December 5th, 2018
Salon of former Palais Dürckheim, Cranachstraße 47, Weimar

Front Lines of Community. A Postscript to Hollywood War Cinema Lecture by Hermann Kappelhoff

Hollywood war films open up a historical perspective in which the permanent battle over the boundaries of community can be reconstructed as an inner conflict within liberal democracy. Above all, they make us experience a “we,” which we can only belong to as spectators – remaining utterly excluded from the experiential world of the “we” of the films. But what kind of world is it that emerges as a common world for the spectator in the staging of the events of war? How does it relate to the shared world of human beings, from which we are banished without question as soon as a society has transformed itself into a society at war? And how can the film-analytical reconstruction of a sense of commonality, as it might confront spectators today in the Hollywood war films of an earlier time period, open up historical consciousness in the first place? In this lecture, I would like to elaborate on these questions in more detail, focusing on With the Marines at Tarawa (Louis Hayward, USA 1944), a combat report that had been commissioned by the US-government and was produced during World War II. Based on this example, I would like to show how the diverse ramifications of genre poetics can be explored as a network of experiential modalities that make history graspable as a continuous process of delineating the limits of community.