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Finding Home in a Liminal Space: Exile and Return in Andreas Dresen’s Halbe Treppe


In his film Halbe Treppe, Andreas Dresen uses stylistic elements and modes of production similar to exilic filmmakers, as described by Naficy in his book An Accented Cinema, in an attempt to portray both a sense of exile and a desire for freedom in his characters. Since exile is inextricably bound-up in questions of both homeland and identity, the film invites comparison not only to exilic cinema but also to certain aspects of New German Cinema, particularly issues of German identity that many critics argue have been too often ignored by other young German filmmakers. By emphasizing the importance of Frankfurt/Oder as the setting for his characters’ experience of exile, Dresen creates a connection between identity and “place” that encourages the spectator to reflect upon the traditional notion of “Heimat” and how it might be re-imagined in a new multicultural, unified Germany.

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