Establishing minimal techno as soundtrack to the Creative City: Hannes Stöhr's Berlin calling

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Journal Article
Seminar - A Journal of Germanic Studies, 2015, 51 (4), pp. 315 - 332
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© 2015 Project MUSE. This article argues that Hannes Stöhr's Berlin Calling (2008), one of the first feature film treatments of Berlin's techno scene, contributes to the mythification of contemporary Berlin as an exciting, "culturepreneurial," creative city. Twenty years after the emergence of Berlin's electronic music scene, the film offers a conciliatory reading of that scene, which is consistent with the contribution that club culture and the notion of the creative individual make to the capital city's economy. In contrast to earlier, more worried readings of Berlin's club culture, Berlin Calling suggests that some techno is legitimate music with artistic merit. Although the film does not shy away from dance music's association with drug use, the protagonist "DJ Ickarus" ascertains "wie wichtig es ist, ein Ziel im Leben zu haben" and begins to grapple with his drug problem. This article analyzes how the film's narrative of fall and redemption is consistent with the increasing legitimation of techno culture in the Berlin Republic.
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