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CANCELLED: Speaking With Arendt: TV and the Theatricality of Interviewing on “Zur Person”

Stefanie Diekmann, Institut für Medien, Theater und Populäre Kultur, Universität Hildesheim

October 1, 2018 · 4:30 pm6:00 pm · 205 East Pyne

Department of German, Committee on Film Studies

On October 26th, 1964, Hannah Arendt appeared on Günter Gaus’ TV Show “Zur Person” to be interviewed about her work and publications. The interview, more than one hour long, is a fascinating document, not only of Arendt as a philosopher and conversationalist, but of the underlying attempt to re-establish (or rather, to invent) a conversational tradition that had been all but destroyed under the Nazi regime.

In “Zur Person,” the most famous of West German talk shows well into the 1970’s, this happens not just by way of of dialogical interaction but also on the level of decor (sparse and austere), mise en scène (the quintessential setting of intellectual conversation, including little more than two easy chairs, water glasses and, of course, a large ashtray), camera work (a discrete cinematography of carefully negotiated angles and distances, with a skeptical approach towards the closeup) and montage (largely determined by the rhythm and pauses of the conversation, thus representing the subordination of image to speech). The focus of this talk will be the ‘theatricals’ of the Arendt interview and their comparison with the audiovisuality of other ‘on camera’ interviews of the 1960s, both on TV and in documentary film.

This event will be rescheduled.

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