Oliver C. Speck

Associate Professor of Film Studies



Books Book chapters Articles Works in progress


Funny Frames: The Virtual in the Cinema of Michael Haneke. New York and London, Continuum: 2010.

Taking its cues from the cinematic innovations of Michael Haneke as they appear in the specificity of their cultural-historical context, Funny Frames: The Cinematic Concepts of Michael Haneke explores how a political thinking manifests itself in the oeuvre of the Austrian-born director, suggesting that the constant shifting of frames of reference in his films is needed to open up ethical perspectives. Well aware of the current discussions about virtuality, realism and cinema, the study takes up impulses from Deleuze’s and Derrida’s philosophy to create a unique and very political perspective on Haneke’s entire oeuvre.

Co-edited volume, New Austrian Film (with Robert von Dassanowsky, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs/UCLA), New York: Berghahn Books, 2011 (ISBN: 978-1-84545-700-6).

The articles collected in this book show that the Austrian exception is best understood as a paradoxical exception: what makes these films exceptional is the astuteness with which they analyze and represent an unexceptional and generalized postmodern condition. Yet it is the history, the very development of the New Austrian Film, the Nouvelle Vague Viennoise, the Austrian New Cinema, Vienna's Postmodern Neorealism – what ever it may be called – that is truly exceptional in the development of the contemporary Western and specifically European motion picture.

Der unter-sagte Blick: Zum Problem der Subjektivität im Film. St. Ingbert: Röhrig, 1999.

In my first book I discuss the value and limits of the known models of narratology, of Freudian psychoanalysis (as interpreted by Lacan, Irigaray, Kristeva, Bhabha and Jameson) and of the “dispositif”-theory by Baudry and Heath, aspects of the latter not having been discussed in Germany up to now. The appearance of subjective perspectivity in filmic texts follows a paradoxical logic: though seemingly set at the textual margins, subjectivity is the irreducible requirement (unhintergehbare Voraussetzung) for any synaesthetic narration in the film: formally as the coinciding of the axes of camera, action, and look/gaze (point of view-shot), in narrative terms as extradiegetic (voice-over) and in terms of content, as supplementary observation of an observer (the privileged viewer). The problem of intermediality so conceived is a tension between antagonistic discourses. With that the subjective point of view becomes a signature, a Derridean ‘Écriture,’ that, being part of the text itself, is continuously writing a commentary on the text. Subjectivity is then the allegory of the unreadability of the image so strikingly present. The results are relevant for a critical approach to narrative techniques in media such as ‘reality TV’ (an uninterrupted point of view-shot) and the voice-over -commentary of classical documentaries.

Book chapters

“Lemmy Caution als Bildner der Ich-Funktion: Intermedialität in Godards Alphaville,” in: Volker Roloff und Scarlett Winter, Hrsg. Godard Intermedial. Tübingen: Stauffenberg Verlag, 1997: 57-66. [download]

“Das Selbst erweist sich Referenz: Zitat in R.W. Fassbinders Filmen,” in: Andreas Böhn, Hrsg. Formzitat, Gattungsparodie, ironische Formverwendung: Gattungsformen jenseits von Gattungsgrenzen. Mannheimer Reihe/St. Ingbert: Röhrig, 1999: 199-223. [download]

“Lucky Strikes” in: Andrzej Gwozdz, ed., Filmorób: Czyli Kino Nieustajace Rainera Wernera Fassbindera, Kraków: Rabid, 2005, 157-72. [download]

“The New Order: Madness in the Cinema of Michael Haneke,” in: Rebecca Thomas, ed. Crime and Madness in Modern Austria: Myth, Metaphor and Cultural Realities. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Press, 2008: 461-78. [download]

“»Europa« als Kinogenre: Zur perspektivischen Identität von Sein und Sehen,” in: Frank Degler, ed. Europa Erzählen. St. Ingbert: Roehrig Verlag, 2008: 167-86.

“The Joy of Anti-Art: Subversion through Humor in Dada,” in: Gaby Pailer, ed. Subversions of Gender Identities through Laughter and the Comic in Literature, Film and Modern Media. Amsterdam: Rodopi Press, 2009: 371-81. [download]

“The Marriage of Past and Present: Intertextuality in Fassbinder and Haneke,” in: Stefanie Knauss / Alexander D. Ornella, eds. Michael Haneke and his Films. Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, 2010: 169-95.

“Overcoming Metaphysics in Three Easy Steps: Tom Tykwer's Lola rennt,” in: Jill Twark, ed. Humorous Strategies in Post-Unification German Literature and Film. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2011: 182-201.

“Thinking the Event: The Virtual in the Films of Michael Haneke,” in: Ben McCann and David Sorfa, eds. The Cinema of Michael Haneke. London: Wallflower Press, 2012: 46-61.

“Is Tarantino serious? The Twofold Image of the Auteur and the State of Exception,” in: Robert von Dassanowsky, ed. Quentin Tarantino’s Inglorious Basterds: A Manipulation of Metacinema. London/New York: continuum Press, 2012: 193-213.

Articles & Reviews

“What Do You Really Want From Zizek?” Film-Philosophy: Electronic Salon, 27 September 1998.

“Mastering the Major Discourse” Ephemera: Critical Dialogues on Organization, vol. 1 (2) 2001: 182-89. http://www.ephemeraweb.org/journal/

“Blue Velvet und das Ohrgan,” parapluie – elektronische Zeitschrift für Kulturen, Künste, Literaturen No. 20 Spring 2005.

“Young Toerless,” Film International # 16 / 2005:4, July 25, 52-53 (review).

“Parasites and Para-sites,” International Journal of Humanities, Vol. 2 No. 2, 2005: 909-18. [download]

“The Cesspool of Colonial Cinema: Coup de torchon by Bertrand Tavernier,” Studies in French Cinema, 6:3, Fall 2006, 207-217. [download]

“Untimely Films: Jacques Rivette and the Philosophy of the Fold” Australian Journal of French Studies, Vol. XLVII No. 2, May-August 2010 (Special issue on Jacques Rivette), 208-219.

“Self/Aggression: Violence in films by Michael Haneke,” Modern Austrian Literature. 43, No. 2,2010 (Special Issue on Michael Haneke), 63-80.

"Book Review: Butler, Erik. Metamorphoses of the Vampire," GERMAN QUARTERLY Summer 2012, 351-52.

Work in progress

Monograph: The Virtual and the Political in Cinema.

Textbook project: Beyond Identity: Introduction to World Cinema.

“Divine Drive: The déesse as Vehicle for Cultural Studies” (co-author Margaret Ozierski, Duke University), "Messianic Moments: The Paradox of the Anti-Fascist Leader," "Queer Quotes: The Gay Cliche in Fassbinder's Films"

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Speck portrait taken by Double Image Studio

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