The lecture on Berlin and Paris discusses films that depict the two respective cities in their own right and in relation to each other. Berlin as a city functioned in national and global contexts. While the Nazi regime imagined a highly nationalist state with its central capital envisioned as “Germania,” its anti-Semitic and anti-communist politics led many urban designers, filmmakers, and architects to flee Germany and influence a global imaginary of modernist art and architecture. After WW II, labor migration, particularly from Turkey, defined ethnic neighborhoods, which made into a new wave of Berlin films in the 1990s, when the children of the so-called labor migrants from the 1960s began making films. Similarly, Paris functioned as a national capital and as global imaginary, as a site of tourism and migration. When the French New Wave in the late 1950s made use of light-weight cameras and moved into the street for on-location shooting, they claimed the city film with an emphasis on movement through the city by making use of the Haussmannian avenues. Whereas in Berlin migrants settled in formerly left-wing neighborhoods closer to East Berlin, in Paris many of the migrants moved to the so-called banlieues outside of the city center. German and French migrant cinema depict primarily young and male characters in ethnic enclave who engage in subcultural practices. The films reflect the global circulation of marginal culture, such as hip hop, breakdancing, and parkour, but also show the limited mobility in a circumscribed space.
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