Movement and Performance in Berlin School Cinema
144 pages

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144 pages

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Through a study of the contemporary German film movement the Berlin School, Olivia Landry examines how narrative film has responded to our highly digitalized and mediatized age, not with a focus on stasis and realism, but by turning back to movement, spectacle, and performance. She argues that a preoccupation with presence, liveness, and affect—all of which are viewed as critical components of live performance—can be found in many of the films of the Berlin School. Challenging the perception that the Berlin School is a sheer adherent of "slow cinema," Landry closely analyzes the use of movement, dynamism, presence, and speed in a broad selection of films to show how filmmakers such as Christian Petzold, Angela Schanelec, Thomas Arslan, and Christoph Hochhäusler invoke the pulse of the kinesthetic and the tangibly affective. Her analysis draws on an array of film theories from early materialism to body theories, phenomenology, and contemporary affect theories. Arguing that these theories readily and energetically forge a path from film to performance, Landry traces a trajectory between the two through which live experience, presence, spectacle, intersubjectivity, and the body in motion emerge and powerfully intersect. Ultimately, Movement and Performance in Berlin School Cinema expands the methodological and disciplinary boundaries of film studies by offering new ways of articulating and understanding movement in cinema.


Introduction: A Cinema Against Stasis

1. Media, Death, and Liveness

2. Theatricality Bleeds, the Presence of Dance

3. Between Movement and Affect: The Body's Shared Point of Sense

4. Accelerating Performance: From Car Travel to Car Crash

5. Nina Hoss's Performance of the Fugitive Body; or, What to Do with Movement

Conclusion: Performance on the Move






Publié par
Date de parution 08 février 2019
Nombre de lectures 1
EAN13 9780253038067
Langue English

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Robert Rushing, editor

Olivia Landry
Indiana University Press
This book is a publication of
Indiana University Press
Office of Scholarly Publishing
Herman B Wells Library 350
1320 East 10th Street
Bloomington, Indiana 47405 USA
2018 by Olivia Landry
All rights reserved
No part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying and recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. The paper used in this publication meets the minimum requirements of the American National Standard for Information Sciences-Permanence of Paper for Printed Library Materials, ANSI Z39.48-1992.
Manufactured in the United States of America
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Names: Landry, Olivia, author.
Title: Movement and performance in Berlin School cinema / Olivia Landry.
Description: Bloomington, Indiana : Indiana University Press, [2019] | Series: New directions in national cinemas | Includes bibliographical references and index.
Identifiers: LCCN 2018019386 (print) | LCCN 2018043609 (ebook) | ISBN 9780253038043 (e-book) | ISBN 9780253038029 (cloth : alk. paper) | ISBN 9780253038036 (pbk. : alk. paper)
Subjects: LCSH: Motion pictures-Germany-Berlin-History. | Movement (Acting)-History.
Classification: LCC PN1993.5.G3 (ebook) | LCC PN1993.5.G3 L32 2019 (print) | DDC 791.430943/155-dc23
LC record available at
1 2 3 4 5 23 22 21 20 19 18

Note on Film Titles and Foreign-Language Citations

Introduction: A Cinema against Stasis

1 Media, Death, and Liveness

2 Theatricality Bleeds, the Presence of Dance

3 Between Movement and Affect: The Body s Shared Point of Sense

4 Accelerating Performance: From Car Travel to Car Crash

5 Nina Hoss s Performance of the Fugitive Body; or, What to Do with Movement

Conclusion: Performance on the Move

T HE ENERGY AND spirit of this book are in great part attributions of a study much supported, encouraged, and exuberantly guided, without which this book would certainly not be.
I am extremely grateful to Claudia Breger, who has provided nothing short of unflagging support, brilliantly insightful and engaging feedback, and always positive encouragement. She has been a wonderful mentor and (inter)disciplinary ally, who has gently but persistently nudged me out of my own narrow and ideological corners to see a beautiful world of multiplicity and possibility. Her influence resonates throughout these pages. In a similar vein, I also would like to thank Benjamin Robinson for his enthusiastic support, dynamism, and intellectual curiosity. No matter the topic or question, he has always been ready to provocatively engage and challenge my preconceptions. I am also grateful to Shane Vogel for introducing me to performance studies, which has become my passion and roadmap for navigating so many disciplinary pathways. Further, the rare precision and care with which he approaches any topic or text has also taught me to pace myself and to carefully reflect on the thoughts and ideas I encounter along these pathways. Without Brigitta Wagner, I never would have come around to the films of the Berlin School and recognized their vast scope. For this I am eternally grateful. Her extraordinary knowledge of and passion for German cinema have been an invaluable influence on my work. Alexander Doty, who is certainly much missed, taught me with equal doses of admonition and encouragement how to properly analyze film. For this skill, I am forever in his debt.
None of these wonderful encounters and experiences would have been possible had I not been welcomed to Indiana University and to the Germanic Studies Department as a graduate student. I received nothing but support and encouragement from professors and fellow graduate students throughout my six years as a student there. I can say the same for the two years I spent as a postdoctoral fellow in the German Department at the University of Pittsburgh, where I had the great fortune to dedicate much time to working on this book in fantastic company. Randall Halle typifies, for me, the perpetual mentor. I cannot thank him enough for his tireless counsel, his infectious scholarly commitments, and his friendship.
Tremendous gratitude goes to the anonymous readers for Indiana University Press: their enthusiasm for the project and the abundant time and care each took to read and consider the book have been extremely meaningful and helpful. At IUP, Robert Rushing s initial interest in the project and ability to see its stakes have had significant consequences for me. For this I am very grateful. I am also thankful to have as my editor Janice Frisch, who has brought this book forth with such acuity, dedication, and energy.
I am equally beholden to all of my friends outside of academia whose very existence has been so grounding and who have offered me such necessary outside perspectives on things and life. Similarly, I am grateful to my parents, especially my mother, Sally Landry, who generously proved to be a wonderful reader of this book in its late stages. As a fellow scholar, my older sister, Christinia Landry, has always been inspirational both personally and academically, and she remains the source for so many of my intellectual passions, because we never cease to learn from our siblings.
Finally, I would like to thank my incredible partner, Ihsan Topaloglu. There is no one to whom I owe so much as I made my way along the circuitous path of writing and revising that lies behind this book. His unflagging love and support have been nothing short of life-giving. I count myself incredibly lucky to have him in my life.
An earlier and shorter version of chapter 2 appeared in The Germanic Review and parts of chapter 5 in Film-Philosophy . I am grateful to Taylor Francis and the University of Edinburgh Press for permission to republish some of this work here. Many thanks also go to Schramm Film Koerner Weber, Heimatfilm GmbH, Iko Freese, Christoph Hochh usler, Thomas Arslan at Pickpocket Filmproduktion, Komplizen Film, and ZDF for the permission to use images.
Note on Film Titles and Foreign-Language Citations
T HE B ERLIN S CHOOL films I analyze in this study are all in German. Sometimes the films titles vary significantly in German and English. Throughout, I employ the German-language titles, but I also include the English title in parenthesis when the film is mentioned for the first time in each chapter. This is also the case for films in other languages. Much of the early criticism of the Berlin School appeared in newspaper articles, interviews, and film critiques. These texts are largely in German. I cite these frequently and offer translations into English in the running text. Generally, if these quotes are long, I give the original in an endnote. Shorter citations I simply place in parenthesis. All translations from German to English are my own, unless otherwise indicated. This includes citations from films, as a number of the DVDs with which I work are not subtitled.
For the sake of consistency and clarity, where an English translation of a text exists, be it secondary or theoretical, I employ and cite the translation. This includes mostly texts originally in German and French. In cases in which I work with both the English and the German versions of texts, I have also listed the German titles in the bibliography. Book or article titles not available in English translation have been left in their original language.

A Cinema against Stasis
A SERIES OF crime photographs incites a real-life enactment of murder, dancing erupts at the side of an indoor swimming pool, a long walk to school is nothing more than a long walk to school, landscape images through the window of a moving car swish by, an old jeep careens into a river, a woman cycles to freedom. This is the Berlin School in movement. This is the Berlin School in performance. Movement and Performance in Berlin School Cinema trails these swelling gestures, brisk migrations, and mad dashes and makes some sweeping moves of its own.
The title of this book sounds like a paradox. If anything, in our post-cinematic age of digital media and streaming, film has become ostensibly less performance based and even further removed from the influence of live experience. But perhaps precisely in response to this cool and quick transformation of film from analog to digital, from 24 FPS to 70, and from larger-than-life to handheld, live experience has not disappeared altogether; rather, it haunts film like a displaced ghost. Consider for a moment the possibility that the contemporary ambition to create the effect of live experience in film is not unlike the increasingly realistic virtual reality games and the touch and voice functions of mobile devices and household entertainment systems. While many scholars (especially in Germany) have tracked, and even lamented, the transformation to the post-cinematic, its claims to flexibility, mobility, and fragmentation, 1 few have sought out the potential signs of life that the haunting of the live yields. Without succumbing to nostalgia for things past, I read the haunting mode of liveness in film instead as a vigorous turning toward a new dynamism and the power of performance. Performance is a concept and discipline

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