Frank Kessler

German cinema is best known for its art cinema and its long line of outstanding individual directors. The double spotlight on these two subject has only deepened the obscurity surrounding the popular cinema. A Second Life performs a kind of archaeology on a period largely overlooked: the first two decades of German cinema. This collection of essays by established authors refocuses the terms of a debate that will develop in the years to come concerning the historical and cultural significance of popular cinema in Wilhelmine Germany.
What have Lumière in common with Wachowski? More than one hundred years separate these two pairs of brothers who astonished, quite similarly, the film spectator of their respective time with special effects of movement: a train rushing into the audience and a bullet flying in slow motion. Do they belong to the same family of “cinema of attractions”? Twenty years ago Tom Gunning introduced the phrase “cinema of attractions” to define the essence of the earliest films made between 1895 and 1906. His term scored an immediate success, even outside the field of early cinema. The present anthology questions the ...

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