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The Political Aesthetics of Contemporary German and Austrian Cinema
218 pages, 20 illus., bibliog., index
ISBN 978-1-78920-630-2 $120.00/£89.00 Hb Published (November 2020)
eISBN 978-1-78920-631-9 eBook
“This very well-constructed book has a lot to offer, including a uniquely systematic methodological approach to contemporary German-language cinema, an engaging discussion of a range of German-language films that have not been discussed together before, and a very accessible and elegant prose style that is a real pleasure to read.” • Marco Abel, University of Nebraska
Both politically and aesthetically, the contemporary German and Austrian film landscape is a far cry from the early days of the medium, when critics like Siegfried Kracauer produced foundational works of film theory amid the tumult of the early twentieth century. Yet, as Leila Mukhida demonstrates in this innovative study, the writings of figures like Kracauer and Walter Benjamin in fact remain an undervalued tool for understanding political cinema today. Through illuminating explorations of Michael Haneke, Valeska Grisebach, Andreas Dresen, and other filmmakers of the post-reunification era, Mukhida develops an analysis centered on film aesthetics and experience, showing how medium-specific devices like lighting, sound, and mise-en-scène can help to cultivate political sensitivity in spectators.
Leila Mukhida is Lecturer in Modern German Studies at the University of Cambridge.