Rebecca Bauman, “Cinema and Aesthetics in the Years of Lead: The Fascist-Themed Film in Italy and West Germany”

Abstract: This contribution examines the parallels between films made in Italy and West Germany during the 1970s that thematically engage with the history of fascism. In observing the overlaps between Italian and West German films such as Amarcord, The Tin Drum, Love and Anarchy, Lili Marleen, A Special Day, and Germany, Pale Mother, we see how Italian and German filmmakers chose to simultaneously combine the radical practices of the French New Wave while embracing conventional techniques of classical Hollywood. This hybrid mixture of styles was an essential component for films dealing with Fascism, in which issues of memory, interpretation of the past, and problems of national identity were of the utmost importance. This article posits that Italian filmmakers helped to articulate a new formal and thematic approach to reading the national past in a way that would profoundly influence not only the German articulation of Nazism but the understanding of the connections between memory, Fascism, and cinema.
Key Words: Italian cinema, West German cinema, memory studies, Fascism, Nazism, aesthetics.