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Publisher: University of California Press

ISBN: 9780520398818

Historical Turns examines the relation between cinema and the “crisis of historicism” widely diagnosed by German philosophers in the early twentieth century. Through bold new analyses of five legendary works of German silent cinema-The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, Destiny, Rhythm 21, The Holy Mountain, and Metropolis-Nicholas Baer argues that films of the Weimar Republic lent vivid expression to the crisis of historical thinking. With their experiments in cinematic form and style, these modernist films revealed the capacity of the medium to engage with fundamental questions about the philosophy of history. Reconstructing the debates over historicism that unfolded during the initial decades of moving-image culture, Historical Turns proposes a more reflexive mode of historiography and expands the field of film and media philosophy. The book excavates a rich archive of ideas that illuminate our own moment of rapid media transformation and political, economic, and environmental crises around the globe.