Advertisement

German Film Comedy in the ‘Berlin Republic’: Wildly Successful and a Lot Funnier than You Think

  • Jill E. TwarkEmail author
Chapter
  • 34 Downloads

Abstract

Comedy is currently the most successful domestic film genre in Germany, and twenty-first-century German film comedies display diverse topics and approaches. Twark discusses several major German comedy trends, interpreting the directors’ depiction of contemporary social problems and German history in their films. Many recent German comedies portray the effects of German reunification and the socialist East German past with Ostalgie. Others parody Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich with ‘Hitler humour’. Transcultural comedies made by Turkish German directors and other immigrants and their offspring explore cultural clashes between various groups. Contemporary film comedies focusing on present-day Germany frequently reference past historical events and figures. Taking as her central case study Suck Me Shakespeer (Bora Dağtekin 2013), Twark reflects on these major developments in German comedy and considers why it has become so popular in the past few decades.

References

  1. Barraclough, Leo. 2017. German Blockbuster Comedy ‘Fack Ju Goehte 3’ Picked Up by Picture Tree. Variety, 9 November. https://variety.com/2017/film/news/fack-ju-goehte-3-picture-tree-1202610004/. Accessed 4 December 2019.
  2. Berghahn, Daniela. 2012. My Big Fat Turkish Wedding: From Culture Clash to Romcom. In Turkish German Cinema in the New Millennium: Sites, Sounds, and Screens, ed. Sabine Hake and Barbara Mennel, 19–31. New York and Oxford: Berghahn.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Blankenship, Robert, and Jill E. Twark. 2017. Berliner Sonderschule: History, Space, and Humour in Jan Ole Gerster’s Oh Boy (A Coffee in Berlin). Seminar: A Journal of Germanic Studies 53 (4): 362–381.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Borra, Adriana, and Ruth Mader-Koltay. 2006. German Through Film. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Brockmann, Stephen. 2000. The Politics of German Comedy. German Studies Review 23 (1): 33–51.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. ———. 2010. A Critical History of German Film. Rochester: Camden House.Google Scholar
  7. Busche, Andreas. 2015. Heil. [Review]. kinofenster.de, 7 July. https://www.kinofenster.de/filme/archiv-film-des-monats/kf1507/kf1507-heil-film/. Accessed 4 December 2019.
  8. Dale, Alan. 2000. Comedy is a Man in Trouble: Slapstick in American Movies. Minneapolis and London: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  9. Ewen, E.R. 2001. Hobbes on Laughter. The Philosophical Quarterly 51 (202): 29–40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Filmportal.de. 2019. “What You Looking At?” The Comedy of Immigration: The Foreigner as Laughing Stock and Walking Cliché. https://www.filmportal.de/en/topic/what-you-looking-at-the-comedy-of-immigration-the-foreigner-as-laughing-stock-and-walking. Accessed 4 December 2019.
  11. Germany Movie Index. 2020. The Numbers. https://www.the-numbers.com/Germany/movies#tab=year. Accessed 4 December 2019.
  12. Göttsche, Florian. 2018. Bevölkerung mit Migrationshintergrund. Datenreport 2018. Ein Sozialbericht für die Bundesrepublik Deutschland. Statistisches Bundesamt, 28–42.Google Scholar
  13. Holmes, Seth M., and Heide Castañeda. 2016. Representing the ‘European Refugee Crisis’ in Germany and Beyond: Deservingness and Difference, Life and Death. American Ethnologist 42 (1): 12–24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Kaminer, Wladimir. 2002. Russian Disco: Tales of Everyday Lunacy in the Streets of Berlin. Trans. Michael Huise. London: Ebury.Google Scholar
  15. Kant, Immanuel. 2000. The Critique of Judgement. Trans. James Creed Meredith. Infomotions/ProQuest EBook (orig. 1790).Google Scholar
  16. Kutch, Lynn. 2011. The Comic Book Humor of Leander Haußmann’s Sonnenallee. In Strategies of Humor in Post-Unification German Literature, Film, and Other Media, ed. Jill E. Twark, 202–223. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars.Google Scholar
  17. Lenné Jones, Susanne. 2011. Who’s Laughing at Whom?: Jewish Humor in Dani Levy’s Alles auf Zucker! In Strategies of Humor in Post-Unification German Literature, Film, and Other Media, ed. Jill E. Twark, 53–75. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars.Google Scholar
  18. Markham, James. 1986. Behind ‘Men’ Stands a Woman with a Sense of Humor. The New York Times, 27 July, 19, 25. https://timesmachine.nytimes.com/timesmachine/1986/07/27/issue.html. Accessed 4 December 2019.
  19. Mittman, Elizabeth. 2003. Fantasizing Integration and Escape in the Post-Wende Road Movie. In Light Motives: German Popular Cinema in Perspective, ed. Randall Halle and Margaret McCarthy, 326–348. Detroit: Wayne State University Press.Google Scholar
  20. Morreall, John. 2016. Philosophy of Humor. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/humor/. Accessed 4 December 2019.
  21. Niven, Bill. 2001. Facing the Nazi Past: United Germany and the Legacy of the Third Reich. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  22. Orich, Annika, and Florentine Strzelczyk. 2011. ‘Steppende Nazis mit Bildungsauftrag’: Marketing Hitler Humor in Post-Unification Germany. In Strategies of Humor in Post-Unification German Literature, Film, and Other Media, ed. Jill E. Twark, 294–330. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars.Google Scholar
  23. Reimer, Robert C., and Reinhard Zachau. 2005. German Culture Through Film: An Introduction to German Cinema. Newburyport, MA: Focus.Google Scholar
  24. Rentschler, Eric. 2000. From New German Cinema to the Post-Wall Cinema of Consensus. In Cinema and Nation, ed. Mette Hjort and Scott Mackenzie, 260–277. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  25. Richardson, Kartina. 2012. Tim and Eric’s Comedy of Repulsion. In Their New Movie, the Cult Comics Push the Limits of Human Vulnerability – and Generate Laughs from Nerves. [Review]. Salon, 17 February. http://www.salon.com/2012/02/17/tim_and_erics_comedy_of_revulsion/. Accessed 4 December 2019.
  26. Rosenfeld, Gavriel D. 2015. Hi Hitler: How the Nazi Past Is Being Normalized in Contemporary Culture. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  27. Roxborough, Scott. 2018. KINO Favorites: Top 10 German Comedies. [Review]. Deutsche Welle. 23 October. https://www.dw.com/en/kino-favorites-top-10-german-comedies/a-19137820.
  28. Schopenhauer, Arthur. 2010. The World as Will and Representation. Trans. Judith Norman et al. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  29. Schröder, Christoph. 2017. Adieu, Anarchie. Review of Suck Me Shakespeer 3. [Review]. Zeit Online, 25 October. https://www.zeit.de/kultur/film/2017-10/fack-ju-goehte-3-film-elyas-m-barek?page=2#comments. Accessed 4 December 2019.
  30. Silverstein, Melissa. 2017. Maren Ade and Sandra Hüller Discuss Nudity and Feminism in Oscar Favorite ‘Toni Erdmann.’ Women and Hollywood. 13 January. https://womenandhollywood.com/maren-ade-and-sandra-h%C3%BCller-discuss-nudity-and-feminism-in-oscar-favorite-toni-erdmann-c5abfa0bce3a/. Accessed 4 December 2019.
  31. Troupin, Orit Yushinsky. 2018. Fantasy and Its Suspension in an Age of Awkwardness: Timur Vermes’s Look Who’s Back. Arcadia 53 (1): 105–126.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Wartenberg, Thomas E. 1999. Unlikely Couples: Movie Romance as Social Criticism. Boulder, CO: Westview.Google Scholar
  33. Zachau, Reinhard, Jeanne Schueller, and Carrie Collenberg-Gonzalez. 2014. Cineplex: Intermediate German Language and Culture Through Film. Indianapolis, IN; Cambridge, MA: Focus.Google Scholar
  34. Zander, Peter. 2009. Genuss mit Ironie – Fatih Akins ‘Soul Kitchen.’ [Review]. welt.de, 10 September. https://www.welt.de/kultur/article4506128/Genuss-mit-Ironie-Fatih-Akins-Soul-Kitchen.html. Accessed 4 December 2019.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Foreign Languages and LiteraturesEast Carolina UniversityGreenvilleUSA

Personalised recommendations