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  • Print publication year: 2013
  • Online publication date: December 2013

Introduction: Toward Generic Histories—Film Genre, Genre Theory, and German Film Studies

  • Edited by Jaimey Fisher, Associate Professor of German and Cinema and Technocultural Studies, and Director of Cinema and Technocultural Studies, at the University of California, Davis.
  • Publisher: Boydell & Brewer
  • pp 1-26


With the death of “Promi-Produzent” Bernd Eichinger in January 2011, many obituary writers, media commentators, and film-industry luminaries, such as Wolfgang Petersen and actor Til Schweiger, took the occasion to revisit the last forty years of German cinema. Eichinger's oeuvre ranges from works now canonized as part of New German Cinema, such as Falsche Bewegung (Wrong Movement, 1975) and HitlerEin Film aus Deutschland (Hitler: A Film From Germany, 1977), to some of the biggest blockbusters of 1990s genre cinema such as Der bewegte Mann (The Moved Man, released in English as Maybemaybe not, 1994) and Ballermann 6 (1997), to the post-2000, globally marketed historical dramas Der Untergang (Downfall, 2004) and Baader Meinhof Komplex (2008). Although Eichinger's star rose more in the later phases of New German Cinema, he worked with New German Cinema luminaries as varied as Wim Wenders, Alexander Kluge, and Doris Dörrie, as well as, more recently, a director who has positioned himself as a second-generation inheritor of that cinema's often provocatively political project, Oskar Roehler. On the other, more mainstream hand, he was the producer of films such as the Berlin-shot Resident Evil series: made in English, based on a video game, and starring a former Ukranian super-model, it is one of the highest-earning film cycles made outside the United States and United Kingdom. Beyond his involvement at the level of the film or film series, Eichinger was also a force at the studio level: he took over Constantin-Film in 1979 and built it into the biggest studio player in German cinema.