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The Cinema of Steven SoderberghIndie Sex, Corporate Lies, and Digital Videotape$
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Andrew deWaard and R. Colin Tait

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780231165518

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231165518.001.0001

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The (Bl)end of History

The (Bl)end of History

The Good German and the Intertextual Detective

Chapter:
(p.100) Chapter Six The (Bl)end of History
Source:
The Cinema of Steven Soderbergh
Author(s):

Andrew deWaard

R. Colin Tait

Publisher:
Columbia University Press
DOI:10.7312/columbia/9780231165518.003.0007

This chapter focuses on history as it is explored in the ‘intertextual detective’ that mediates the past through cinema in The Good German (2006). The Good German, a morality play about historical guilt, is experienced as a multiplicity of mediation, a story spanning the entire twentieth century split into ten-minute sections for each decade. Midway through The Good German, Levi, a disabled Jewish Holocaust survivor, offers Jake a camera, noting its defect, ‘The old ones used to turn the image upside-down in the viewfinder. Little mirror sets it right’. This exchange acts as a metaphor for the film itself, an attempt to reverse historical perception using cinematographic means. Soderbergh is not just shining a light into the abyss of American war crime complicity, but he is taking his camera with him and editing the footage together into a non-linear, intertextual blend of history itself.

Keywords:   The Good German, intertextual detective, historical perception, camera, twentieth century, historical guilt, war crime

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