New German Cinema: A History
Thomas Elsaesser, New German Cinema: A History (London/Basingstoke: Macmillan, and New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1989) 430 pp, ill. (2nd edition, 1994).
The simultaneous international success in the 1970s of such film-makers as Fassbinder, Herzog and Wenders led critics to talk of a 'New German Cinema'. Thomas Elsaesser's book is the most comprehensive and illuminating study yet produced of this major movement in world cinema.
Thomas Elsaesser, Robert Kievit, Jan Simons (eds), Double Trouble: Chiem van Houweninge on Writing and Filming (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 1994) 197 pp.
Double Trouble highlights the career of Dutch scriptwriter and television producer Chiem van Houweninge, well-known for his long-running TV comedy series and as author of episodes for TV detective series. Double Trouble gives Van Houweninge's own views on writing and filming in television prime importance, in the context of the history of popular television and his scriptwriting classes at the University of Amsterdam. This is completed by a round-table discussion with other writers about the double tasks of scriptwriting and producing.
Writing for the Medium
Thomas Elsaesser, Jan Simons and Lucette Bronk (eds), Writing for the Medium: Television in Transition (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 1994) 220 pp.
This collection of essays, by well known writers on the subject of writing for television, is divided into three sections, with the first one devoted to the debates on quality television. The second one focuses on literature and television. The final section examines 'Science on television', with series editors from Britain and Germany giving first-hand accounts of the scope for serious science reporting on television.
A Second Life
Thomas Elsaesser (ed.), A Second Life: German Cinema's First Decades (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 1996), 352 pp.
German cinema is best known for its art cinema and its long line of outstanding individual directors. The double spotlight on these two subject has only deepened the obscurity surrounding the popular cinema. German Cinema performs a kind of archaeology on a period largely overlooked: the first two decades of German cinema. This collection of essays by established authors refocuses the terms of a debate that will develop in the years to come concerning the historical and cultural significance of popular cinema in Wilhelmine Germany.
Cinema Futures: Cain, Abel or Cable?
Thomas Elsaesser and Kay Hoffmann (eds), Cinema Futures: Cain, Abel or Cable? The Screen Arts in the Digital Age (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 1998) 312 pp. [Korean translation: Seoul, 2002]
In the late 1960s, the cinema was pronounced dead. Television, like a Biblical Cain had slain his brother Abel. Some thirty years later, a remarkable reversal: rarely has the cinema been more popular. And yet, rarely has the cinema's future seemed more uncertain. Cinema Futures: Cain, Abel or Cable? presents a careful and forceful argument about predictions that tend to be made when new technologies appear.
The BFI Companion to German Cinema
Thomas Elsaesser (ed.), The BFI Companion to German Cinema (London: B Film Institute, 1999), 220 pp.
The BFI Companion to German Cinema is a concise and authoritative source of reference. Over two hundred entries on film actors, directors, producers, cinematographers, critics, film industry, film movements and festivals covers the entire spectrum of German-speaking cinema from the 1890s to the popular comedies of the 1990s.