The Sandman

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Ball, Jonathan
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The Sandman is a feature-length screenplay adaptation of E. T. A. Hoffmann’s short story "Der Sandmann." The screenplay re-imagines the story as a contemporary horror film with surrealist underpinnings. The script draws heavily on the gothic tradition. It also draws on the German Romantic tradition out of which Hoffmann writes. The theoretical structure of the screenplay owes a great deal to Sigmund Freud’s ideas about the "uncanny" and concerning the Oedipus complex, the repetition-compulsion, and the death-drive. I do not hold slavishly to these theories so much as use them as points of departure. The story: the young Nathan discovers one day that the Sandman is not a fairytale but a very real creature seemingly bent on his destruction. After abusing Nathan and causing the death of his Father, the Sandman disappears, only to return as Nathan moves away from home to begin his studies at university. Nathan, already haunted by the events of his childhood, spirals further and further into madness. The screenplay is followed by two informal essays concerning the approach taken to the construction of the text.
E.T.A. Hoffmann, Der Sandmann, The Sandman, screenplay adaptation