Trümmerfilm (English: Rubble film) was an aesthetic choice for those films made directly after World War II dealing with the impact of the battles in the countries at the center of the war. The style was mostly used by filmmakers in the rebuilding film industries of Eastern Europe, Italy and the former Nazi Germany. The style is characterized by its use of location exteriors among the "rubble" of bombed-down cities to bring the gritty, depressing reality of the lives of the civilian survivors in those early years.[1]

Notable films

The following are notable Trümmerfilm:

A Foreign Affair (1948), The Search (1948) and The Third Man (1949) are examples of Hollywood films of the same period with European directors which made innovative use of location shooting of German and Austrian rubble.[2]

Topics of the Rubble film

  • Problems of returning soldiers.
  • The poverty, suffering and distress in post-war Germany.
  • Stunde Null.
  • Confrontation with the past, particularly with issues of collective guilt.
  • Crime and punishment.
  • War damage and war losses.
  • Life among the rubble.
  • Reconstruction

The rubble aesthetic

The desolation left as a consequence of the bombing that Germany endured before the end of World War II left the major German cities in shambles. However, unlike other cities, Berlin's structures had steel frames. This enabled many of them to remain standing, despite the bombings. This left jagged figures on the landscape, as well as a lot of rubble on the ground. Often, directors would have either horizontal or vertical shots of the rubble from a low angle.[3] The Murderers Are Among Us begins with a ground shot facing upwards showing a Berlin street, complete with piles of rubble, and destroyed buildings. The viewer sees several children running around, and the protagonist ambling up the street. The viewer also sees German citizens working together to clean up, and getting on with their lives, despite the devastation. Critics have observed similarities between the rubble film aesthetic and Weimar era Expressionism, as well as Romanticism. These features include gloomy environments, canted angles and chiaroscuro lighting, along with morally ambiguous protagonists.[4] It has been argued by Gertrud Koch that, aside from the expressionist and neorealistic qualities of the Rubble Film, a major purpose of these films was to re-invigorate the German people, and instill a work ethic that would facilitate the reconstruction of Germany.[5]


In the year after the war ended, no films were made. This one-year period is referred to as the Filmpause, and is due in large part to the destruction or seizure of Germany's film studios, as well as artistic uncertainty. Furthermore, people had little interest in seeing films, much less the facilities with which to do so.[6] This uncertainty was caused by Hitler's delegitimization of conventional filmmaking practices, which forced filmmakers to reinvent their filmography methods, and film content.[7] It would not be until Wolfgang Staudte released The Murderers Are Among Us in 1946 that German Cinema began to further develop.


Originally, the name "Trümmerfilm" held negative connotation. These films were seen as a symbol of defeat and desolation. They symbolized the control that the German Nazis had over the German people, as well as the success of the Allies in destroying their country. Instead of offering a nostalgic attachment to what Germany was, it simply was a mark of trauma and despair. The German identity had been stripped by the Nazi party, and they felt that these films did little more than re-affirm the horrors that Germany suffered.[8]

The genre has also received criticism for its whitewashing of Nazi history. In the film The Murderers Are Among Us, the female protagonist Susanne returns from a concentration camp and is shocked by the misery of Germans in the cities. A common trope in the rubble films is the highlighting of German soldiers' trauma at the expense of relegating the suffering of political and racial enemies of the Third Reich. The dwelling on wartime trauma is not in itself a cause for concern. But the omission of any depictions of Nazi violence, in a genre so consumed with expressing suffering, is a criticized feature of the Heimkehrerfilm.


  1. ^ Shandley, Robert R. (2001). Rubble films: German cinema in the shadow of the Third Reich. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press. ISBN 1566398770.
  2. ^ "Cinema in the rubble: movies made in the ruins of postwar Germany". Retrieved 2019-04-15.
  3. ^ Rubble in the Trümmerfilm>"New German Critique 110". 37. Duke University, Durham, NC: Duke University Press. Summer 2010: 9.
  4. ^ Moeller, Martina (2013). Rubble, Ruins, and Romanticism: Visual Style, Narration, and Identity in German Post-War Cinema. New York: Columbia University Press. pp. 40–43. ISBN 9783837621839.
  5. ^ The Place of Rubble in the Trummerfilm>Eric Rentschler. "The Place of Rubble in the Trümmerfilm". Harvard University. p. 3.
  6. ^ Rubble in the Trümmerfilm>"New German Critique 110". 37. Duke University, Durham, NC: Duke University Press. Summer 2010: 10.
  7. ^ Baer, Hester (2009). DISMANTLING THE DREAM FACTORY Gender, German Cinema, and the Postwar Quest for a New Film Language. Berghan Books. ISBN 9780857456175.
  8. ^ Rubble, Ruins and RomanticismMoeller, Martina. Rubble, Ruins and Romanticism: Visual Style, Narration and Identity in German Post-War Cinema. transcript Verlag, 2014. pp. 13, 14. ISBN 3839421837.
Cinema of Germany

The film industry in Germany can be traced back to the late 19th century. German cinema made major technical and artistic contributions to early film, broadcasting and television technology. Babelsberg became a household synonym for the early 20th century film industry in Europe, similar to Hollywood later.

Germany witnessed major changes to its identity during the 20th and 21st century. Those changes determined the periodisation of national cinema into a succession of distinct eras and movements.

Gerhard Lamprecht

Gerhard Lamprecht (6 October 1897 – 4 May 1974) was a German film director, screenwriter and film historian. He directed 63 films between 1920 and 1958. He also wrote for 26 films between 1918 and 1958.


Germany (German: Deutschland, German pronunciation: [ˈdɔʏtʃlant]), officially the Federal Republic of Germany (German: Bundesrepublik Deutschland, listen ), is a country in Central and Western Europe, lying between the Baltic and North Seas to the north, and the Alps, Lake Constance and the High Rhine to the south. It borders Denmark to the north, Poland and the Czech Republic to the east, Austria and Switzerland to the south, France to the southwest, and Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands to the west.

Germany includes 16 constituent states, covers an area of 357,386 square kilometres (137,988 sq mi), and has a largely temperate seasonal climate. With 83 million inhabitants, it is the second most populous state of Europe after Russia, the most populous state lying entirely in Europe, as well as the most populous member state of the European Union. Germany is a very decentralised country. Its capital and largest metropolis is Berlin, while Frankfurt serves as its financial capital and has the country's busiest airport. Germany's largest urban area is the Ruhr, with its main centres of Dortmund and Essen. The country's other major cities include Hamburg, Munich, Cologne, Stuttgart, Düsseldorf, Leipzig, Dresden, Bremen, Hannover, Nuremberg, and Mannheim.

Various Germanic tribes have inhabited the northern parts of modern Germany since classical antiquity. A region named Germania was documented before AD 100. During the Migration Period, the Germanic tribes expanded southward. Beginning in the 10th century, German territories formed a central part of the Holy Roman Empire. During the 16th century, northern German regions became the centre of the Protestant Reformation. After the collapse of the Holy Roman Empire, the German Confederation was formed in 1815. The German revolutions of 1848–49 resulted in the Frankfurt Parliament establishing major democratic rights.

In 1871, Germany became a nation state when most of the German states unified (except Switzerland and Austria) into the Prussian-dominated German Empire. After World War I and the revolution of 1918–19, the Empire was replaced by the parliamentary Weimar Republic. The Nazi seizure of power in 1933 led to the establishment of a dictatorship, the annexation of Austria, World War II, and the Holocaust. After the end of World War II in Europe and a period of Allied occupation, Austria was re-established as an independent country and two new German states were founded: West Germany, formed from the American, British, and French occupation zones, and East Germany, formed from the Soviet occupation zone. About a quarter of Germany's pre-war territory was annexed by Poland and the Soviet Union leading to the explusion of Germans. Following the Revolutions of 1989 that ended communist rule in Central and Eastern Europe, the country was reunified on 3 October 1990.Today, the sovereign state of Germany is a federal parliamentary republic led by a chancellor. It is a great power with a strong economy; it has the world's fourth-largest economy by nominal GDP, and the fifth-largest by PPP. As a global leader in several industrial and technological sectors, it is both the world's third-largest exporter and importer of goods. As a developed country with a very high standard of living, it upholds a social security and universal health care system, environmental protection, and a tuition-free university education.

The Federal Republic of Germany was a founding member of the European Economic Community in 1957 and the European Union in 1993. It is part of the Schengen Area and became a co-founder of the Eurozone in 1999. Germany is a member of the United Nations, NATO, the G7, the G20, and the OECD. Known for its rich cultural history, Germany has been continuously the home of influential and successful artists, philosophers, musicians, film people, sportspeople, entrepreneurs, scientists, engineers, and inventors. Germany has a large number of World Heritage sites and is among the top tourism destinations in the world.

List of films set in Berlin

Berlin is a major center in the European and German film industry. It is home to more than 1000 film and television production companies and 270 movie theaters. Three hundred national and international co-productions are filmed in the region every year. The world renowned Babelsberg Studios and the production company UFA are located outside Berlin in Potsdam.

The city is also home of the European Film Academy and the German Film Academy, and hosts the annual Berlin International Film Festival which is considered to be the largest publicly attended film festival in the world. This is a list of films whose setting is Berlin.

Murderers Among Us

Die Mörder sind unter uns, a German film known in English as Murderers Among Us in the United States or The Murderers Are Among Us in the United Kingdom was one of the first post-World War II German films and the first Trümmerfilm. It was produced in 1945/46 in the Althoff Studios in Babelsberg and in Jofa-Ateliers in Johannisthal. Writer and director was Wolfgang Staudte.


UFA GmbH is a German film and television production company that unites all production activities of Bertelsmann in Germany. Its history comes from Universum Film AG (abbreviated in logo as UFA) that was a major German film company headquartered in Babelsberg, producing and distributing motion pictures from 1917 through to the end of the Nazi era. The name UFA was revived for an otherwise new film and television outfit.

The former UFA was established as Universum-Film Aktiengesellschaft (UFA) on December 18, 1917, as a direct response to foreign competition in film and propaganda. UFA was founded by a consortium headed by Emil Georg von Stauß, a former Deutsche Bank board member.In 1925, financial pressures compelled UFA to enter into distribution agreements with American studios Paramount and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer to form Parufamet. UFA's weekly newsreels continued to contain reference to the Paramount deal until 1940, at which point Die Deutsche Wochenschau ("The German Weekly Review") was consolidated and used as an instrument of Nazi propaganda.

In March 1927, Alfred Hugenberg, an influential German media entrepreneur and later Minister of the Economy, Agriculture and Nutrition in Hitler's cabinet, purchased UFA and transferred it to the Nazi Party in 1933.

In 1942, as a result of the Nazi policy of "forcible coordination" known as the Gleichschaltung, UFA and all of its competitors, including Tobis, Terra, Bavaria Film and Wien-Film, were bundled together with foreign film production companies Nazi-controlled to form the super-corporation UFA-Film GmbH (Ufi), with headquarters in Berlin.

After the Red Army occupied the UFA complex in 1945 in Babelsberg, and after the privatization of Bavaria and UFA in 1956 in West-Germany, the company was restructured to form Universum Film AG and taken over by a consortium of banks.

In 1964, Bertelsmann's Chief Representative, Manfred Köhnlechner, acquired the entire Universum Film AG from Deutsche Bank, which had previously been the main UFA shareholder and which had determined the company's business policy as head of the shareholders' consortium. Köhnlechner bought UFA, which was strongly in debt, on behalf of Reinhard Mohn for roughly five million Deutschmarks. (Köhnlechner: "The question came up as to why not take the entire thing, it still had many gems.") Only a few months later, Köhnlechner also acquired the UFA-Filmtheaterkette, a movie theater chain, for almost eleven million Deutschmarks.In 1997, UFA and the Luxembourgish rival CLT established the joint venture CLT-UFA, which, following the takeover of British rival Pearson TV, was restructered as RTL Group in 2000. Today, UFA GmbH (UFA) works as a subsidiary of RTL Group's production division FremantleMedia, which had been formed out of Pearson TV, and is responsible for all production activities of Bertelsmann and FremantleMedia in Germany. Until August 2013, eight subsidiaries operated under the UFA umbrella: UFA Fernsehproduktion, UFA Entertainment, Grundy UFA, Grundy Light Entertainment, UFA Cinema, Teamworx, Phoenix Film and UFA Brand Communication.

In August 2013, UFA underwent an organizational restructuring that simplified the company down to three production divisions. Today, UFA Fiction, UFA Serial Drama and UFA Show & Factual are the three units responsible for production.

In February 2019, Universum (UFA) was sold to Kohlberg Kravis Roberts.

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