Lotte Eisner: writer, archivist, curator



This two-day symposium explores and celebrates the work and legacy of Lotte Eisner, author of the seminal text on Weimar silent film The Haunted Screen (orig.1952). A film critic, journalist and, for over thirty years, archivist at the Cinémathèque Française, Eisner, was born in Berlin in 1896  as the daughter of a wealthy assimilated Jewish family. She died in Paris in 1983, having fled there in 1933 and where she remained for the rest of her life. 



Eisner spent her life and career writing about other people and collecting and archiving their work, first as a journalist in Berlin and then as an archivist in Paris. This symposium is an opportunity to focus entirely on Eisner’s own outstanding contribution to film history, from her early days writing for the Film-Kurier in Berlin, through her books, The Haunted Screen, FW Murnau (1964) and Fritz Lang (1976), to her extraordinary thirty-five year career collecting and archiving for the Cinémathèque Française.



Following a preview screening at the Goethe-Institut London of Wim Wenders’ Palme d’Or-winning Paris Texas (1983-4), which he dedicated to Eisner, the symposium begins on Friday 26th October with an introduction and screening in the Birkbeck Cinema of Sohrab Saless’ extended film interview with Eisner, The Long Vacation of Lotte H. Eisner (1979). The event continues at King’s College London on Saturday 27th October with rare audio recordings of Eisner, and presentations from Professor Janet Bergstrom (UCLA), Professor Michael Wedel (Cinepoetics Berlin/Film University Potsdam), Naomi DeCelles (UC Santa Barbara) and Julia Eisner (King’s College London). The symposium focuses among other topics on Eisner’s writing on Murnau, and features a screening of Murnau’s City Girl (1930).


paris_texas_6-formatkey-jpg-w511.jpg

Paris Texas


The screening takes place on Wednesday 26 September, 19.00: Paris Texas (Wenders 1983/4): Goethe-Institut London, 50 Princes Gate, Exhibition Road, SW7 2PH (details here).


Beginning on Friday 26 October 2018 with an introduction and screening in the Birkbeck Cinema of Sohrab Saless’ extended film interview with Eisner, The Long Vacation of Lotte H. Eisner (1979) the symposium continues at King’s College London on Saturday 27th with rare audio recordings of Eisner, and presentations from Professor Janet Bergstrom (UCLA), Professor Michael Wedel (Cinepoetics Berlin/Film University Potsdam), Naomi DeCelles (UC Santa Barbara) and Julia Eisner (King’s College London). The symposium focuses among other topics on Eisner’s writing on Murnau, and features a screening of Murnau’s City Girl (1930). 



Friday 26 October, 18.00: Birkbeck Institute for the Moving Image, Birkbeck Cinema, 43 Gordon Square, Bloomsbury, London WC1H 0PD (directions here).  If you wish to attend this event, please register here.


Saturday 27 October, 9.30 – 18.00: Nash Lecture Theatre, Room K2.31, King’s Building, King’s College London, Strand, London WC2R 2LS (directions here).  If you wish to attend this event, please register here.


The programme for the symposium is available to download here.


The organisers gratefully acknowledge the support of the Goethe-Institut London; DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service); Birkbeck Institute for the Moving Image (BIMI); King’s College London; and the German Screen Studies Network