AbstractThis thesis explores the contemporaneity of Siegfried Kracauer’s conception of cinema as outlined in his book Theory of Film: The Redemption of Physical Reality, first published in 1960, and defined by Kracauer as a study of “material aesthetics.” Though the book is often seen solely as a contribution, albeit a significant one, to so-called classical film theory, in this study I want to make the case for the ongoing relevance of Kracauer’s notion of the medium, presenting ways of making his approach productive for the examination of contemporary cinema. As case studies, I have chosen films associated with the Berlin School, a group of contemporary German filmmakers whose material realism strikes me as ideally suited for discussions in relation to Kracauer’s material aesthetics.
This is what I aim to do in this study: bringing together Kracauer’s idea of cinema’s redemptive potential for re-experiences of the material world with contemporary realist filmmaking. However, I do not consider Theory of Film a dogmatic manual of cinematic realism but an open text that raises significant issues about the medium’s relationship with reality. Thus, rather than aiming to prove Kracauer’s film theory right or wrong, I want to use the book as a toolbox to think about contemporary cinema and the current possibilities for experiences of reality. In so doing, this study, I hope, will help to open up a discussion on the relevance of Kracauer’s Theory of Film for current realist approaches not only in the Berlin School films that are my object, but in world cinema.
|Date of Award||1 Apr 2017|
|Supervisor||Erica Carter (Supervisor) & Ben Schofield (Supervisor)|