Volume XXXVIII No. 3
A Finish Worthy of the Start: The Poetics of Age and Masculinity in Clint Eastwood’s Gran Torino.
by Art Redding
With the “graying of America,” contemporary films are delivering diverse and changing representations of age. Clint Eastwood’s recent films rework the” Lear” drama about struggles over inheritance, and can be interpreted as nuanced assessments of the difficult re-invigoration of an imagined America largely acknowledged to be in decline. These films undo and revise standard patriarchal myths in order to confront new economic and social conditions in the 21st century. Eastwood’s aging characters re-inflect the traditional cinematic motifs of self-reliant American masculinity upon which that mythic America depended. In particular, the penultimate scene of Eastwood’s 2008 Gran Torino dramatizes the “renewal” of post-industrial America in mythically satisfying terms by reimagining the vulnerability of the aging male body as potentially empowering.
Art Redding is Professor of English at York university in Toronto, Canada. He is the author of “Haints”: American Ghosts, Millennial Passions and Contemporary Gothic Fiction (Alabama, 2011), Turncoats, Traitors, and Fellow Travelers: Culture and Politics of the Early Cold War (Mississippi, 2008), and Raids on Human Consciousness: Writing, Anarchism, and Violence (South Carolina, 1998).
Postwar Tales of Two Cities: Rubble Films from Berlin and Munich
by Christopher Wickham
The rubble film is the signature product of immediate postwar German cinema. This article examines Wolfgang Staudte’s The Murderers are among Us (1946) and Harald Braun’s Between Yesterday and Tomorrow (1947) in their specific contexts as products of Berlin and Munich. Using criteria derived from the historical north-south cultural divide, the differing conditions of military occupation in the national and Bavarian capitals, and the aesthetic traditions of German literature and painting, the essay demonstrates how the two cities and their particular circumstances inform the essential character of the films.
Christopher Wickham is Professor of German at the University of Texas at San Antonio. His publications include a book on “Heimat” in postwar German culture, edited volumes on German literature and on German cinema and television, and articles on German cinema, poetry, singer-songwriters, regional culture, Bavarian dialect, German explorers and naturalists, and German paintings of Native Americans.