This article sheds light on Dominik Graf’s long-standing and often-overlooked engagement with the essay film since the mid-1990s. The article contends that his urban essays, his cinema and television essays, and his commemorative essays are driven by a reconstructive impetus that takes stock of the state of German cities, German media, and German society from the viewpoint of their “end.” In reading these three variations of his essay films as “architectures of images,” the article presents Graf and his collaborators as “collectors” and “combiners,” who not only (re)construct highly layered works out of archival materials that activate multiple public and personal histories at once but also elicit a larger reflection on the potential of moving images to capture these layered histories in their constant transformation.

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