Show Business: Seeking Planets That Do Not Exist

The new German cinema is the liveliest in Europe

In the '40s it was the Italians and neorealism. British comedies made the world laugh in the '50s, and the '60s saw the crest of the French New Wave. But as far as foreign films are concerned, the '70s belong to the Germans. With little encouragement, less money and no older hands to guide them, a few extraordinary young directors have given birth to a phoenix—the brilliant German cinema of Fritz Lang and Ernst Lubitsch that Hitler consigned to ashes 45 years ago. "We had nothing,...

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