The horror of the Nazi past in the reunification present
Jörg Buttgereit’s Nekromantiks
in The wounds of nations
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This chapter explores two recent works of experimental, historically grounded and hence political German films that effectively encapsulate the conceptual and critical agenda. They are Jörg Buttgereit's Nekromantik and Nekromantik 2. These films are not only more thematically complex and technically sophisticated than is popularly supposed, but they also share a set of artistic and ideological concerns more usually associated with the canonic auteurs of the Young German Cinema and the New German Cinema of the turbulent years of the 1960s and 1970s. In both Nekromantik films then, Buttgereit was keen to expose the highly manipulative nature of the film medium—specifically in the second film's depiction of heterosexual pornography and the first's re-creation of the slasher horror genre. Buttgereit not only produced stylistically inventive and conceptually sophisticated works of modern horror cinema but also offered a new model of German subjectivity for a post-reunification age. It is a considerable achievement for one whose films have been widely banned, critically neglected and commonly viewed as low-budget shockers of little artistic and intellectual merit. Such attitudes, needless to say, are entirely predictable responses from a still wounded, still traumatised national culture unable yet to engage with Buttgereit's unflinchingly radical stance.

The wounds of nations

Horror cinema, historical trauma and national identity

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