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LIVING GHOSTS: CHRISTIAN PETZOLD’S GESPENSTER-TRILOGIE
November 20, 2016 @ 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Presenting is Rory Bradley, Visiting Assistant Professor of German at Wake Forest University, who received his Ph.D. from the Carolina Duke Graduate Program in German Studies.
The term “ghost” commonly refers to the lingering spirit of a deceased person whose existence was marred by unfinished business. Trapped in a state halfway between life and death, the spirit is prevented from belonging properly to either the world of the living or the world of the dead. The films of German director Christian Petzold’s Gespenster–Trilogie (Die innere Sicherheit , Gespenster , and Yella ) are not populated by these sorts of ghosts, but by people who are still alive in the world without actually belonging in it. Marginalized in their relationships and actions, these living ghosts inhabit spaces that have become invisible because they have gone unseen. They eke out existences that are spectral because they have gone unlived. This clever inversion of ghost story tropes in Petzold’s films subsequently allows for a reconsideration of the conditions of possibility for living at all. If people live, but are never seen, are they truly alive?
Moderation: Jakob Norberg (Duke University, Department of German Studies)
(Co-Conveners: Duke University Department of Germanic Languages & Literature and the UNC Chapel Hill Department of Germanic and Slavic Languages & Literatures)