Skip to content

Cultural Diplomacy via Movies and TV Series?

The 12th annual "Berlin & Beyond" seven-day cinema celebration of films from Germany, Austria and Switzerland starts in San Francisco, writes the SF Chronicle:
German-language films are more popular than ever in the United States, says Ingrid Eggers, Berlin & Beyond's program director and co-founder, who has watched the festival's audience grow from several hundred to more than 10,000. She cites recent U.S.-distributed Deutsch hits such as "Downfall" [,], "Run Lola Run" [,], "The Edukators" [,], and the Oscar-winning "Nowhere in Africa" [,] as reasons for the rise in popularity.
Is that true? Are German films indeed increasingly popular in the US? What would that mean for transatlantic relations on a cultural level? The Karnick blog noticed that American TV series are very popular in Europe and opined that "the reports of an increasingly tense relationship between the United States and Europe may be a bit exaggerated." How can we assess the cultural (or any political?) influence of CSI, 24, Lost, The Simpsons, South Park, Desperate Housewives, ER, Grey's Anatomy and many other American TV series and movies, which are watched by millions of Germans every day?
The San Francisco Chronicle continues to describe the program of the festival and also asks whether you have ever heard of "The Monks"?:
They were a group of five American GIs stationed in Germany during the 1960s who started out playing Chuck Berry covers and ended up becoming one of the first bands to mix pop music with offbeat art. They shaved the tops of their heads and dressed up like monks, and considered themselves to be the anti-Beatles. "The Transatlantic Feedback" captures a reunion of the influential group as the members reunite for the first time in more than 30 years. It screens at 3 p.m. Jan. 17 at the Castro.


No Trackbacks


Display comments as Linear | Threaded

Pat Patterson on :

Instead of flying to one of the most beautiful and dirty cities in the world try YouTube. They have at least four videos from the 60's showing The Monks. Of course of various quality.

David on :

Yes, German cinema is popular among so-called "Cultural Creatives" in America. I saw "Downfall" and "Head On" (Gegen die Wand) in NY City in packed theaters. "Head On" made the list of several film critics as one of the 10 Best Films of 2005. "Downfall" was nominated for an Acadamy Award. Unfortunately, outside of major cities or college towns, these films were generally not seen by many Americans. What does that mean for transatlantic relations? Not much, except that Berlin's prestige as a cultural center is enhanced. If you follow Richard Florida's study on [url=] The Rise of the Creative Class[/url], "Cultural Creatives" are more interested in innovation in film, art, technology, etc. than in improving transatlantic relations.

Anonymous on :

Watching "24" increases support for torture. Jack Bauer is very convincing.

Pat Patterson on :

So the 16.9 million Americans that watched the World Cup Final in 2006 means that soccer is hugely popular in the US? Unless of course the other 283 million of that didn't watch and replayed 24 to learn how to torture?

joe on :

Ten thousand people show up for this event. Metro San Francisco has almost 8 million people and California about 37 million. Does attendance at this level make this a successful event? As to the popularity of German films in the US, it would be helpful to have a start point and some data to support the statement by Ingrid Eggers. I am sure Jorg can provide a link for this. .

Add Comment

E-Mail addresses will not be displayed and will only be used for E-Mail notifications.

To prevent automated Bots from commentspamming, please enter the string you see in the image below in the appropriate input box. Your comment will only be submitted if the strings match. Please ensure that your browser supports and accepts cookies, or your comment cannot be verified correctly.

Form options