Year
2020
Length
1 x 52'
Genre
History
Format
16:9 HDTV
Direction
Annebeth Jacobsen, Peter Wolf
Channel
arte
Mythos Deutscher Wald
Erkundung einer Seelenlandschaft

In Germany, the forest is more than the sum of its trees: it is a myth, the backdrop of a great German theatre. Looking at German cultural history, it is easy to recognise the forest as a leitmotif. And as a topos to which one returned again and again in the search for a national identity.

German culture, it is said, is rooted in the forest, at least since Germanic warriors defeated the Romans in the Varus Battle. In the Romantic period, the forest became a place of longing, it was painted, written about and sung about - and at the same time it became a symbol of national sovereignty. The Nazis instrumentalised it for their racist ideology - and the Heimat films of post-war German cinema for their dream image of an ideal world. The environmental movement of the 80s fears for its national shrine during the forest death debate - and activists live in the highest treetops to save trees from being cleared.

Throughout the centuries, the forest has always played a central role in Germany's self-image. How has this relationship changed? Because forest images, like the forests themselves, are constantly changing. With "Myth of the German Forest", filmmakers Annebeth Jacobsen and Peter Wolf take the viewer on a cultural-historical forest walk between forest solitude, forest management, forest dieback, forest ideology and forest love. The film explores the "German soul landscape forest" together with, among others, techno DJ Dominik Eulberg, forest blogger Fee Brauwers, forest owner Stephan Prinz zur Lippe and film lovers Dominik Porschen and Christoph Mathieu.

First broadcast: Wednesday, 23 December 2020, at 22:06 on arte.

Myth of the German Forest - Exploring a Soul Landscape

In Germany, the forest is more than the sum of its trees: it is a myth, the backdrop of a great German theatre. Looking at German cultural history, it is easy to recognise the forest as a leitmotif. And as a topos to which one returned again and again in the search for a national identity.

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