Neu Welle (the New German Cinema), one of the most influential to emerge in the late 1960s and early 1970s, embraced several contrasting ideological positions and included arguably the most heterogeneous array of filmmakers at work in Western Europe.
Many of the young German filmmakers were strongly political. Disdainful of “artisty” and “entertainment”, they believed that the film should serve as a forum for the dissemination of ideas and philosophies which challenged the established order. This early movement was rejected by the great majority of German filmgoers and was a financial disaster.
This attempt at a new, meaningful film culture, although not economically successful, did eventually evolve into a strong industry that was receiving international acclaim by the late 60s and on into the 70s. Wim Wenders, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Werner Herzog and Volker Schlöndorff stood in the forefront of this Neu Welle, the German “New Wave”. Younger German directors have been inclined to study the works of Francis Ford Coppola, Hal Ashby, Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg and Peter Bogdanovich, representatives of the new American cinema who have demonstrated that the personal film can also be entertaining and commercially successful.
It is difficult to define the “New German Cinema” because all the directors have their own uniquie styles which are specific to their films.