Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 2004
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Germanics, University of Washington
Intimate Co-Production: The Czech Component of German cinema, 1918-1945

My project deals with issues of nation, identity and cinema in Germany and Czechoslovakia during the 1920s and 30s. I will focus specifically on the Czech contributions to and reactions to German cinema. By specifically focusing on Czech-German relations, my project will provide insight into aspects of German cinema that have been largely ignored thus far. My project also aims to challenge the very notion of national cinema, both German and Czech, during this time-period. I hope to demonstrate that "German cinema" during this period is comprised of much more than simply the films made by Germans for audiences in Germany. My research will focus on three main areas: the economical and political domination of Germany over Czech cinema, the Czech filmmakers who lived and worked in Germany making German films, and the curious role of German-language films produced in Czechoslovakia by Czechs. A major point of concern, especially with regards to this final area, is the position of German-speaking minority communities in Czechoslovakia during this time. In varying ways, both the Sudeten German and the Prague German-Jewish communities occupied a precarious position between Czech and German identity. Therefore, a specific analysis of the film culture within these groups will get right to the heart of the issues that my project addresses. The majority of the research for this project will involve visits to film archives and libraries in Berlin and Prague. I will view the German-Czech film versions, as well as films made in Germany by Czechs and German films marketed to Czech markets. I will also examine materials related to the production, distribution and reception of these films with a special eye towards the role of German groups in Czechoslovakia.