Thomas Elsaesser (University of Amsterdam)
The Cinema in the 21st Century – Art-Form or a Form of Life?
The subject of this lecture will be the question–already marginally raised by writers on film as diverse as André Bazin, Stanley Cavell and Gilles Deleuze – of whether it makes sense to consider the cinema under a somewhat different aspect from the approaches that dominated the discussion in the first century: is it an art form? is it a language? does it provide the most immediate access to reality or is it merely a deceptive simulation of reality? The challenge will be to see in what ways Siegfried Kracauer can still serve as a guide.
Thomas Elsaesser is Professor Emeritus of Film and Television Studies at the University of Amsterdam and from 2006 to 2012 was Visiting Professor at Yale University. Currently, he is Senior Research Fellow at the IKKM in Weimar, Germany. He has authored, edited and co-edited some twenty volumes, several of which have been translated, notably into German, French, Italian, Hungarian, Hebrew, Korean and Chinese. Among his recent books as author are: Terror und Trauma (Berlin: Kadmos, 2007); Filmtheorie: Zur Einführung (Hamburg: Junius, 2008, with Malte Hagener); Hollywood Heute (Berlin: Bertz & Fischer, 2009); and The Persistence of Hollywood (New York: Routledge, 2012).