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German Actresses of the 2000s – A Study of Female Representation, Acting and Stardom

von Eicken, Verena (2014) German Actresses of the 2000s – A Study of Female Representation, Acting and Stardom. PhD thesis, University of York.

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Abstract

This thesis centres on four German actresses active from the year 2000: Nina Hoss, Sandra Hüller, Sibel Kekilli and Diane Kruger. These performers have embodied a range of multifaceted female characters, as well as offering insightful representations of ‛Germanness’ at home and abroad. Their films are emblematic of the revival of German cinema in the 2000s, which has seen the proliferation of commercially successful historical dramas and the emergence of the critically lauded Berlin School art film movement. This research seeks to contribute to German film studies by considering the role actresses have played in the context of the resurging German cinema of the new millennium. The four actresses are discussed both in terms of the female representations offered by their films, and as performers and stars. The films of Nina Hoss, Sandra Hüller and Sibel Kekilli explore the particular social, political and cultural circumstances of women in contemporary Germany, such as the ramifications of reunification and a changing economic order, the persistent female inequality in the workplace and the family, and the nationally specific conception of the mother role. Contributing to the study of film acting and performance, analyses of the four actresses’ performances are conducted to demonstrate how they enhance the films. Analysing and comparing the work of actresses from the 1920s until the present day, a German screen acting tradition is identified that is characterised by the actresses’ maintenance of a critical distance to the character they portray: female performers working across different decades share a stilted, non-naturalistic acting style, which imbues their characters with a sense of mastery and counteracts their frequent experience of oppression or objectification. The four performers studied also function as representations of national identity, with Diane Kruger, who acts in French and US films, contributing to the formulation and reflection of national identity both in Germany and abroad. Drawing on the findings of star studies, the media representations of the four actresses are analysed to illustrate how they reflect dominant social discourses about femininity, ethnicity and film stardom in Germany.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of York > Theatre, Film & Television (York)
Depositing User: Miss Verena von Eicken
Date Deposited: 26 Mar 2015 11:28
Last Modified: 01 Oct 2016 00:18
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/8339

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