Women take lead in German war film TV reboot

German sub at military harbour in Gdynia, northern Poland, November 20, 2015 – Image: REUTERS/Dominik Werner/Agencja GazetaA

First came Ghostbusters, then Ocean’s 8. Now Das Boot, the German classic set on a World War 2 submarine, has been remodelled for the #MeToo era in a television series featuring female leads.

The eight-part drama was produced for Sky, and was such a success when it aired in Germany, that a second series has already been commissioned, the broadcaster said a press statement. It will be shown in Britain in the new year.

The television series is a sequel to the Oscar-nominated original, which became the most expensive film in German history, when it was made in 1981.

Director, Wolfgang Petersen, portrayed the universal suffering of war, from the perspective of German troops, in his six-hour movie detailing the claustrophobic life on a U-boat.

The television reboot follows a trend for female-led versions of hit movies – including Ocean’s 8, a box office hit starring Sandra Bullock and Cate Blanchett.

It cost nearly $33 million to make, and introduced a parallel storyline about the French Resistance, which fought with Allied troops against Germany’s Nazi military.

Studies have found that women are still often sidelined, and shown in stereotyped roles, across both television and film.

Women took only 40 percent of speaking roles on prime-time US television shows in 2017-18, and were much more likely to play “personal life-oriented roles”, such as wife and mother, the Boxed In report from San Diego State University found.

Across the 100 top-grossing films of 2017, women accounted for less than a third of speaking roles, according to analysis by the University of Southern California. ($1 = 0.8733 euros).

-Lin Taylor, Thomson Reuters Foundation

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