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164 SHOFAR Spring 2000 Vol. 18, No.3 silent film classic Die Nibelungen. Two-thirds of the book deals with Wagner and his struggle with dramaturgical questions (musical concerns remain largely absent); onethird is devoted to the film adaptation and the necessary translation of the central problem of narration into the terms of vision and visuality. Motivated perhaps by the desire for greater relevance, the postscript extends some ofthese ideas into contemporary film culture (e.g., Michael Verhoeven's The Nasty Girl), a somewhat puzzling and not entirely convincing move. The individual readings are largely informed by theoretical concerns and focus on the multi-layered reflection in the texts on the act of narration, whether in relation to specific representations, including ofcharacters coded as Jewish (e.g., Mime, Alberich, Hagen), or to the respective formal means (e.g., Wagner's use of language and his concern with dramaturgy, Lang's and Harbou's ambitions to tum film into the modem folk art). Here Levin relies heavily on psychoanalytic concepts (e.g., Freud on interpretation and reiteration), and, an almost obligatory reference in cultural studies today, Zizek (e.g., on fantasy and ideology). The author's insistence on locating the discourse of antisemitism in aesthetic registers offers a welcome departure from, and necessary complement to, more traditional studies that tend to focus on representations rather than representation as such. Therein lies the study's contribution to the study of antisemitism and, more generally, the discursive functions and aesthetic effects of alterity. The comparative perspective adds much to our understanding of the elusiveness ofracialized fantasies in high culture as well as popular culture. While a discussion of the very different cultural currency and historical reception ofboth works would have provided additional insights, Levin's discussion of Alberich and the recreation of the cinematic apparatus in the cave leaves us with a compelling image of Weimar cinema and the perceived threats to its artistic integrity, whether in the form of the Hollywood dream factory or the Jewish influence in Weimar culture as a whole. Well written and persuasively argued, the book will be of greatest interest to those familiar with, or interested in, the theoretization ofrace and identity in culture studies. Musicologists, on the other hand, will most likely be disappointed. Sabine Hake Department of German University of Pittsburgh Spielberg's Holocaust: Critical Perspectives on Schindler's List, edited by Yosefa Loshitzky. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1997. 250 pp. $39.95 (c); $17.95 (p). We may witness once again the galvanizing power of the motion picture and the significance of major Hollywood funding and distribution by the fuss and attention surrounding the release and reception of Schindler's List (1993), Steven Spielberg's Book Reviews 165 film version ofThomas Keneally's historical novel, Schindler's Ark(I 982). Indeed, one might have been forgiven for thinking that the subject ofthe Holocaust had hardly been broached by book, film, or television, given the intense public discourse that followed in its wake. New pushes for education about the Holocaust in U.S. public schools and a new incentive for recording the survivor's stories were only two of the most visible signs that the cinema, in the hands of a popular master, has enormous power and prestige. Serious scholars and students of the Holocaust and its cinematic representations might have similarly been forgiven if they felt a certain cynicism at Spielberg's highprofile film and subsequent public appearances. In choosing to film a Holocaust subject, Spielberg found a way, nevertheless, to deliver the requisite "Hollywood happy ending"; in choosing to make a film about the destruction of European Jewry, Spielberg's central protagonists are two gentiles: the heroically flawed Oskar Schindler and the demented but strangely sympathetic concentration camp commandant, Amon Goeth. During the production, distribution, and subsequent success of the film, Spielberg came out, as it were, as a Jew, thus reinforcing the notion that American Jewry comes into its own identity only as a function of the Holocaust. It's a tribute to editor Yosefa Loshitzky, a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Communication and Journalism at the Hebrew University ofJerusalem, and the sterling group ofauthors she has gathered together, that they...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1534-5165
Print ISSN
0882-8539
Pages
pp. 164-166
Launched on MUSE
2012-10-03
Open Access
No
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