Dr. Marco Abel, Professor of English and Film Studies, will lead a movie talk following the 5:15 p.m. screening of I WAS AT HOME, BUT... on Tuesday, March 3.
Dr. Marco Abel will lead a movie talk following the 5:15 p.m. screening of I WAS AT HOME, BUT... on Tuesday, March 3. Tickets to the film screening are at regular Ross prices.
Marco Abel is Professor of English and Film Studies, Courtesy Professor in Department of Communication Studies, and chair of the English Department at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. As recipient of an American Academy in Berlin Prize, he was the Dirk Ippen Fellow in fall 2019. He is the author of two books and over fifty articles, as well as co-editor of three books, three journal issues, dossiers, or sections, and the University of Nebraska book series Provocations (together with Roland Végső).
He specializes in critical / poststructuralist / (neo-)Marxist theory as well as film history and film theory. Common to all of his work—whether on German cinema, violence in literature and film, affect theory, or global cinema’s engagement with the revolutionary events of the “long 1968” and the question of political cinema—is Dr. Abel’s interest in theorizing images from what one might call an a-signifying perspective. Rather than assuming that images re-present a preexisting world against which we can measure and evaluate an image’s meaning, veracity, morality, and political viability, he approaches signs—cinematic or otherwise—from the idea that images are first and foremost “just images, not just images” (Jean-Luc Godard): images have force and do things, but they do not—at least not primarily—bear or represent meaning; images work by their constitutive intensities and affects rather than by re-presenting something in a way that may or may not be just or justified. Hence, the question he always asks about images is less, “What does it mean?” than “How does it work?” and “What does it do?”
I Was at Home, But... tells the story of Astrid (Maren Eggert), a forty-something mother of two, struggling to regain her balance in the wake of her husband’s death. Her adolescent son Phillip (Jakob Lassalle) disappeared for a week and now that he has returned, he faces disciplinary action at school and his toe requires amputation. As new questions confront Astrid from every angle, even simple activities like buying a bicycle or engaging with a work of art, are fraught with unexpected challenges.
In her signature elliptical style and with a gentle sense of humor, Angela Schanelec weaves together these narrative strands and more—a school production of Hamlet, a pair of teachers deciding whether to start a family, a donkey and a dog who share a home—to create an indelible picture of a small community grappling with fundamental questions of existence.