Germans wary of beating the national drum

BONN - The debate in Germany about protectionism for the European film industry is muted, but some are passionate about it.

Wim Wenders, the leading German film director, was one of seven European film-makers who signed an open letter last month arguing that, if the US were successful in its demands, 'there will be no more European film industry left by the year 2000. The dinosaurs of 1993, that's us: we are facing extinction, and we are merely fighting for survival, our backs against the wall.'

Equally, in the words of a recent polemic in the weekly Die Zeit, it is a question of 'Gatt or Life'. In other words, 'For the European cinema, it will be a lethal blow if the American position on the Gatt negotiations, now entering a crucial phase, is forced through.'

But there is little agreement in Germany about the need to close ranks against big bad Hollywood. Another writer in Die Zeit hit back: 'Above all - and European film-makers like to ignore this point - the Americans simply make films that one can sell, all over the world, whether they are good or bad.'

Many in Germany are wary of defending national cultural achievements. Nikolaus Piper argued, in Die Zeit: 'The concept of 'national' in an interdependent world economy is increasingly anachronistic. But it is even more anachronistic if a cultural identity is defined only in national or Eurocentric terms. The fact that Easy Rider was made in America limits my own identity as little as the fact that The Brothers Karamazov was written in Russia.' He and others argue that the era of satellite television makes any attempt to limit US input on television impossible to police.

Der Spiegel, Germany's most influential current-affairs magazine, was equally sceptical. It refers to a recent advertisement in the German and French press, signed by what Spiegel calls 'the usual suspects'. But it praises the 'supra-national and universal appeal of the Hollywood cinema'.

In Germany, such words are not heretical, partly because, despite figures like Wim Wenders, few Germans would stand by their own film industry as a towering achievement. Indeed, in the words of Der Spiegel: 'The German cinema has never been in such a bad state. Its market share will sink to 6 per cent. And its quality is so modest that no contribution was invited for the competition in Venice. The television studios are filled with game and talk shows.'

German film-makers would no doubt be pleased if the battle on defending the European traditions were won and national film industries continue to be subsidised. But few Germans look set to storm the barricades on behalf of das deutsche Kino. The more Germans feel that they form part of an international family, the happier they are.

(Photograph omitted)

News
John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
News
i100

Other places that have held independence referendums
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding
musicThe singer said 'the last thing I want to do is degrade'
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
news

Arts and Entertainment
Blossoming love: Colin Firth as Stanley and Emma Stone as Sophie, in 'Magic in the Moonlight'
film

Actors star in Woody Allen's 'Magic in the Moonlight'

News
A male driver reverses his Vauxhall Astra from a tow truck
newsThe 'extremely dangerous' attempt to avoid being impounded has been heavily criticised
News
peopleThe Times of India said actress should treat it as a 'compliment'
Arts and Entertainment
Jack Huston is the new Ben-Hur
film

It scooped up an unprecedented 11 Academy Awards when it was first remade in 1959

News
news

Watch this commuter wage a one-man war against the Circle Line
Property
Home body: Badger stays safe indoors
lifeShould we feel guilty about keeping cats inside?
Life and Style
fashion

Olympic diver has made his modelling debut for Adidas

Arts and Entertainment
Maxine Peake plays Hamlet at Manchester's Royal Exchange
theatreReview: Maxine Peake brings emotional ferocity to Shakespeare's starring part
Travel
travel

...and the perfect time to visit them

Sport
Jonas Gutierrez (r) competes with Yaya Toure (l)
football

Newcastle winger reveals he has testicular cancer - and is losing his trademark long hair as a result

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

IT Project Manager (technical, applications, infrastructure)

£55000 - £60000 Per Annum + benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: IT Proj...

SEN Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Birmingham: English teacher required! Warwicksh...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant Birmingham

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Comission: SThree: The SThree group is a world lea...

HR Assistant - Kent - £25,000

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: HR Coordinator - Kent - Up to £25,00...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week