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Stan Douglas and the "New-Old" Film


Stan Douglas and the "New-Old" Film

Lyons, Steve (2010) Stan Douglas and the "New-Old" Film. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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After the fall of the Berlin wall and the reunification of Germany, the former UFA film studios in Potsdam-Babelsberg were sold by the government to a French conglomerate, and a number of its oldest studios were either demolished or repurposed. In 1994, Canadian artist Stan Douglas produced the two-channel black and white film installation Der Sandmann in one of these old studios. Douglas’s film utilizes an early cinematic special-effect called the “doppelgänger trick”: a simple double-exposure which allows one actor to play opposite himself or herself on the film screen. This technique was first used in the German Expressionist silent film The Student of Prague (1913), and again in the second film version (1926), which was, not coincidentally, shot on the same UFA film lot as Der Sandmann. By imitating not only the aesthetic, but some of the technical limitations of The Student of Prague, Douglas engages in what film critic Marc Le Sueur might have recognized as “deliberate archaism”: a specific way of making nostalgia films that productively exploits both formal and technical features of films from the past. At the same time, Der Sandmann resists what Marxist cultural theorist Fredric Jameson reproaches as the ahistorical aesthetic of “pastness” that is produced and perpetuated by the nostalgia film. While Douglas directs us to the past, he does so for contemporary ends; he recodes the history of Expressionist cinema in order to explore the aftereffects of reunification on the former East Germany.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Fine Arts > Art History
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Lyons, Steve
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:Art History
Thesis Supervisor(s):Langford, Martha
Keywords:Stan Douglas, Der Sandmann, UFA, The Student of Prague, nostalgia film, deliberate archaism, art and cinema, cinematic, doppelganger trick, german expressionism, postmodernism, Fredric Jameson, Hal Foster
ID Code:6845
Deposited On:30 Sep 2010 13:13
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:29
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