Movement and Performance in Berlin School Cinema

Movement and Performance in Berlin School Cinema

Olivia Landry
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 02/08/2019
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 978-0-253-03803-6
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Through a study of the contemporary German film movement the Berlin School, Olivia Landry examines how narrative film has responded to our highly digitalized and mediatized age, not with a focus on stasis and realism, but by turning back to movement, spectacle, and performance. She argues that a preoccupation with presence, liveness, and affect—all of which are viewed as critical components of live performance—can be found in many of the films of the Berlin School. Challenging the perception that the Berlin School is a sheer adherent of "slow cinema," Landry closely analyzes the use of movement, dynamism, presence, and speed in a broad selection of films to show how filmmakers such as Christian Petzold, Angela Schanelec, Thomas Arslan, and Christoph Hochhäusler invoke the pulse of the kinesthetic and the tangibly affective. Her analysis draws on an array of film theories from early materialism to body theories, phenomenology, and contemporary affect theories. Arguing that these theories readily and energetically forge a path from film to performance, Landry traces a trajectory between the two through which live experience, presence, spectacle, intersubjectivity, and the body in motion emerge and powerfully intersect. Ultimately, Movement and Performance in Berlin School Cinema expands the methodological and disciplinary boundaries of film studies by offering new ways of articulating and understanding movement in cinema.

Author Bio

Olivia Landry is Assistant Professor of German at Lehigh University.


“[This work] opens up new perspectives on how contemporary cinema employs movement and sensation to produce a new mode of embodied spectatorship.
 — Roger F. Cook, editor (with Lutz Koepnick, Kristin Kopp, and Brad Prager) of Berlin School Glossary: An ABC of the New Wave in German Cinema

“A new take on the cinema of the Berlin School that argues successfully against the rubric of ‘slow cinema’ as applicable to this school.”
 — Brigitte Peucker, author of The Material Image: Art and the Real in Film

“If you think you know what Berlin School cinema is, Olivia Landry’s scholarship brings an important critical turn to the canon of films. Beyond her theoretically informed and clearly written discussions of the Berlin School, Landry deftly weaves film, performance, and affect studies, making whole cloth for future scholarship.”
 — Randall Halle, author of The Europeanization of Cinema: Interzones and Imaginative Communities

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Table of Contents


Introduction: A Cinema Against Stasis

1. Media, Death, and Liveness

2. Theatricality Bleeds, the Presence of Dance

3. Between Movement and Affect: The Body’s Shared Point of Sense

4. Accelerating Performance: From Car Travel to Car Crash

5. Nina Hoss’s Performance of the Fugitive Body; or, What to Do with Movement

Conclusion: Performance on the Move