Chronicle

Film Seminar
November 1, 2012

A film seminar, entitled "Sports as Denial of War: Back to ‘Normality’", took place on November 1, 2012 at the Center for Urban History Conference Hall. The seminar included the screening of Sönke Wortmann’s The Miracle of Bern (Das Wunder von Bern, Germany, 2003). The series of film seminars was part of the "Sport and the City: People. Society. Ideology" exhibition currently held at the Center.

The Miracle of Bern depicts postwar life in West Germany. A passion for football helps a boy rekindle the joy of living in his father, who had returned from imprisonment in Soviet POW camps.

In Wortmann’s film, football lends itself to two interpretations. Firstly, it is a symbol of return to normal life, used by the author the better to expose the theme of the film. Secondly, this symbolism conveys the reality of the postwar period, when sport really was seen as providing the opportunity to forget the drudgery of daily life, and feel fully alive again. The superimposition of these two symbolic levels allowed the director to unite cinema and history, reality and subjectivity, and to do so with great success. Postwar Europe is frequently seen today through a veil of numerous stereotypes, chief amongst them being the differentiation between the experience of the West and the East. In his way, director Sönke Wortmann convinces us that football can be above – or simply aside from – divisions, politics, and historical cataclysms. 


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