Film scholar Thomas Elsaesser dies at seventy-six

Seventy-six-year-old German-born film essayist Thomas Elsaesser died of cardiac arrest December 4 at a hospital in Beijing, after he failed to show up for an appearance as part of his Chinese lecture tour and was found in his hotel room, according to The New York Times. Survived by his wife, Silvia Vega-Llona, Elsaesser was born June 22, 1943, in Berlin, discovering the Hollywood melodramas for which he was so fond through his Burt Lancaster fan of a maternal grandmother, as well as European art films through his parents. New York University professor of cinema studies Dana Polan says Elsaesser was there when the modern understanding of film studies was becoming what we know it as today, writing more than two hundred essays since the mid-1970s.