Book review: Michael Ballhaus, Bilder im Kopf

I reviewed the autobiography of Michael Ballhaus, the eminent cinematographer behind many of Martin Scorsese and Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s films, for The review also works as a short overview of Ballhaus‘ life and work. Again, it is in German, but whoever’s up to it: Here you go.

Article on the art and success of Disney’s „Frozen“

Frozen is the major mainstream animation musical film of the decade, not only because it busted almost all box office records but also because it has become a veritable cultural phenomenon in its own right, particularly among children. There are many reasons for it, with the academic debate just beginning: At bottom line, it is simply a good film that manages to evolve Disney’s classical narrato-aesthetic formula in surprisingly intelligent ways. And it is perhaps the first major Disney film to really hone in to the needs of its mainly female audience without falling into the oh-so worn princess clichés fairy tale films such as Snow White, Cinderella or Enchanted are notorious for. (Yes, it’s the first: Kiss the Frog tanked at the box office, and Tangled is, for all its merits, still based on a classical „True Love’s First Kiss“ formula.)

I have written an analysis-based article on the production history, style and cultural success of Frozen for the (German-language) Lexikon des Kinder- und Jugendfilms, a cornerstone of the German children’s film research landscape. Thankfully, I have been allowed to re-publish it for, making it accessible online for everyone who wants to know more about the movie whose songs dominated the musical repertoire of kids all over the world (and, accordingly, tortured the ears of the adults who had to suffer the endless song loops of „Let it Go“ and „Do you want to build a snowman?“). You can find the article here. (It’s written in German, though.)

Review on „Bild ist Text ist Bild. Narration und Ästhetik in der Graphic Novel“

Comics and grapic novels are becoming a major focus of German intermedia research, and children’s media scholars are no exception. I published a small review on the academic anthology Bild ist Text ist Bild. Narration und Ästhetik in der Graphic Novel on The volume, edited by Susanne Hochreiter and Ursula Klingenböck, collects a number of inspiring articles on various aspects in which narration and aesthetics figure in comics and graphic novels. Some scholars, such as Dietrich Grünewald or Bernd Dolle-Weinkauff, provide theoretical-historical reflections of the matter, while others attempt a more hands-on, analytic approach – some with a gender perspective. Very nice are the meta-comics of a number of comic book artists on the intricacies of thinking about comics academically. Fans of Scott McCloud’s marvelous Understanding Comics will be delighted. (The review is written in German language.)