By Greg Carlson
Kathleen Loock teaches American Studies and Media Studies at the University of Hannover. She writes about remakes, sequels, reboots, and seriality. Her recent publications include “Just When You Thought It Was Safe … : The Jaws Sequels,” “On the Realist Aesthetics of Digital De-Aging in Contemporary Hollywood Cinema,” and “Reboot, Requel, Legacyquel: Jurassic World and the Nostalgia Franchise.” Her video essay “Reproductive Futurism and the Politics of the Sequel” can be found at:http://mediacommons.org/intransition/reproductive-futurism-and-politics-sequel.
Greg Carlson: How did you get interested in movies?
Kathleen Loock: I was born and grew up in East Germany. I was nine when the Berlin Wall came down. So the typical American formative experience with film was not like mine. As far back as I can remember, I enjoyed movies. But I really started watching them seriously in my late teens and early 20s.
When I finished high school, I became an au pair for a year in Northbrook, Illinois. That’s when I started to go to the cinema regularly. I also got to know Blockbuster very well at that time.
GC: Was that your first visit to the United States?
KL: Yes. I applied for a scholarship to be an exchange student when I was fifteen and didn’t get it. So when I came a few years later, I went to the movies every week. Purchased a ticket for one show and then just stayed for the next movie and the movie after that.
GC: I can relate.
KL: It was also the first time I tried salty popcorn. That was not a thing in Germany. Unified Germany did have popcorn, but it was always sweet. Unsweetened popcorn was not introduced until much later, and there are still places where you can’t get salty popcorn. It took me some time to get used to butter and salt on popcorn, but I love it now.
GC: Do you remember the first movie you saw in the United States?
KL: I don’t, but I do remember this: I came in 1999 and had an orientation in New York. People were standing in line to watch “Run Lola Run.” I thought, “Americans are lined up to see a German movie?”
GC: I loved “Run Lola Run” so much that I went to see it on Friday. And then I went back to see it again on Saturday. And then one more time on Sunday.
KL: I never see a movie more than once in the cinema. But this phenomenon is part of what I study. Multiple viewings in the theatre is, of course, how films establish popularity.
GC: What movie makes you think of your time in America?
KL: “200 Cigarettes.” It left an impression on me and I haven’t seen it -- or found it -- since. I have looked for it from time to time with no luck. Another thing that struck me was how certain cable channels would repeat a movie multiple times a day or through a week. You turn on the TV and there it is. “Titanic” was on all the time. I always managed to turn it on when the ship was already sinking.
GC: Did your family have a VCR?
KL: My sister and I recorded…