Cinema as a Political Media
How to cite this chapter

Garofalo, Damiano: Images of Germans in Post-war Italian Cinema, in: Klinkhammer, Lutz and Zimmermann, Clemens (Eds.): Cinema as a Political Media: Germany and Italy Compared, 1945–1950s, Heidelberg: Heidelberg University Publishing, 2021 (Online-Schriften des DHI Rom. Neue Reihe – Pubblicazioni online del DHI Roma. Nuova serie, Vol. 5), p. 165-177. https://doi.org/10.17885/heiup.651.c10099

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ISBN 978-3-96822-017-8 (Hardcover)

Published 21.01.2021.


Damiano Garofalo

Images of Germans in Post-war Italian Cinema

This essay aims at tracing the models of representation of the Germans in Italian post-war cinema. Taking into consideration dozens of films produced in Italy between ’40s and ’50s dealing with the memory of Fascism, Second World War, Holocaust and the Resistance, the essay questions the so-called “bad German” memorial paradigm, attempting to underline the persistences or removals of this mythology in Italian films of the period. The aim is to understand what kind of function the Germans and the Nazis assume in these works, if they have a symbolic, memorial and historiographical value, or they are just functional to the cinematic narration. Moreover, the essay discusses whether these characteristics appear differentiated, or they recall the nationalist stereotypes of those years. Analyzing four cases more deeply (“Roma città aperta”, “Anni difficili”, “Achtung! Banditi!”, and “Kapò”), this essay argues how the German characters reveal their characteristic of persecutors in their relationship with the Italian “victims”. As a final accomplishment, this essay inserts these representations into a wider medial and cultural system, trying to understand how these definitions and typologies affect both the local and national public memory.