Undoing the human in the films of Maren Ade

Dora Elizabeth Osborne*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Under the pressure of neoliberal society, Maren Ade's protagonists struggle to form and maintain human relationships, leaving them alienated and alone. Kitsch animal ornaments and potted plants seem to offer compensatory companionship to these lonely individuals, but this article argues that non-human others are used by Ade in more complex ways to decentre the normative idea of the human underpinning the social and economic order. It draws on postanthropocentric thought to read Ade’s three features to date—Der Wald vor lauter Bäumen (2003), Alle Anderen (2009), and Toni Erdmann (2016)—tracing the potential for becoming or becoming-with as a means of undoing socially prescribed identity and acknowledging our entanglement with non-human life.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)308-327
JournalSeminar: A Journal of Germanic Studies
Issue number3
Early online date17 Sept 2022
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2022


  • Animals
  • Post-anthropocentrism
  • Becoming
  • Neoliberalism
  • Der Wald vor lauter Bäumen
  • Alle Anderen
  • Toni Erdmann


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