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The European Journal of Communication Research

Ed. by Averbeck-Lietz, Stefanie / d'Haenens, Leen

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Volume 44, Issue 3


Babylon Berlin: Pastiching Weimar cinema

Sara F. Hall
  • Corresponding author
  • The University of Illinois at Chicago Department of Germanic Studies College of Liberal Arts and Sciences USA Chicago USA
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Published Online: 2019-08-24 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/commun-2019-2061


Centered on Richard Dyer’s model of pastiche, this essay posits that the German television series Babylon Berlin engages in a unique and timely practice of cultural reproduction shaped by a specific combination of historical subject matter and the present media-historical moment. Through digital effects, narrational layering, and multivalent location choices, Babylon Berlin pastiches Weimar cinema, and self-consciously invites comparisons between the so-called golden age of German cinema and the present. It activates cinephilic recall, establishes an intermedial dialogue between analog and digital forms, and affectively engenders a historically oriented conversation about the fragility of modern democracy in the Brexit/Trump era. The cultural work of pastiche it performs warrants the series’ inclusion in the conversation around the European remake.

Keywords: Weimar cinema; Babylon Berlin; remake; digital effects; democracy; pastiche


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About the article

Published Online: 2019-08-24

Published in Print: 2019-09-25

Citation Information: Communications, Volume 44, Issue 3, Pages 304–322, ISSN (Online) 1613-4087, ISSN (Print) 0341-2059, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/commun-2019-2061.

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