BG Theater and Performing Arts

Chronik des europäischen Theaters: von der Antike bis zur Gegenwart; mit umfassender Bibliographie [Chronicle of European Theater from Antiquity to the Present, with an Extensive Bibliography]. Wolfgang Beck. Stuttgart; Weimar: Metzler, 2008. 355 p. 24 cm. ISBN 978-3-476-02295-0: EUR 19.95 [08-1/2-215]

The substance of this newly published chronology of European theater was taken with little change from the index volume of Manfred Brauneck’s six-volume standard work Die Welt als Bühne: Geschichte des europäischen Theaters [The World as Stage: A History of the European Theater] (Stuttgart, 1965).

The chronology was updated to include the years 600 BC to 2007, but the bibliography was not, and seems to be identical to that in volume 6 of the original work. The history is presented in two columns: the left-hand columns contain years for people and performances in the history of European theater, and the right-hand columns display important historical dates, international political events, and important developments in all aspects of theater studies. The chronological lists are comprehensive and factual, but the presentation does not offer context in the form of analytical essays or footnotes.

The bibliography covers the history of theater in general, the history of theater by country and period, and the history of related performance types such as ballet, pantomime, street theater, cabaret, revue, variété, and circus; theater for children is included, but not treated comprehensively. The two-page table of contents serves as the index to the volume; a more comprehensive alphabetical index would have been desirable.

The work is a useful reference work for the seasoned theater student, but a serious course of study would have to include the original six-volume set on European theater mentioned above. [hjb/hm]

Zwischen Bühne und Baracke: Lexikon der verfolgten Theater, Film und Musikkünstler 1933 bis 1945 [Between Stage and Prison Camp: A Dictionary of Persecuted Artists in Theater, Film, and Music, 1933 to 1945]. Kay Weniger. Berlin: Metropol Verlag, 2008. 447 p. ill. 24 cm. ISBN 978-3-938690-10-9: EUR 28 [08-1/2-216]

This biographical dictionary is a continuation of Kay Weniger’s eight-volume Das große Personenlexikon des Films (see RREA 8:159), whose subtitle includes: Actors, Directors, Camera Crews, Producers, Composers, Scriptwriters, Film Architects, Costume Designers, Cutters, Sound Technicians, Make-up Artists, and Special Effects Designers.

In his introduction to Bühne und Baracke, Weniger explains the scope of the dictionary by focusing on the many triggers for persecution in Nazi Germany and the German occupied zones: being Jewish or ethnically different, having alternative or critical political points of view, participating in protest actions, being the innocent victim of intrigue and lies, or simply having contact with any targeted individual. The dictionary contains 500 biographies of persecuted artists in theater, film, and music; the biographies for film artists that were already included in the 2001 volume referenced above are updated and expanded; the biographies of persecuted music and theater artists are new and original entries.

The dictionary is divided in three parts: (1) “Celebrated, Shunned, Murdered” provides two-page biographies; (2) “Shining a Light on Nazi Victims” covers mainly musicians and actors and includes a filmography for each film artist; (3) “In the Machinery of the Regime” is devoted to a more detailed curriculum vitae of selected persecuted artists. The volume concludes with an exhaustive list of sources and archives and a table of contents of artists contained in the three parts of the dictionary.

The dictionary does not include artists living and working in exile; it is not a comprehensive listing of all artists who suffered under the Nazi regime; and it does not provide an equal amount of information for artists in film, theater, and music. Its overall merit lies in bringing forth many names of up-to-now forgotten or neglected artists, including many who survived persecution and remained in Germany after World War II but were never able to restart their careers. The short but detailed life stories of artists who are not included in any other dictionary are an inspiring reminder of research to be done on this topic in the future.

In his preface to the dictionary Paul Spiegel, president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, rightly praises Weniger’s research as a tool against forgetting. The volume should be a standard work of reference in any library. [wub/hm]

Filmregisseure: Biographien, Werkbeschreibungen, Filmographien [Film Directors: Biographies, Productions, Filmographies]. Ed. Thomas Koebner. 3d rev. and expanded ed. Stuttgart: Reclam, 2008. 860 p. ill. 22 cm. ISBN 978-3-15-010662-4: EUR 36.90 [08-1/2-221]

This dictionary offers a selection of 209 essays on German film directors. Each entry includes an up-to-date biography, a detailed evaluation of the director’s most important artistic endeavors and works, a discussion of the director’s films in the context of cinema studies and the history of German film, a filmography, a selected bibliography, and selected black-and-white portraits and movie stills.

The first edition (2000) was covered in RREA 6:173. For this third edition the editor deleted 24 entries, including those for Günther, Klein, Kluge, Lilienthal, and Trotta, and added 34 entries, such as those for Dresen, Graf, Haneke, and Tykwer. All entries were brought up to date, and the overall size of the volume compared to earlier editions was increased by 80 pages. The dictionary is arranged alphabetically and does not include a name or title index.

This dictionary does not substitute for standard comprehensive film dictionaries that easily include twice as many film directors from Germany, but the length and scope of the entries serve as an authoritative and meticulously researched introduction to German film. [wub/hm]

Dictionnaire théorique et critique du cinéma [Theoretical and Critical Dictionary of the Cinema]. Jacques Aumont and Michel Marie. 2d rev. ed. Paris: Armand Colin, 2008. 300 p. 24 cm. (Dictionnaire). ISBN 978-2-200-35128-1: EUR 30.80

An RREA Original Review by Michelle Emanuel (University of Mississippi)

The second edition of Aumont and Marie’s Dictionnaire adds over 100 new entries written since the first edition in 2005. The authors recognize the proliferation of university-level cinema studies over the last 40 years and provide the reader with an introduction to the vocabulary of intelligently discussing what the French call le septième art [the seventh art], whether from a theoretical perspective, from the production side, or from a critical perspective, the “studies” side. Limiting its focus to proper names and technical terms, this dictionary is not comprehensive, which is acknowledged in the introduction. Like the original work, the revised edition targets both the cinephile (a term with its own entry) and the cinema student.

Varied topics such as artists (Alfred Hitchcock, Eric Rohmer), organizations (AFRHC), specific terminology used by film critics (Cinema Novo) or filmmakers (establishing shot), and philosophical or artistic concepts (phenomenology, surrealism) are defined in clear language, with suggestions for further research. Cross-references are included to entries for similar topics. The book ends with a bibliography of works cited, an index of proper names, and a thematic index. Whether the reader is new to cinema or just wants to know the French equivalents of film concepts, this collection is recommended.

Dictionnaire historique du cinéma à Saint-Étienne [Historical Dictionary of Cinema in Saint-Étienne]. Frédéric Zarch. Saint-Étienne: Publications de l’Université à Saint-Étienne, 2008. 258 p. ill. 21 cm. ISBN 978-2-86272-484-3: EUR 25 (DRV-Publications, 35 rue du 11 Novembre, 42023 Saint-Étienne, Cedex 2, France, fax 04-77-42-16-75, phone 04-77-42-16-60, e-mail: publications@univ-st-etienne-fr)

An RREA Original Review by Michelle Emanuel (University of Mississippi)

The French city of Saint-Étienne is southwest of Lyon, in the Loire Department, part of the Rhône-Alps Region. It is currently the 16th largest city in France. In this companion to the 2000 publication of Catalogue des films projétés à Saint-Étienne avant la Première Guerre mondiale [Catalog of Films Projected in Saint-Étienne before the First World War], Zarch examines the cinematic activity of the city from the first projection in April 1896. Using both departmental and municipal archives, the work serves as an urban history as much as it is a history of cinema; it differs from the conventional approach of studying a style of cinema or a particular decade of filmmaking or filmgoing.

The work’s entries include biographical profiles, anecdotes about local venues, and specialized notes. In addition to an A-to-Z listing, there are attendance data and a chronology of cinematic events in Saint-Étienne, as well as an index and bibliographical references. The “Annexes” [supplemental] section includes a fascinating list of films interdits [forbidden films] for the year 1942, as well as administrative documentation from the Loire Department about screening films to minors. This dictionary is not for the average academic collection due to its highly specialized nature, but it could be appropriate in a film library. It may also be useful for institutions with strong programs in 20th-century French history or French regional history.

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Last update: April 2011 [LC]
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