Artists Under the Big Top: Perplexed on TCM

I review the Facets DVD release of Alexander Kluge’s second feature Artists Under the Big Top: Perplexed for the Turner Classic Movies website.

The Elephant fixation of "Artists"

Alexander Kluge, one of the most active and outspoken godfathers of the New German Cinema in the 1960s, wanted to confront the moribund German film industry of old with new voices, fresh approaches and subjects relevant to the lives of its audiences. In many ways, that ideal (and the challenges associated with it) plays out in his second feature, Artists Under the Big Top: Perplexed (1967), with the circus standing in for the cinema (and perhaps every form of popular art).

Read the complete feature on TCM here.

Author: seanax

I write the weekly newspaper column Stream On Demand and the companion website ( I'm a contributing writer for Turner Classic Movies Online, Keyframe, Independent Lens, and Cinephiled, and the editor of Parallax View ( I've written for The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, The Seattle Weekly,, Senses of Cinema, Asian Cult Cinema, and Psychotronic Video, among other publications, and I am a contributing editor to Parallax View. I currently live and work in Seattle, Washington, with my two cats, Hammet and Chandler.

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