Author Archives: Thomas Elsaesser

“Where were you when …?”; or, “I Phone therefore I am”

Here the idea of mediatised memory gets an airing, in the context of malfunctioning technology and the culture shock of a periodic visitor to the US. It is a short personal piece written for the first anniversary of 9/11, in 2002. The brief remarks may open up expectations of a broader treatment of trans-national or […]

Classical/Post-Classical Narrative (Die Hard)

Introduction This chapter sets itself the task of defining what is at stake in making a distinction between so-called classical and post-classical Hollywood cinema. After stating what the currently available range of definitions for this distinction is (economic-institutional, period based and historiographic, stylistic, cultural-political, technological and demographic), the chapter will focus on the stylistic one, […]

Lovely Andrea (2007)

Lovely Andrea was the first work by Hito Steyerl I ever encountered. I saw it on the second floor in the atrium of the Fridericianum on July 31st 2007, during the documenta 12, curated by Roger Buergel and Ruth Novack. Despite the slightly awkward placing of the video – trapped in what is basically a […]

Trauma, Memory, History, or: Postmodernism as Mourning Work?

Trauma and the Holocaust The events we now collectively refer to as The Holocaust happened in the years between June 1941 and April 1945, that is, more than 60 years ago. The eyewitnesses and survivors are dying out, whether they were victims, bystanders, perpetrators or ‘willing executioners’. One would imagine that with the passing of […]

Tales of Epiphany and Entropy: Para-Narrative Worlds on Youtube

The Trouble with Narrative Film theory has always had particular problems with narrative. Was story-telling the cinema’s manifest destiny, as an earlier generation of historians used to think, or does ‘early cinema’, especially in the formula of the ‘cinema of attractions’, prove the exact opposite? How medium-specific is narrative, given that it is generally recognized […]

The Mind-Game Film

Playing Games In December 2006, Lars von Trier announced that in his latest film, The Boss of it All, a comedy about the head of an IT company hiring a failed actor to play the ‘boss of it all’, in order to cover up a sell-out, there were a number of (“five to seven”) out-of-place […]