sinecine ISSN: 1309-5838

Abstract – The Mind-Game Film

The Mind-Game Film


Elsaesser takes a group of films that center on mind and related mental phenomena, believing that they are beyond genres and structures, and creates a new classification called “the mind-game film.” Such films, many of which have created their own cult audience, are divided into two categories: at one level there are puzzle-films, which hide key information from their main characters, their audience, and sometimes from both, and at the second level there are films that focus directly on mind in terms of some pathology (e.g., paranoia, schizophrenia, memory loss) or fantastic phenomena (e.g., entering another person’s mind). These films cause one to reconsider the relationship of a film to its audience by breaking down perceptions or creating solutions. Elsaesser attributes the cause of these films to new representative systems in the virtual world and to risk societies. The symptoms and the results of these causes are also examined.