Focusing on the German discussion about film between 1907 and 1914, this article explores efforts to fathom film technology's ability to provide access to a spiritual dimension. Some commentators argued that film technology facilitated novel forms of creative expressivity that transcended physical reality. They pointed to “tricks,” as special effects were known throughout the silent era, and their role in visualizing subjective experiences and supernatural events as evidence of technology's triumph over its confinement to outside appearances. These “technoromantic” lines of argument conceptually amalgamated technophilia and romantic commitment to the supersensible. As this article suggests, the technoromantic outlook is a key characteristic not only of silent film cultures but of modernism more generally.

You do not currently have access to this content.