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Hermann Kappelhoff: The Politics and Poetics of Cinematic Realism

Through close analysis of films, German film professor Hermann Kappelhoff discusses the connection between poetics and politics.

Hermann Kappelhoff:
The Politics and Poetics of Cinematic Realism
Colombia University Press, 2015

"Realism" is a term that winds around everywhere, which is difficult to delineate, and which often confuses as much as it clarifies. The word often refers to a portrayal's allegiance to the reality that precedes the portrayal, but the meaning is entirely dependent on the context in which it is used – does one speak of individual or collective reality, physical or emotional, rational or irrational? Even if one were to clarify this, the term never seems to come completely beyond a certain semantic whims. The word "realism" has an ambiguity that makes it difficult to use.
But the unclearness of the term can also give it a special value. Recognizing that "realism" is something volatile, something historically and culturally situated, which is constantly up for debate, discussion and interpretation, the term can be used to critically discuss reality rather than just maintaining and conceptualizing a status quo.

Realism and idealism. When you talk about "realism" in connection with art, you can talk about a lot of strange things. A traditional point of reference has nevertheless been the dichotomy. . .

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Teaches film studies at NTNU Email endreeid@gmail.com

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