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Title: Politics and the moving image : contemporary German and Austrian cinema through the lens of Benjamin, Kracauer and Kluge
Author: Mukhida, Leila
ISNI:       0000 0004 5359 4332
Awarding Body: University of Birmingham
Current Institution: University of Birmingham
Date of Award: 2015
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This thesis charts the trajectory of a strand of film-theoretical optimism in texts by Walter Benjamin (1882-1940), Siegfried Kracauer (1889-1966) and Alexander Kluge (1932–) from different moments in the twentieth century; the empirical corpus looks to post-reunification German and Austrian cinema to find evidence of this theoretical optimism in contemporary filmmaking practices. The thinkers advocate the leftist-political potential of film to stimulate a critical mode of spectatorship, and are to varying degrees influenced by Brecht and the neo- Marxist politics of the \({Frankfurter Institut für Sozialforschung}\). The objective of this thesis is thus twofold. First, it illustrates the continuing relevance of the following principal strands in the film-theoretical texts of Benjamin, Kracauer and Kluge: the representation of the figure of the worker in the \(Arbeiterfilm\) genre; the possibilities and limits of capturing reality using different modes of realism; the imperative of challenging viewers in order to transform them from ‘consumers’ into collaborators; and, following on from this, notions of shock and distraction, focusing on Benjamin’s concept of the ‘Schockwirkung’. Second, it shows how this diachronic, neo-Marxist approach can continue to illuminate facets of the political in contemporary cinema by German-speaking directors in an age of advanced capitalism and digital reproducibility.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Institute for German Studies ; University of Birmingham ; German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: JA Political science (General) ; PN1993 Motion Pictures