The Use and Abuse of Cinema: German Legacies from the Weimar Era to the Present

The Use and Abuse of Cinema: German Legacies from the Weimar Era to the Present

by Eric Rentschler


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Eric Rentschler's new book, The Use and Abuse of Cinema, takes readers on a series of enthralling excursions through the fraught history of German cinema, from the Weimar and Nazi eras to the postwar and postwall epochs and into the new millennium. These journeys afford rich panoramas and nuanced close-ups from a nation's production of fantasies and spectacles, traversing the different ways in which the film medium has figured in Germany, both as a site of creative and critical enterprise and as a locus of destructive and regressive endeavor. Each of the chapters provides a stirring minidrama; the cast includes prominent critics such as Siegfried Kracauer and Rudolf Arnheim; postwar directors like Wolfgang Staudte, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Wim Wenders, and Alexander Kluge; representatives of the so-called Berlin School; and exponents of mountain epics, early sound musicals, rubble films, and recent heritage features. A film history that is both original and unconventional, Rentschler's colorful tapestry weaves together figures, motifs, and stories in exciting, unexpected, and even novelistic ways.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780231073639
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Publication date: 04/28/2015
Series: Film and Culture Series
Pages: 464
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Eric Rentschler is the Arthur Kingsley Porter Professor of Germanic Languages and Literatures and the chair of the Film and Visual Studies Program at Harvard University.

Table of Contents

Introduction: History Lessons and Courses in Time
Part I. Critical Venues
1. How a Social Critic Became a Formative Theorist
2. Hunger for Experience, Spectatorship, and the Seventies
3. The Passenger and the Critical Critic
4. The Limits of Aesthetic Resistance
5. Springtime for Ufa
Part II. Serials and Cycles
6. Mountains and Modernity
7. Too Lovely to Be True
8. The Management of Shattered Identity
9. After the War, Before the Wall
Part III. From Oberhausen to Bitburg
10. Remembering Not to Forget
11. Many Ways to Fight a Battle
12. How American Is It?
13. The Use and Abuse of Memory
14. A Cinema of Citation
15. The Declaration of Independents
Part IV. Postwall Projects
16. An Archaeology of the Berlin School
17. The Surveillance Camera's Quarry
18. Heritages and Histories
19. Life in the Shadows
20. Two Trips to the Berlinale

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