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Towards a Sebaldian Cinema

Fritz Lang M

Film still from Fritz Lang’s M (1931)

I urge you to scoot over to Adam Scovell’s website & blog Celluloid Wicker Man and soak in his excellent recent post “Echoes & Imprints: Towards A Sebaldian Cinema,” which is an edited transcript of a talk he gave at Norwich Castle on August 27, 2019 in conjunction with the exhibition “Lines of Sight: W.G. Sebald’s East Anglia.” Here’s how Scovell summarizes his own talk:

I’m going to talk about Sebald from three angles, all related to cinema. The first is to look at cinema as an influence on Sebald’s writing, his relationship to cinema and even his own shadow-career as a would-be screenwriter. Moving on from this, the second section will look at Sebald’s influence on cinema as a subject after his death, looking in particular at documentaries about the writer and how making cinema with his work as a subject affected the way in which filmmakers approached the medium. And, finally, with this somewhat symbiotic relationship defined, we’ll conclude by looking at the potential of a Sebaldian cinema in itself; a cinema influenced by his atmospheres and methodologies but which uses them to create new work.

It’s a very stimulating piece and includes several film clips, one of which is Scovell’s own short film Heavy Water. Make sure to scroll all the way to the end of the piece to find links to other pieces Scovell has written about Sebald.

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