The woman’s picture, the male trauma narrative, and mind-game films―three ways that American cinema tests the limits: of what victims can suffer, what the body can bear, and what the mind can understand. Usually considered both marginal and excessive, these genres, modes, or tendencies in contemporary Hollywood have more in common than might at first appear. They tell us much about the way America engages in dialogue with its own divided nature and nation, demonstrated across its most cherished and characteristic of art forms: the movies.
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Thomas Elsaesser is Professor of Film and Television Studies in the Department of Art and Culture at the University of Amsterdam. He is the author or editor of many books, including European Cinema: Face to Face with Hollywood, The Last Great American Picture Show: New Hollywood Cinema in the 1970s, New German Cinema: A History, The BFI Companion to German Cinema, and Weimar Cinema and After, also published by Routledge.
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