This book represents the culmination of Thomas Elsaesser’s intense and passionate thinking about the Hollywood mind-game film from the previous two decades.
In order to answer what the mind-game film is, why they exist, and how they function, Elsaesser maps the industrial-institutional challenges and constraints facing Hollywood, and the broader philosophic horizon within which American cinema thrives today. He demonstrates how the ‘Persistence of Hollywood’ continues as it has adapted to include new twists and turns, as well as revisions of past concerns, as film moves through the 21st century. Through examples such as Minority Report, Mulholland Drive, Source Code, and Back to the Future, Elsaesser explores how mind-game films challenge us and play games with our perception of reality, creating skepticism and (self-) doubt. He also highlights the mind-game film's tendency to intervene in a complex fashion in the political moment by questioning the dominant power’s intent to program both body and mind alike.
Prescient and compelling, The Mind-Game Film will appeal to students, scholars, and enthusiasts of media studies, film studies, philosophy, and politics.
Table of Contents
Silvia Vega-Llona, "Prologue: Thomas Elsaesser and The Mind-Game Film" Warren Buckland, "The Mind-Game Film: Provenance of a Concept" Dana Polan, "Minding Hollywood" Seung-hoon Jeong, "Politicizing the Mind-Game Film" 1. On Mind-Game Films as Tipping Points: The Challenges of Cinema in the New Century 2. Too Late, Too Soon: Body, Time, and Agency 3. The Mind-Game Film 4. Time Travel Films: An Ethics of Redemption, Rescue, and Regret 5. The New Normal – Trauma as Successfully Failed Communication (NURSE BETTY 2000) 6. Saving Private Ryan 7. Philip K Dick, the Mind-Game film, and Retroactive Causality 8. Actions Have Consequences: Logics of the Mind-Game Film in David Lynch’s Los Angeles Trilogy 9. Zero Dark Thirty: Genre Hybridization as (Parapractic) Interference 10. Cinema and Games: Contingency as Our New Causality 11. Contingency, Causality, Complexity: Distributed Agency in the Mind-Game Film 12. The History of the Present as Paranoid Mind-Game
Thomas Elsaesser was Professor Emeritus at the University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Since 2013 until his passing in December 2019 he was Visiting Professor at Columbia University, USA, and from 2006 to 2012 he was Visiting Professor at Yale University, USA. Among his books as author are European Cinema and Continental Philosophy (2019), Film History as Media Archeology (2016), The Persistence of Hollywood (2012), Film Theory: An Introduction through the Senses (2010, 2015) co-authored with Malte Hagener, European Cinema: Face to Face with Hollywood (2005), Weimar Cinema and After (2000), Fassbinder’s Germany: History, Identity, Subject (1996), and New German Cinema (1989).