Apr 9, 2013

Blau Jeans


Once an American student lands in Europe, he/she is surprised for the American cultural influence on the Old World: fast foods, music, clothes etc. Blau Jeans — an essential, well-constructed documentary — helps to introduce students to the cultural and symbolic heart of Europe: Berlin. Then the course starts.
For decades Germany has been one of America's strongest and most trusted European allies, both politically and culturally.
American popular culture (US second biggest export) cast a spell on postwar Europe that has yet to be broken. Blau Jeans, a new one-hour documentary by Meaghan Kimball (2009), sheds light on how that spell both charms and afflicts the people in the capital city of Berlin, the symbol of modern Germany and cultural center of the New Europe.
Like no other contemporary documentary, Blau Jeans leads viewers on an exploration of the German-American relationship. From the shiny new Starbucks to the communist grit of Alexanderplatz, to the historic Staatsbibliothek, journalists, artists, musicians, professors, and novelists readily dig into their favorite cultural conflicts: Spider-Man versus Faust, Starbucks versus the cafes of Old Europe, American hip-hop versus European electronica, or simply low culture versus high culture. 
The picture that emerges is a Germany deeply affectionate for America's freedom, optimism, and confidence, combined with resentment toward its arrogance, power, and superficiality.
Shot entirely in Berlin with a German crew and presented in English with German subtitles, Blau Jeans provides significant insights into the German-American conflict, and America's tainted image abroad.