The film essays Verfluchte Liebe deutscher Film (2016) and Offene Wunde deutscher Film (2017), coscripted and codirected by Dominik Graf and Johannes F. Sievert, survey the postwar history of genre cinema in the Federal Republic of Germany and take stock of the present situation. Their diagnosis is grim, for in their assessment the state of the nation’s film culture is altogether dire and depleted. Why, they wonder, are German films so unpopular? Why does Germany produce so few compelling genre films, and why do German films in general seem so averse to representing German bodies? In fact, and here is where their key emphasis lies, there have been some (albeit only a few) noteworthy counterexamples of German genre films that are vibrant and full of life, that plumb depths and probe outer limits, that relish excess and abound with sensuality. Graf and Sievert’s two films provide an impassioned intervention in the form of an archaeological excavation. This article considers its argument and examines its rhetoric, especially the way in which it eschews an artistic cinema of authors (Autorenkino) and espouses a more kinetic body cinema of action, affect, and violence.

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