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Sensitive Subjects: The Political Aesthetics of Contemporary German and Austrian Cinema

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Volume 23

Film Europa

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Sensitive Subjects

The Political Aesthetics of Contemporary German and Austrian Cinema

Leila Mukhida

218 pages, 20 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78920-630-2 $135.00/£99.00 / Hb / Published (November 2020)

eISBN 978-1-78920-631-9 eBook

View CartYour country: - edit Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format)Recommend to your LibraryAvailable in GOBI®


“Mukhida provides an innovative analysis of political aesthetics in contemporary German and Austrian film…This volume is a noteworthy contribution to the scholarship of German-language film, as many of these films have not yet been analyzed with the theories of Benjamin, Kracauer, or Kluge. Readers will definitely benefit from Mukhida’s excellent introduction, in which she gives background on film theory and explains her methodology thoroughly….Highly Recommended.” • Choice

“Overall, Sensitive Subjects is well-written and interrogates how the films move the audience and thus have an impact on viewers, and ‘by extension to the societies in which they are located’… The book offers a unique methodological approach and astute filmic analyses…[and] speaks to scholars from a variety of disciplines such as cultural studies, film and media studies, and German (film) studies, along with a general reader interested in actively engaging with contemporary German and Austrian cinema, and can serve as secondary course readings.” • German Studies Review

“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.

Subject: Film and Television StudiesMedia Studies
Area: Germany


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