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For instance, one would be hard pressed to find among German (2006)—these are films for which it is hard, if not impossible, to find a match in German cinema of the last quarter century.

Dominik Graf © dpa – Bildfunk Ultimately, what makes Graf’s filmmaking compelling and unique within his national context is his unabashed affirmation of —as a narrative corset that affords him the chance to tell hard-hitting, uncomfortable stories about Germany precisely because the supra-national conventions of genre compel him to restrain any tendencies he might harbour to superimpose an “artistic” will onto his scripts.

Today these productions, which dealt in often overtly critical ways with what were at the time contemporary issues, are somewhat difficult to watch, but in the 1950s and 1960s they were very popular.

Their set design frequently consisted only of a few chairs, a table, and a sign saying something like “Jerusalem 1938”—a very strange style.

(5) In the end, however, it may be the case that Graf and the Berlin School filmmakers simply approach the same problem from opposite ends: to wit, the problem of figuring out how to use the cinema without giving in to what Herbert Marcuse famously called the “culture of affirmation,” which, in the age of neoliberal dogma, once again seems to have taken hold of the country’s culture industries. When and how did you end up focusing your creative energies on the cinema? (7) Later, my mother more or less quit acting and focused on becoming a writer.

(6) The following interview with Graf, which I conducted in German and subsequently translated into English, took place July 10, 2009 during a break he took from editing at Arri Film & TV Services in Munich, Germany. (8) My father, however, became increasingly famous in West Germany during my childhood, especially because of his roles in what were then truly ambitious television plays.

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And yet, one of the consistent refrains among German film critics is that Graf’s feature-length work for German television amounts to the best of what German film productions have to offer each year.(10) I only developed a real interest in film when I was in my early twenties.That’s when I caught up with François Truffaut’s films, though not necessarily his early ones but, rather, the “Antoine Doinel” films, but especially his , 1971); within a short period of time these films opened for me a whole new cosmos of the cinema.On the last weekend of the 2010 Berlin Film Festival, the International Forum treated viewers to one last highlight (according to many observers it was one of the few the sixtieth anniversary edition of the festival had to offer). The screening was divided into two five-hour-long blocks, one on Saturday, the other on Sunday.The excitement among the attendees was palpable, and at the end of each episode the audience applauded enthusiastically, giving Graf (and his team) a long, passionate standing ovation at the end of the first five hours.

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