The contemporary German filmmaker Oskar Roehler can be considered a “postromance” director whose films obsessively present so-called single-generation protagonists who often blame their inability to maintain successful relationships on their generational predecessors, the 68ers. When considered individually, these films' relentless iteration of the same problem might come across as self-pitying auteurist expressions of oedipal lack. But by attending to the serial, indeed itinerative, logic of Roehler's oeuvre, this essay maps out how we are compelled to diagnose the failure afflicting an entire generation in his films as assuming the affective force of necessary failure and, as such, utopian hope. Although individual films never offer up their utopia as “realistically” obtainable, the sensation of utopia emerging from within the itinerative serialization of one and the same problem assumes an affective reality for viewers whose very subject position Roehler's films construct as belonging to the age of postromance.
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Marco Abel; Failing to Connect: Itinerations of Desire in Oskar Roehler's Postromance Films. New German Critique 1 February 2010; 37 (1 (109)): 75–98. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/0094033X-2009-018
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