Cinematic ghosts: Reiner Werner Fassbinder and the German cinematic heritage

Talya Alon-Altman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Rainer Werner Fassbinder, one of the New German Cinema’s most prominent directors, included an unusual variety of characters and social classes in his films, in which he presented a critical view of modern Germany. As such, after his death many obituaries perceived him as the chief representative of new Germany. Following that, this article offers a new perspective for viewing Fassbinder’s work: it argues that Fassbinder’s films became the face of ‘New Germany’ not only because they portray a variety of characters and social classes and deal with West Germany’s modern history, but also that they relate to German cinematic heritage. To do so, this article observes Fassbinder’s film Lola (1981) by using a Bloomian discourse; it examines Lola as a ‘misreading’ of von Sternberg’s film Der blaue Engel (1931), a film based on Heinrich Mann’s novel Professor Unrat (1905).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)337-361
Number of pages25
JournalStudies in European Cinema
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • BDR Trilogy
  • Harold Bloom
  • Lola
  • New German Cinema
  • Professor Unrat
  • Rainer Werner Fassbinder
  • The Blue Angel (Der blaue Engel)
  • West Germany


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