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

12 - Yearning for Genre: The Films of Dominik Graf

  • 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 261-284


I think that it does not make much sense to demand, as [Dominik Graf] does, genre cinema in Germany because genre cinema requires existing genres; you cannot artificially make it or revive it as a retro-event… Graf's Sisyphus work is to keep making a film here and there that reminds us of how wonderful streets used to look in cinema, of how great nights used to look, and of how awesome women looked.

—Christian Petzold

I never harbored the hope, as Petzold describes it, to create once again the prototype that would somehow ignite once more an entire industry. But I suppose he is right that… I am in hell, where all those old films roast, and I try to inhale some vitality into them, but this is admittedly a difficult task, since the whole system is one that prevents a particular vitality in films.

—Dominik Graf

When taking stock of German film culture since the demise of its famous Autorenkino, which attracted international attention in the 1970s and reestablished West German cinema as “legitimate,” one could do worse than consider the singular case of Dominik Graf. For over the last thirty years Graf—who is almost completely unknown outside Germany and whose status at home does not nearly approach the level of recognition enjoyed by post-Autorenkino filmmakers such as Wolfgang Petersen, Roland Emmerich, and Doris Dörrie, nor that of the better-known post- Wende directors such as Sönke Wortmann, Tom Tykwer, and Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck—has been one of German film's most productive filmmakers.