Paper $49.95 ISBN: 9789089645845 Will Publish July 2016 For sale only in the United States, its dependencies, the Philippines, and Canada
Cloth $124.00 ISBN: 9789089645852 Published July 2014 For sale only in the United States, its dependencies, the Philippines, and Canada

Walter Ruttmann and the Cinema of Multiplicity

Avant-Garde - Advertising - Modernity

Michael Cowan

Walter Ruttmann and the Cinema of Multiplicity

Michael Cowan

Distributed for Amsterdam University Press

340 pages | 96 halftones | 6 x 9 | © 2014
Paper $49.95 ISBN: 9789089645845 Will Publish July 2016 For sale only in the United States, its dependencies, the Philippines, and Canada
Cloth $124.00 ISBN: 9789089645852 Published July 2014 For sale only in the United States, its dependencies, the Philippines, and Canada
A key figure in early avant-garde cinema, Walter Ruttmann was a pioneer of experimental animation and the creative force behind one of the silent era’s most celebrated montage films, Berlin: Symphony of a Great City. Yet even as he was making experimental films, Ruttmann had a day job. He worked regularly in advertising—and he would go on to make industrial films, medical films, and even Nazi propaganda films.

Michael Cowan offers here the first study of Ruttmann in English, not only shedding light on his commercial, industrial, and propaganda work, but also rethinking his significance in light of recent transformations in film studies. Cowan brilliantly teases out the linkages between the avant-garde and industrial society in the early twentieth century, showing how Ruttmann’s films incorporated and enacted strategies for managing the multiplicities of mass society.

Winner of the 2014 Willy Haas Award for an outstanding contribution to the study of German cinema.
Contents

Introduction. Avant-Garde, Advertising and the Managing of Multiplicity

Chapter 1. Absolute Advertising: Abstraction and Figuration in Ruttmann’s Animated Product Advertisements (1922-1927)

•           Introduction

•           Absolute Film and the Psychophysical Image: Ruttmann’s Opus Films

•           Advertising Psychology and the Uses of Abstraction

•           From Abstraction to Figuration: Ruttmann’s Animated Advertisements in Context

•           Riding the Curve of Modernity’s Information Flows

•           Conclusion: Avant-Garde and the Governance of Perception

Chapter 2. The Cross Section: Images of the World and Contingency Management in Ruttmann’s Montage Films of the late 1920s (1927-1929)

•           Introduction

•           Montage and the Ordering of the Archive

•           From Science to Statistics: The Cross Section and Mass Society

•           The Cross Section and the Photographic Archive in Weimar Visual Culture

•           Ruttmann and the Filmic Cross-Section: Berlin. Die Sinfonie der Großstadt

•           Melodie der Welt and the Ordering of the World

•           Conclusion: Avant-Garde Between Statistical Order and the Spark of Chance

Chapter 3. Statistics and Biopolitics: Conceiving the National Body in Ruttmann’s Hygiene Films (1930-1933)

•           Introduction

•           Applied Statistics and the Hygiene Film

•           Managing the Masses: Feind im Blut

•           Picturing the “Volkskörper”: Blut und Boden

•           Conclusion: The Malleability of the Avant-Garde

Chapter 4. “Überall Stahl”: Forming the New Nation in Ruttmann’s Steel and Armament Films (1935-1940)

•           Introduction

•           The Continuity of Germanic Production: Metall des Himmels (1934)

•           The Surface of Nazi Design: Mannesmann (1937)

•           Mobilizing the Steel Body in Wartime: Deutsche Panzer (1941)

•           Conclusion: Molding the Masses

Conclusion. Of Good and Bad Objects

 

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