A WWI film exhibition in Mainz, Germany

A film by Herbert Selpin
The Great War was the first conflict in which all the leading belligerent countries produced captivating pictures for documentation and propaganda purpose – a technique of “mass indoctrination”, i.e. of manipulation, which had an enormous impact also during the interwar period. Just think about the “Istituto Luce” founded in 1924 by Mussolini: it deeply influenced the interpretation of the Great War in Italy from the late 1920s. Moreover, being one of the most significant events of the Twentieth Century, the First World War remained a recurring theme in the worldwide film production up to the present, which expresses both propagandistic or nationalistic purposes and pacifist or cosmopolitan appeals. The way the Great War was - and still is - depicted in the cinematography discloses therefore not only (and not primarily) an historical accounts on it; it rather enables us to understand the varied cultural and psychological viewpoints which underlie its interpretation.

An opportunity to get an overview of different visual narratives of the Great War is offered by a movie series entitled “The Worlds of WWI in the film production” and organized on the occasion of the upcoming Centenary by the Leibniz institute of European history (IEG) of Mainz – Germany - in cooperation with the State Office for Political Education in Rheinland-Pfalz. The seven selected films aim to discuss the Great War from a global and trans-cultural perspective, focusing on the specific social and cultural reaction of the different "worlds" - from Europe to Asia, from America to Africa - involved in the conflict.

Between October 2013 and Februar 2014, on Wednesday evenings starting from tonight, the following films will be showed at the CinéMayence in the French Institute of Mainz: Shoulder Arms - USA 1918 (30.10.2012), Westfront 1918 - Germany 1930 (13.11.2012), Niemandsland - Germany 1931 (27.11.2012), Merry Christmans - France/ Norway/ Germany/ UK/ Belgium/ Romania 2005 (11.12.2012), Die Reiter von Deutsch-Ostafrika - Germany 1934 (15.01.2013), The Halfmoon Files - Germany 2007 (22.01.2013), Çanakkale 1915 – Turkey 2012 (05.02.2013). 

The full program – only in German – is available here.