Film series

Cinema Year Zero

Hildegard Knef in Wolfgang Staudte’s “The Murderers Are Among Us” (1946)


Anthology Film Archives

32 Second Avenue
New York, NY 10003


Language: With English subtitles
Price: $12 general admission, $9 students/seniors

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Originally intended to take place in April 2020, as a commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War, this series focuses on the fragile moment between the end of WWII and the solidification of the Cold War, with 1945 as what we might call “Cinema Year Zero.” It examines how cinema was utilized to bear witness to the horrors unleashed by the war, and explores its role in the process of rebuilding a physically and morally devastated world. Much of the cinema of this period displayed a compulsion to document and capture evidence, from newsreels to Italian neorealism to German rubble films and Hollywood thrillers (though the desire to forget was a perhaps equally widespread impulse). Each country touched by the war developed its own ways of coping with what they had endured.

The films in this series touch on some of the central issues left by the war: the guilt and responsibility of the Germans, the revelation of the camps and the Holocaust, displacement, survival in harsh conditions, “the myth of the Americans,” and an attempt to envision what a future world order might look like. The order that emerged out of the rubble was just one of many possible worlds. Exploring the cinema of this period shines a light on how complex and fraught these debates were.

Co-presented with the German Film Office.

Film program:
Wolfgang Staudte, The Murderers Are Among Us (Germany, 1946, 85 min.)
Roberto Rossellini, Germany Year Zero (Italy, 1948, 73 min.)
Jacques Tourneur, Berlin Express (USA, 1948, 87 min.)
Peter Lorre, The Lost One (Germany, 1951, 98 min.)
Jerzy Kawalerowicz, The Real End of the Great War (Poland, 1957, 90 min.)
Crown Film Unit Program
Yasujiro Ozu, Record of a Tenement Gentleman (Japan, 1947, 72 min.)
Aleksandr Dovzhenko & Yuliya Solntseva, Victory in the Ukraine and the Expulsion of the Germans from the Boundaries of the Ukrainian Soviet Earth (Ukraine, 1945, 73 min.)
Emil Weiss, Falkenau, the Impossible (France, 1988, 61 min.)