Newsletter 2001

German Filmmaker Returns to Muhlenberg
Ula Stöckl, whom scholars of the New German Cinema consider to be the pioneer woman filmmaker of that movement, visited the college on March 19, 2001, as part of a joint German Program and Communication Department event. Ms. Stöckl showed episodes from her collection of short films Geschichten vom Kübelkind [Stories of the Trashcan Child], which she wrote and then directed with the collaboration of Edgar Reitz. This provocative film plays with conventional film genres and thereby not only questions dominant social structures but also traditional audience expectations of narrative linearity and closure.

Ms. Stöckl is one of the first graduates of the Institute for Filmmaking at the Ulm School of Design and has gone on to become one of the school's best known filmmakers. She has made 22 films (features, shorts, and documentaries), with most of them based on her own original screenplays. Her works explored women's issues during the late 1960s before the feminist movement began to gain momentum in Germany.

Stöckl's films are aesthetically and intellectually challenging, in part because she provides no pat solutions to the problems she presents. She notes that "[n]ever before have women had so many possibilities to arrange their lives as they want to. But now they must first of all learn that they are able to want something." Through the experiences of the stylized, abstract, and totally amoral character of the Trashcan Child, she holds up an only slightly distorted mirror to the audience in order to reveal, with humor and irony, the obstacles women face when they learn that they do want something.

In the fall of 1998, when Ula Stöckl first visited Muhlenberg College, her appearance was such a success that Professor Birgel invited her back again this year. She has promised to visit us again at a future date.