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are two tropes referring to the basis of American national identity: the Declaration of Independence with its guarantee of equal and inalienable rights and the promise of an inexhaustible abundance of resources.
are also two American feature films directed by German émigrés, the first being a science fiction blockbuster from 1996 by Roland Emmerich, the second an independent road movie from 2003 by Wim Wenders.
There was not a single time that I have enjoyed this. The attacks will now have consequences for a specific genre and a specific kind of special effects.4 served as a negative foil for Wenders’s films after the terror attacks.
As a key element of American culture, Wenders recognizes an addiction to ever more radical image productions.
As early as the Spanish-American war, Teddy Roosevelt led the “Rough Riders” and was documented in a dramatic way on celluloid.
Although the footage was re-staged after the actual attack had happened, it set a new visual standard for how American presidents negotiate their public image with standardized representations of heroes.
The terms “Sehnsucht” and “Seh-Sucht” [yearning for and addiction to sights] describe this nexus perfectly well.
In order to stage the ultimate fight between the United States and an outside aggressor, Emmerich relies heavily on one of the oldest formulas which go back to biblical stories.
The deadly fight against the enemy follows along the lines of David and Goliath, the narrative pattern of an almost hopelessly inferior character who asserts himself against a superior power.
The lustful celebration of destruction in disaster and science fiction films acquired a transgressive character in light of the television sequences from the real site of destruction in downtown Manhattan.
“Die Bilder waren eindeutig zu weit gegangen,” Wenders explained – the images had clearly gone too far.3 Shortly after 9/11, he referenced the work of his fellow German émigré filmmaker Roland Emmerich, declaring that: because it sent a pleasant shiver down their spine and the towers of the World Trade Center had been destroyed already five times in film history.