Germany

Polizeiruf 110 – The East German Tatort?

Polizeiruf

By Annika Breinig, with thanks to Daniel Magennis

When watching Polizeiruf 110 today, audiences could easily mix it up with the West German Tatort.

These series are broadcast at the same time and on the same channel. They share similar approaches to narrative structure and production, and concentrate on the same themes and motives. There are few signs indicating that this show is the only survivor of German Democratic Republic television, with beloved children’s program Sandmännchen another example.  Although at the beginning the series was meant to be a GDR equivalent of the West German Tatort, it distinguished itself from its model in many ways, not the least of which was its treatment of political issues. Continue reading

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A German “Série Noire”

Fatale

The iconic Série Noire, created in Paris in the summer of 1945,  by  surrealist Marcel Duhamel in order to publish American hardboiled authors, celebrates this year its 70th Birthday.  This is an occasion to look at the influence it had abroad, and beyond America, where it helped defining the noir genre. Continue reading

Red Crime in Germany

rotgunn

One of the most iconic of German Crime Fiction series is Goldmann Taschen-Krimis. It was created as a pocketbooks series in 1952. In this format,  together  with new titles it republished many  books, which had  previously been published by Goldmann before the War, such as  Christie’s Das Geiheimnis von Sittaford.  The Goldmann pocket books used to cost  less than 2 Deutsche Mark  (1,90) until 1960. The price was then set at 2 DM Continue reading

Internationalisation and Criminalisation in Germany : The Goldmann’s Roman-Bibliothek

Goldmann 35

Leipzig publisher Wilhelm Goldmann started in 1935  the series “Goldmanns Roman-Bibliothek”.  Agatha Christie was published there from  1935 : Nikotin (1935), Ein Schritt ins Leere (1935).  More than its more ancient competitor the Gelbe Reihe (Ullstein), this series shows the  increasing importance of translations, alongside German original editions. Going hand in hand  with this process of internationalisation, the series shows a progressive focalisation on Crime Fiction, and a tendency towards a replacement of  adventure novels with Crime novels.

Goldmann Continue reading

Tatort – The Flagship of German crime series

Tatort

By Annika Breinig

When asking Germans about their favourite television crime series, the answer will most likely be “Tatort, natürlich”. Every Sunday evening up to 12 million Germans (almost 14% of population) are watching Tatort at home, with friends or in bars, where the TV usually is used to show football matches. In a country excessively rich in crime fiction, this consensus seems surprising. Explaining to people from outside of Germany what makes Tatort so unique and favourable to the audience is difficult, since the series has a long tradition and a cult status, which even fans are not able to reconstruct.

00-Tatort-00

The first Tatort “Taxi nach Leipzig” aired in 1970. Down to the present day, more than 900 episodes of the series and its East German equivalent Polizeiruf 110, have been produced and broadcasted in Germany, Austria and Switzerland Continue reading

Deutschland: Krimiland – The crime fiction landscape in German television

 Schuld

By Annika Breinig

Germany’s television programme is overwhelmingly saturated with crime series. From the afternoon till the late night hours, a lavish bouquet of criminal stories is offered to the audience. Obviously, there are crime series from the United States, such as CSI or Navy CIS, running at prime-time and enjoying a broad fan-base. Further there are European productions, such as Sherlock from the UK, the Swedish Wallander or The Killing from Denmark, which attract a solid audience. And last but not least, there are numerous domestic productions, which range between high quality thrillers and trivial every-day crime stories. Regarding those German productions, some recent trends emerge Continue reading

Berlinale 2015 showcases international crime dramas and thrillers from Germany, Israel, Denmark, Sweden and Italy

Mrs. Peabody Investigates

The 2015 Berlinale – one of the world’s top international film festivals – closes today in Berlin. As ever, a host of wonderful films have been shown during the packed ten-day programme, with the Iranian film Taxi, directed by dissident filmmaker Jafar Panahi, awarded the coveted Golden Bear.

While reading coverage of the festival, I was interested to see that some international TV dramas were premiered as part of the programme, and that a number of these had a pronounced crime/thriller/spying dimension. Alessandra Stanley’s excellent article in the New York Times provides a good overview, and also discusses how such series are beginning to be picked up in the States (and not always to be remade in English either), which is a very good sign.

Here are a few of the series in question:

Deutschland 83. There’s quite a lot of buzz about this spying drama in Germany and beyond, and it has now also been picked…

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