perform or Else! Conformism, Achievement and Subversion in the Performance Society 249 vi Conclusion – The Pursuit of Normality: Performed Identities in Current German Cinema 291 Filmography 301 Bibliography 303 Index 317

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