Fragmentation, Found Footage and Fallen Facades: New Austrian Film and Postmodern Anxiety

Dr. Robert von Dassanowsky
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There is a strong source of postmodernism currently evolving in Austria which is overtaking the nation’s traditionalist/modernist image. Film of course, is a major aspect of this new artistic energy, and it is telling that since the 1990s, New Austrian Film has captured the postmodernist imagination internationally, often disturbingly so. For with the opening of Eastern Europe, the return of Vienna as a hub of Central European culture, and the emergence of controversial regional and federal politics, there is much here for artistic reflection and transformation. The new Europe has allowed for the return of the polyglotism, multiculturalism, and even controversial politics to Austria. This flux inspires and drives the Austrian visual, and no other art can bring the postmodern "crisis of reason" and Austrian cultural multivalence to the masses as film does. It appears to be the goal of most, if not all Austrian filmmakers of the era to put the substance, no matter how discordant or unpleasant back into the "product."

The touting of Austria's multicultural legacy and the promotion of the nation as a reborn hub of an EU Mitteleuropa, is countered by images vacillating between xenophobia and self-hate, and representations of broad economic/social success is tempered by individual reaction ranging from latent dissatisfaction to despair. Poised against virtualization and the postmodern "anxiety of perceiving oneself as nonexistent," the new social critical film has quickly become the genre generally associated with current Austrian cinema. This paper will offer an examination of the shifting representation of Austrian national cultural identity, internal and external relationships, and the role of the medium in postmodern New Austrian Film.

Keywords: Austria, Film, Culture, Postmodernism
Stream: Analysing Artforms
Presentation Type: Virtual Presentation in English
Paper: Fragmentation, Found Footage and Fallen Facades

Dr. Robert von Dassanowsky

Associate Professor of German and Film Studies, Dept. of Languages and Cultures
Dept. of Visual and Performing Arts, University of Colorado

Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA

Robert von Dassanowsky is Associate Professor of German and Film Studies, Chair of the Department of Languages and Cultures and Director of Film Studies at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs. He is founding Co-Director of the Austrian American Film Association (AAFA) and founding Vice President of the International Alexander Lernet-Holenia Society. A widely published literary and film historian, poet and translator, Dassanowsky has also written for the stage and television, and is an independent film producer. He is the Editor of The Gale Encyclopedia of Multicultural America, Editorial Advisor to the International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers, Cinema Series Editor for the University Press of the South and a columnist for Austria’s cinema magazine, Celluloid. Dassanowsky serves on the boards of The International Experimental Film Exposition, the Denver British Film Festival, the executive council of the Modern Austrian Literature and Culture Association (MALCA), and is an elected member of the European Academy of Sciences and Arts. He was named the Carnegie Foundation/CASE U.S. Professor of the Year for Colorado in 2004 and was honored by the Austrian president in 2005. His most recent book, Austrian Cinema: A History, is the first comprehensive study of this national cinema in English.

Ref: A06P0552