Film Distribution in Occupied Belgium (1940–1944): German Film Politics and its Implementation by the ‘Corporate’ Organisations and the Film Guild

Roel Vande Winkel

Abstract


The military successes achieved by the Wehrmacht in the first years of World War II, provided Nazi Germany with the opportunity to realise a long-dormant ambition of cultural hegemony. This article, focusing on film distribution in German-occupied Belgium (1940–1944), investigates the concrete steps that were taken to bring this new cultural order into practice and identifies the obstacles the German Propaganda Division (‘Propaganda-Abteilung Belgien’) encountered. Through various measures, the number of Belgian film distributors, and the number of films offered by them, were reduced. The market position of German film in general and of German film distributors Ufa and Tobis in particular, was fortified. Nevertheless, these measures did not lead to a complete German market monopoly. This would have been politically undesirable, but also turned out to be economically impossible. Towards the end of the war, the cultural, ideological, but also the undeniable economic mission to make German films as strong as possible in occupied Belgium, proved incompatible with the German war economy.

DOI: 10.18146/2213-7653.2017.280


Keywords


Film in occupied Belgium; Second World War; Ufa; Tobis; Propaganda and Culture

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ISSN: 2213-7653