Sunday, April 26, 2009

Group Post 8: Tracy and Lee

In Elsaesser’s essay regarding double occupancy, he says that double occupancy “wants to be the intermediate terms between cultural identity and cultural diversity, recalling that there is indeed a stake: politics and power, subjectivity and faith, recognition and rejection, that is, conflict, contest” (Elsaesser 110). How do you think these concepts, as well as the theme of homogenization that Elsaesser discusses in his essay, are reflected in the post-national films we watched this week? Are these ideas portrayed in a positive or negative light, and what does that in turn contribute to the film?

In “The Edge of Heaven” the tensions between nations in the European Union and nations not in the European Union is brought to light in the relationship between Lotte’s mother and Ayten. How does the film portray these tensions, and what solution or situation does it offer up? How does this relate to Elsaesser’s arguments about the European Union and its effect on the film industry and director’s motives?

In Elsaesser’s essay “ImpersoNations”, he discusses the concept of “self-othering” and self-reflexive irony that becomes apparent in post-national cinema and multinational culture. To what extent does “Irma Vep” feature these processes, taking into account the bizarre final sequence, and the relationships between Maggie and filmmakers? Do you think this act of self-reflection and self-mockery is unique to this genre, or is it found in other types of cinema?

How does post-national European cinema deviate from such genres as American Independent cinema (specifically “Do The Right Thing”, which features many similar concepts to European double-occupancy), third cinema, or counter-cinema? In response to section discussions last week, what do we do with all these genres, and what information does categorization into genres give the viewer? What is the benefit in creating a genre and how does it affect the course of cinema in history?


  1. In (kind of ) a response to the last question, I feel like maybe we are putting too much emphasis on categorization... I mean it is definitely very similar to what we can call "interstitial", maybe it even is a little less experimental.. but with a film like Irma Vep it is hard to really know what the differences are.
    Film genre distinction lines are slowly becoming more and more thin, especially in the "alternative" mode. Aren't we in a way putting borders around the very flexible genre of experimental and alternative cinema when we try to categorize it and give defined ideas of what it is supposed to be? Isn't it contradictory to try to define the alternative?
    I feel like it isn't even beneficial anymore, but its just like a commercial labeling...

  2. I have to agree with Daniela here--despite the differences between independent cinema and post-National European cinema, there are certainly similarities in terms of interstitial production. What exactly constitutes this difference as compared to any other sort of categorization that also shares similar production modes? It's a question that I think has an overall effect on everything we've studied thus far. By taking into account factors of narrative structure, cultural issues, self-referentiality, and film production, we've come to focus on films that have categorized themselves in ways that make genres much too small to accurately be called categories!

    I remember early on in the year when I was talking to Matt about these categories, he noted that there were probably many more exceptions to the rule than applications to the rule. It's just pretty funny, I guess.