The Work of Moving Through Nature: A New Materialist Reading of Human/Non-Human Interactions in Thomas Arslan's Gold (2013) and Kelly Reichardt's Meek's Cutoff (2010)
- German Studies Review
- Johns Hopkins University Press
- Volume 42, Number 1, February 2019
- pp. 79-102
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This article examines the relationship between human and nonhuman actors in Thomas Arslan's 2013 film Gold. Applying a New Materialist approach, I argue that by enlivening the rugged outdoor landscape, the filmmaker evokes an agentic nature, which is emblematic of the film's examination of historical power relations between immigrants and natives, men and women, and the human and nonhuman realms. Through an analysis of the film's resistance to such hierarchies, which it accomplishes by establishing mutual entanglements between different actors, and by drawing comparisons to similar aesthetic and thematic strategies in US filmmaker Kelly Reichardt's neo-western Meek's Cutoff (2010), I demonstrate that Arslan participates in a transnational aesthetic and political conversation about migration, the Anthropocene, and cinematic spatiality.