Post-trauma, post-queer: The Hitlerian imago and New German Cinema

Raya Morag*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


An exploration of the concept of post-queer through reinterpreting New German Cinema (NGC) as post-traumatic cinema processing the trauma of the defeat of the Third Reich, reveals the singular complexity of the conflict between the corpus and Nazi Germany's past. An intricate process associated with (post)queerness and masculinity takes place in the transfer between generations in NGC. At one end of the axis is the convoluted body, genderlessness and non-queer a-sexuality of Kaspar, the protagonist of Herzog's The Mystery of Kaspar Hauser; on the other is the ruptured body and anti-queer transsexuality of Elvira in Fassbinder's In a Year of Thirteen Moons. A re-reading of paradigmatic psychoanalytic studies pertaining to Hitler's image that analyzes it as a queer imago, and a close reading of these two paradigmatic filming embodiments, will shed new light on the entire corpus. In this paper, I contend that NGC acknowledges the trauma of the defeat and at the same time subverts fascist-Nazi aesthetics and ideology. Thus, un-queering the Hitlerian imago becomes the morally preferred subject position of the defeated perpetrator.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)472-492
Number of pages21
JournalNew Review of Film and Television Studies
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2011


  • Hitlerian imago
  • New German Cinema
  • post-queer
  • post-trauma


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