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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

(p.100) Chapter Six The (Bl)end of History
The Cinema of Steven Soderbergh

Andrew deWaard

R. Colin Tait

Columbia University Press

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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