Abstract

Benjamin Buchloh speaks with art historian Joseph Koerner about his first major film, The Burning Child (2014–2017). Written, directed, and produced by Koerner, the film tracks his search for the fate of his grandparents and their Viennese home, known only through a painting done by his exiled father in 1944, and traces the systematic destruction of the Jewish population in Vienna during the Nazi occupation. Koerner interweaves his personal journey with an investigation into the history of the Viennese interior and the birth of modern architecture through interviews with historians, architects, and artists. Koerner and Buchloh discuss the making of the film; its formal structure, major sites, and main characters; and how it grapples with urgent questions of memory, trauma, belonging, and the concept of home.

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