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Why Film History Should Not Repeat Itself

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  • Philosophy
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Microsoft Word - Stan Jones.docx Film-Philosophy 1.1 1997 Stan Jones Wim Wenders: The Inside Story Robert Phillip Kolker and Peter Beicken The Films of Wim Wenders: Cinema as Vision and Desire Cambridge University Press, 1993 ISBN: 0-521-38976-3 197 pp. 'The excess of self-consciousness in both the characters and their creator is striking. Wenders wanders through the imaginary of film history, attempting to find cinematic fathers and re-create images that will validate and make sufficient a narrative about characters who struggle to turn their lives into pictures and stories.' (42-3) Kolker and Beicken have written a sort of 'Pilgrim's Progress' about Wenders and, as their sub-title has it, the 'Vision and Desire' of his filmmaking. Their book is a mono(duo?)graph which does have its own voice. With Wings of Desire and Until the End of the World (they do not use the original German titles) they quit him as he 'leaves behind the road to the city of dreadful night' (166) and 'seeks the heimatization of the self' (164). The way they make an ur- German noun, Heimat, do duty as a verb in English says a lot about the style of their account. By and large it avoids the jargons of media sociology, aesthetics, cultural studies and so on, although it can copy the gesture of jargon in such coinages. It is subjective and cinephilic -- aimed at the Anglo-American cineaste market that may be receptive to auteurs like Wenders but may not have direct Film-Philosophy 1.1 1997 access through its language to the culture from which they originate. Their analysis is very different from Norbert Grob's Wenders (Edition Film, 1991) which presents Wenders exclusively as a German filmmaker for a German readership. Whilst Grob's response is an equally personal monograph, he makes no reference to what Kolker and Beicken call: 'a past too frightful to remember and a present eagerly offering the means to forget' (29)

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