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The Europeanization of Cinema

The Europeanization of Cinema: Interzones and Imaginative Communities

Copyright Date: 2014
Pages: 272
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  • Book Info
    The Europeanization of Cinema
    Book Description:

    In this innovative study, German and film studies scholar Randall Halle advances the concept of "interzones" as a mechanism for analyzing European cinema. Interzones, he explains, are geographical and ideational spaces that develop from border crossing in the broadest sense. They are places of transit, interaction, transformation, and contested diversity. Halle explicates this innovative concept by reinvigorating the theory of the cinematic apparatus, exploring anew the relationships between cinema and the social order. Focusing especially on films about borders, borderlands, and cultural zones, he shows how interzones have manifested in distinct periods of cinema history. Early Central European cinema, he argues, builds interzones by exploring the tensions and points of connection between German, Russian, and Turkish imperialism on the one hand and nation building on the other. Following World War II and the Cold War, the focus shifts to moments of "first contact" between former antagonists: Germany and Poland, East and West Germany, and the like. Documentaries of these moments, Halle asserts, literally envision relationships that prefigure today's interzonal Europe. That Europe emerges in twenty-first-century cinema, which uses handheld cameras, digitization, and other technological advancements to probe questions of spatial relations, migration, globalization, and transnationalism. The interzones of European films distributed overseas, and of African and Asian films co-sponsored with European funds, raise equally important issues of neocolonialism and cultural imperialism. Ultimately, Halle argues that today's cinema both produces and reflects imaginative communities. He demonstrates how, rather than simply erasing boundaries, the European Union has instead fostered the cognitive (as opposed to geopolitical) mapping of points of distinction and of solidarity. The result is a network of cultural interzones, depicted in and engendered by films that explore the new Europe's processes and limits of connectivity, tolerance, and cooperation.

    eISBN: 978-0-252-09633-4
    Subjects: History, Film Studies

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-x)
  4. Introduction. The Idea of Bridges and the Image of Roads: Culture and Space
    (pp. 1-28)

    Traveling along the Oder-Neisse rivers that form the border between Germany and Poland, one confronts a series of ruins, bridge supports standing on the banks and in the water of the rivers, with the spans that once stretched over them missing. The retreating forces of the Third Reich blew up these bridges to hinder the advance of the Soviet army. This measure may have served a purpose in the Spring of 1945 when the water was higher, but in the summer weather much of the Neisse dwindles to a level where it is possible simply to step broadly from sandbar...

  5. CHAPTER 1 The Film Apparatus
    (pp. 29-55)

    The towns of Aurith and Urad lie across from each other on the banks of the Oder/Odra river. They had once been a single town, Aurith, connected by a ferry. The western, lower side had been the site of the farmlands, while the eastern, higher side, had been the primary site of the town itself. A ferry had connected the sides, taking farmers and livestock back and forth between the narrow banks of the shallow river daily. The declaration of the river as the border between Poland and Germany sealed the town’s division into two separate fates. The ferry was...

  6. CHAPTER 2 Interzone History
    (pp. 56-75)

    The previous chapter focuses on the cinematic apparatus. We considered the debates and the possibilities of revising apparatus theory and we explored how the cinematic apparatus participated in the large social reconfiguration that took place in the post–Cold War era: the East West Central European film apparatus. We discovered the possibility of considering the period of the 1990s as unleashing a process of Europeanization that developed European audiovisual production within a common apparatus. Harmonization, synergy, and subsidiarity were explored as characteristics defining the “state” apparatus structuring European economic, political, and cultural union. Throughout the discussion the complex connectivity of...

  7. CHAPTER 3 Contiguous: The German-Polish Interzone
    (pp. 76-107)

    We attend to the interzones that conciliate because we cannot assume that neighbors have contact with each other or that people living side by side will communicate with each other. Interzones are more than and less than points of contact; they are the spaces where that which is sundered, rent, and divided, adjusts, concedes, compounds, and ameliorates; the interzone is that space in which a negotiation of difference transpires. This negotiation allows contact between and among those who would otherwise not find themselves on common ground. In Posen in the early part of the twentieth century, precisely during that period...

  8. CHAPTER 4 Interzone Dis/continuous: The Borders of Europe
    (pp. 108-128)

    Borders are first ideational before they are spatial geographical. The liberation of the camera, the ability of the moving image to move in space, is crucial here. Cinema, the cinematic apparatus, provides an edifice whereby the imagination of spatial and geopolitical relationships come together. As an aspect of the cinematic apparatus, we can consider how visual aesthetic strategies, technological innovations, and social policy result in images with particular angles and perspectives. Choices of depth of field, establishing shot, and a distant or proximate frame position spectators vis-à-vis the image but also within an entire imaginative world of affective possibilities. The...

  9. CHAPTER 5 “Outside” Europe
    (pp. 129-150)

    The last chapter considered the EU’s border as mobile; its exterior can never be fixed or made permanent. Where would European culture find its limits? Does European culture end at the Urals? Or does it spread further to fill out the borders of Russia? Has Algeria, once a department of France, remained part of the Francophone world yet lost its relationship to European culture? When the Portuguese or the British describe trips to Europe, is their journey further than the voyage to or from Surinam, French Guiana, or the Cayman Islands? Which part of Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the United...

  10. CHAPTER 6 Interzone Xperimental: Migration and Moving Images
    (pp. 151-182)

    To describe the interzone as communicative space, much as a communicating door unites two rooms, points to an experience of contact. It makes sense to scour our immediate borders for places where people cross and come into contact with those on the other side. Yet the border between states is only a single and limited example of the possibilities of communication. Indeed, as Derrida’s discussion of communication reminded us, the propensity of communication is to reach across space and time with a certain infinite grasp.¹ And in his sublation of the difference between spoken and written communication, Derrida also pointed...

  11. Conclusion
    (pp. 183-192)

    It is a point of consideration, in the current moment when transnationalism as a term isvery envogue, how odd it is that the majority of research on culture that invokes the term transpires nevertheless within rather rigid national parameters. Studies of “transnational” German, Japanese, or Brazilian literatures or cinemas create for themselves a conundrum that cannot be properly studied within their own parameters: if it is transnational, it cannot be assessed within national parameters. Therefore, this book has been all over the place, and that is the point.

    To recognize the relationship of the cinematic apparatus to the social...

  12. Notes
    (pp. 193-202)
  13. Bibliography
    (pp. 203-216)
  14. Index
    (pp. 217-224)
  15. Back Matter
    (pp. 225-230)