Book Chapter

The mind-game film: Provenance of a concept


Thomas Elsaesser’s idea of the mind-game film crystallized in written form in 2006. Thomas emphasized in this 2006 paper that the mind-game film covers mainstream, independent, and avant-garde films from across the globe with similar aspects of style, narrative, and character-interaction. In this early formulation, he thought of mind-game films as complex hybrids of horror, science fiction, teen film, and film noir, in which fragments of these prior filmmaking trends interact with each other and are incorporated into the mind-game film. A few years after completing this extraordinary essay on Philip K. Dick, Thomas began rethinking his conception of the mind-game film. The concepts are key to Thomas’s discussion of mind-game films, but what is most important is that he discusses them in terms of his central concept of “productive pathologies”. Mind-game films “work through” paradoxes of representation and paradoxes of time.

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Buckland, Warren

Oxford Brookes departments

School of Arts


Year of publication: 2021
Date of RADAR deposit: 2021-04-21

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Related resources

This RADAR resource is the Accepted Manuscript of The mind-game film: Provenance of a concept
This RADAR resource is Part of The mind-game film: Distributed agency, time travel, and productive pathology [ISBN: 9780415968126] / by Thomas Elsaesser, Warren Buckland, Dana Polan, Seung-hoon Jeong (Routledge, 2021).


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