The strangest of station names: changing trains with Kracauer and Benjamin (New Formations 61, Summer 2007)

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Publication date: August 1, 2007

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Barry Langford

Langford explores Kracauer and Benjamin’s mutual interest in urban landscape in film, and capitalist modernity’s obscuring of historical reality. He examines the metaphor of the railway as suggestive of Kracauer’s ambivalence toward film and modernity, via Walter Ruttman and Claude Lanzmann’s documentaries. Examining ‘Theory of Film’ (1960), Langford suggests it avoids ‘naive realism’ in favour of a tragic poetics of the real, indicated by the analysis of film’s concealed barbaric gaze.