Compared to the number of films devoted to nuclear war, the catastrophic nuclear accident never acquired its own cinematic genre. Disaster films about civilian nuclear accidents would seem perfectly poised to serve that function to nuclear power as a technology emblematic of recent neoliberal politics. This chapter examines three films in order to explore this hypothesis about the confluence of gothic representations and neoliberal politics within the realm of nuclear power. The films discussed include Gregor Schnitzler's Die Wolke, Andreas Prochaska's Der erste Tag, and Volker Sattel's Unter Kontrolle that that deal with nuclear power in the European context and from a uniquely German perspective. Die Wolke and Der erste Tag project the abolition of nuclear power into an imaginary future, either as the democratically desired result of the lesson learned from history or as the inevitable outcome of economic and political strictures.
Recursive and self-reflexive patterns in David Cronenberg’s Videodrome and eXistenZ
In an overview of David Cronenberg's career, the author has deliberately chosen Videodrome and eXistenZ as crucial turning points for several reasons. Both films share a host of thematic interests that extend beyond the scope of authorial consistency most critics are willing grant all of Cronenberg's films, even those not based on an original script by Cronenberg himself. David Thomson singles out Videodrome when he argues for the emergence of a self-reflexive turn in Cronenberg's films. Having appeared in brief cameos in directors' films, Cronenberg established a public persona in 1999 when he served a term as president of the jury at the Cannes Film Festival. It was a form of public recognition unthinkable for the man who had been dubbed the 'King of venereal horror' and 'Baron of blood' in the early years of his career.