The focus of the project is the use of Ostalgie, i.e. the nostalgia for the GDR, in German films of the 1990s and 2000s. The cinematic and aesthetic peculiarities of the portrayal(s) of Ostalgie in the films after reunification are to be examined and compared with one another. The aim of the work is to show that the cinema of the 1990s and 2000s ushered in a change in the formation of a collective memory.
Since the 1990s, German cinema has played an outstanding role in the creation of a symbolic community, a “new Germany”, for example in the form of anthropological and stylistic models or ideas as well as cultural activities. The portrayal of the past, which is shown, among other things, in the form of nostalgia in the films after reunification, makes it possible to show a number of initial problems in the formation of this new society. Nostalgia forms the core of Ostalgie and is often understood as a retreating phenomenon and / or as a property of a virtual space in today’s media. The cultural potential of such films allows Ostalgie – and more broadly – nostalgia to be understood as a versatile and multi-faceted concept to produce a positive nostalgic experience in the films, as the Dutch historian Frank Ankersmit puts it.
Tatiana Astafeva was a ZeM scholarship holder and is a doctoral candidate at the Film University Babelsberg Konrad Wolf. She studied practical philosophy and history of science at the National Research University “Higher School of Economics” in Moscow, Russia. She has also worked as a research assistant and translator of academic texts. She is currently researching her doctoral thesis on the “Uses of Ostalgie in German cinema in the 1990-2000s” on a narrative and aesthetic level in the context of the culture of remembrance.
Review of Andrej Tarkovskij: Klassiker – Классик – Classic – Classico: Beiträge zum internationalen Tarkovskij-Symposium an der Universität Potsdam. Edited by Norbert P. Franz. In: Apparatus. Film, Media and Digital Cultures in Central and Eastern Europe 6, 2018.
“This Ain’t California: German Ostalgie in the Context of Nostalgic Cinema”. Lecture at the 30th Film- und Fernsehwissenschaftliches Kolloquium (10.03.2017, Hamburg).