ISSN: 20509790
First published in 2014
3 issues per volume
Volume 3 Issue 3
Cover Date: September 2016
Berlin: Images of a transformed city
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Authors:  Bastian Heinsohn 
DOI: 10.1386/jucs.3.3.381_1

Berlin,Germany,cities,nostalgia,architecture,Weimar cinema,memory

The question of how to appropriately commemorate a city’s past in the process of urban transformation is a task that is not exclusively reserved for urban planners. In the case of Berlin, it is a particularly complex challenge because of the city’s turbulent history in the twentieth century. This article explores three treatments of a modern urban landscape that incorporates a web of historical layers. Today, Berlin reveals its past in semi-hidden, yet visible, surfaces that Andreas Huyssen aptly considers elements of a palimpsest. The historical layers embody wounds of a scarred city. German filmmakers have reinvented Berlin as a cinematic city that is looking back and forward simultaneously, oftentimes impacting or even anticipating socio-aesthetic trajectories. For Wim Wenders, the city has always been more than a mere setting, or extension, for fictional characters. Wenders’ cityscapes serve as protagonists in their own right, allowing the audience to see the films as unique historical documents of a moment in the history of the city. Finally, Brigitta B. Wagner’s Berlin Replayed: Urban Nostalgia in the Postwall Era (2015) explores the interplay between the built urban environment and virtual versions of Berlin with a focus on feature films from the 1920s to present.
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