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Tatiana Astafeva

The Uses of Ostalgie in the German Cinema of the 1990-2000s

The project aims to analyze the uses of ostalgie, a term used by scholars to describe
nostalgia for the East, in the German cinema of the 1990-2000s and to expose cinematographic means and aesthetic peculiarities of screening ostalgie in the German Post-Reunification films. From the beginning of the 1990s the German cinema plays an important role in the making of the Post-Wall culture and building a symbolic community of the ‘new Germany’, i.e. anthropological and stylistic models, ideas, forms of cultural activity. The figure of the past, interalia, presented through the prism of nostalgia, allows the German Post-Reunification cinema to highlight a wide range of the incipient problematic issues within the forming community.
Nostalgia – the core of ostalgie – is usually understood as a regressive phenomenon and/or overall quality of the virtual milieu of contemporary media. The objective of the project is to expose specific cinematographic means, which are used to represent ostalgie on the screen. Furthermore, it intends to justify a hypothesis that the German ostalgie cinema of the 1990-2000s reveals, from a more fundamental point of view, an important change in the framework of collective memory. The cultural potential of such films allows to see ostalgie, and broader – nostalgia, as a multifaceted, versatile concept and to emphasize the ability of the German Post-Reunification cinema to produce the positive specificity of nostalgic experience, articulated by the Dutch historian Frank Ankersmit.

Brief biography
Tatiana Astafeva is a stipendiary of the Brandenburg Centre for Media Studies (ZeM) and doctoral candidate at the KONRAD WOLF Film University Babelsberg. She studied practical philosophy and science history at the national research university “Higher School of Economics” in Moscow, Russia. Additionally, she has worked as an academic staff member and as a translator of academic texts. At present, she is conducting research for her doctoral thesis on the use of Ostalgie in German cinema of the 1990s-2000s on both the narrative and aesthetic levels in the context of the culture of memory.

Publications, Reviews

Astafeva,Tatiana: Review zu Andrej Tarkovskij: Klassiker – Классик – Classic – Classico: Beiträge zum internationalen Tarkovskij-Symposium an der Universität Potsdam. Herausgegeben von Norbert P. Franz. In: Apparatus. Film, Media and Digital Cultures in Central and Eastern Europe 6, 2018 (im Erscheinen).


“This Ain’t California: German Ostalgie in the Context of Nostalgic Cinema”. Beim 30. Film- und Fernsehwissenschaftliches Kolloquium (10.03.2017, Hamburg).

Conference attendance

Internationale Konferenz „Geschichte, Erinnerung, Identität: theoretische Gründe und Forschungspraktiken“ / Podiumsdiskussion „Geschichtskultur: von der Exegese zur Identitätsbildung“ (3.-4.10.2016, Moskau).
Das offene Forschungsseminar der Europäischen Universität / Historische Fakultät „Abwesenheit statt Konfrontierung“ (30.09.2016, Sankt-Petersburg).
Workshop „Methodologie und Technologie des akademischen Schreiben“ (National Research University Higher School of Economics Moskau, 14.03.2016).

Other activities

Wissenschaftsetage (WIS) im Bildungsforum Potsdam: Workshop “Critical Reasoning and Logic“ (16.-17.10.2017).
Disputationstraining für Promovierende (Filmuniversität Babelsberg KONRAD WOLF, 20.-21.10.2017).