Florian Illies's best seller Generation Golf: Eine Inspektion briefly alludes to the 1997 film Winterschläfer, underscoring its young leads' affinities with his own apolitical generation. Though Illies at most chides his contemporaries for their smugly integrated selfhood, the film's director, Tom Tykwer, clinically atomizes his own characters' phlegmatic tendencies and reveals a morose and immobilized German identity. Filmic allusions to Wim Wenders's films from the 1970s and Steven Spielberg's Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) contextualize Tykwer's characters across a larger historical and filmic backdrop, while highly mobile camera work implicitly challenges and critiques otherwise static lives. Both Wenders's presence in Winterschläfer and the Spaßgesellschaft as late-1990s backdrop to the film prompt comparisons between conceptions of self during the 1970s, particularly in New Subjectivity texts and in contemporary pop novels. If Tykwer identifies the shortcomings of German selfhood across seemingly antithetical epochs, he also sketches the contours of a Heimat-inflected but hybrid identity.
Margaret McCarthy; Somnolent Selfhood: Winterschläfer and Generation Golf. New German Critique 1 February 2010; 37 (1 (109)): 53–74. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/0094033X-2009-017
Download citation file: