I propose that the film Temptation, from 1946, presents us with a person, or type of person, who was once observed: she is very involved in evaluating the significance of highly specialist inquiries, in this case Egyptology, and evaluating borderline cases of literature, regarding which it is difficult to assess their long-term value. The film assists with addressing how The Golden Bough was actually received. An appendix proposes that the film is of interest to Derrideans.
A typical device in film is to have a character narrating what is going on, but this narration is not always a reliable guide to the events. According to Maier, distortions may be caused by the narrator’s intent, naivety, use of drugs, and/or cognitive disorder/illness. What is common to these various causes, he argues, is the presence of a point of view, which appears in a movie as shots. While this perspective-based account of unreliability covers most cases, I unpack its (...) methodological consequences and gesture at a possibility that Maier’s analysis overlooks. A narration, I suggest, can be unreliable simply because it is ill-timed with the events shown on screen. In such a case, the distortion is not due to any character’s point of view; rather, it comes from the film medium’s ability to divorce what is seen and what is heard. As a consequence of this mismatch, it is possible to have a reliable narrator but an unreliable narration. Since voice and context of utterance usually match in ordinary speech, I conclude that philosophy of language may be ill-suited to properly understand this particular phenomenon. (shrink)
Animals populate our artistic and philosophical discourses in critical ways. From Jacques Derrida's or Karen Barad's cat, to Donna Haraway's dog, to the fish in Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Véréna Paravel's Leviathan, these animals feature heavily in discussions regarding limits – the limits of the human and thus its relation with non-humans, but also the limits of knowledge itself. Cute or dangerous, real or fantasised, dead or alive: in this article, I juxtapose the various ways that such animals confront us with (...) what Jacques Derrida describes as “the point of view of the absolute other”. Similarly, recent texts stage encounters with animals – thus distributing agency towards a larger variety of beings, carving out space for a previously excluded non-human other. Yet these encounters are mediated in profoundly different ways. In researching how encounters with the animal are differentially inflected and “defracted” respective to the medium in which they are staged, this article invokes questions of form and style within the critical dialogue that attempts to centre non-human animals. Highlighting how formal decisions are not accidental, but rather integral, to the praxis of the philosophy of animality, this article aims to draw attention to how specific forms and styles allow for a moment of contact with a non-human other. To this end, this article examines three oft-cited encounters: Derrida's encounter with his cat, an intense stare with a fish in Leviathan, and Barad's inflection of Schrödinger's cat. This juxtaposition gives insight into the limits of certain styles of producing thought and critically reflects on these works in their discussion of non-human life and agency. (shrink)
ISBN 978-1-4384-9027-4 Argues that Nietzsche’s idea of the Übermensch was a central concern of filmmakers in the 1920s and 1930s. -/- Nietzsche in Hollywood offers a compelling and startling history of Hollywood film in which the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche and his idea of the Übermensch looms large. Though Nietzsche’s philosophy was attacked as egoistic and a sociopathic version of Darwinism in films from the 1910s, it undergoes a series of cinematic and philosophical transformations in the 1920s and 1930s under (...) the eye and pen of some of the most significant names in early Hollywood, including Erich von Stroheim, Josef von Sternberg, Ben Hecht, Howard Hawks, and Ernst Lubitsch. In addition to establishing historical connections between Nietzsche’s philosophy and these filmmakers, the book provides philosophical readings of many Hollywood films through the lens of the Nietzschean ideas of “perspectivism” and the critique of morality. Offering a new history of classic Hollywood films as well as a new approach to film philosophy, Nietzsche in Hollywood reveals a reading of the philosopher in American culture that has largely been ignored. (shrink)
Os estudos deleuzianos sobre o cinema destacam a importância dos dois regimes semióticos (imagem-movimento e imagem-tempo) para a compreensão da nossa relação estética e epistemológica com as imagens em movimento. Pelo contrário, este artigo procura destacar os momentos de crise entre os dois regimes assinalando o carácter genérico de incerteza e ambiguidade da natureza das imagens mentais: enfraquecido o esquema sensório-motor que domina na montagem cinematográfica, as personagens, incapazes de agir, podem imaginar, desejar, sonhar, alucinar, e lembrar. Surgem novos tipos (...) de imagem: imagens-recordação, imagens-sonho e imagens-mundo. Como é que esses novos tipos de imagem nos fazem repensar a nossa habitual relação com o mundo e com a realidade? Com este artigo sobre a dimensão virtual e onírica do cinema, procuro contribuir para uma maior disseminação de um dos principais contributos de Gilles Deleuze para a filosofia do cinema: a distinção entre o imaginário e a realidade. (shrink)
The importation of Lacanian psychoanalysis into film theory in the 1970s and 1980s ushered in a new era of cinema scholarship and criticism. Figures including Raymond Bellour, Laura Mulvey, and Christian Metz are often considered the pioneers of applying Lacanian psychoanalysis in the context of film theory, most notably through their writings in Screen Journal. However, where French and British scholarship on Lacan and film reached its limits, American Lacanianism flourished. When Joan Copjec’s now classic essay “The Orthopsychic Subject: Film (...) Theory and the Reception of Lacan” was published in 1989, the trajectory of Lacanian film theory would become radically altered; as Todd McGowan recently put it, the “butchered operation” on Lacan committed by Mulvey and (quoting Copjec) the “Foucaultianization” of Lacan under the auspices of Screen Journal were finally indicted in one gesture through Copjec’s critique. Copjec and McGowan’s unique American view of Lacan marks a pivotal point in the convergence of psychoanalytic theory and cinema studies; by seeking to wrest Lacan from historist/deconstructionist theories of the subject, and by revisiting Lacan beyond the mirror stage, Copjec and McGowan can be said to have instantiated a resuscitation or even a renaissance of Lacanian theory in film studies in particular and in American scholarship more generally. In this essay, this renaissance of Lacanian theory is examined, focusing on the innovations these two American thinkers brought to psychoanalytic film theory and the multiple paths carved out into other disciplines that followed. First, a detailed summation of the contentions between screen theory and Copjec’s position is introduced, as well as McGowan’s assessment thereof. Then, the trajectory of psychoanalytic film theory after Copjec’s arrival is the focus, including the major innovations in her thought from cinematic subjectivity to sexual difference (most notably from Read My Desire) and the way her position spread to philosophy and ontology. Finally, the article identifies the limitations of Copjec’s and McGowan’s thought and seeks new possibilities through which we may continue to apply psychoanalysis to the cinema in the wake of these two important thinkers. L’importation de la psychanalyse lacanienne dans la théorie du film au cours des années 1970 et 1980 a apporté une nouvelle ère de recherche et de critique cinématographiques. Des figures comme Raymond Bellour, Laura Mulvey et Christian Metz sont souvent considérées comme étant les pionniers dans l’application de la psychanalyse lacanienne au contexte de la théorie du film, surtout dans leurs écrits pour le Screen Journal. Par contre, là où les recherches françaises et britanniques sur Lacan et la cinématographie ont atteint leurs limites, le lacanisme américain a prospéré. La publication en 1989 de « The Orthopsychic Subject: Film Theory and the Reception of Lacan », l’essai classique de Joan Copjec, a complètement changé la trajectoire de la théorie lacanienne du film; comme Todd McGowan l’a récemment exprimé, « l’opération massacrée » commise sur Lacan par Mulvey et (citant Copjec) la « Foucaultisation » de Lacan sous les auspices de Screen Journal avaient finalement été accusées d’un seul coup par la critique de Copjec. Le point de vue uniquement américain de Copjec et de McGowan sur Lacan marque un tournant dans la convergence de la théorie psychanalytique et des études cinématographiques. En cherchant à arracher Lacan des théories historicistes/déconstructivistes du sujet, et en revisitant Lacan au-delà du stade du miroir, Copjec et McGowan ont instancié une ressuscitation, voire une renaissance, de la théorie lacanienne dans les études cinématographiques en particulier et dans les études américaines en général. Dans cet article, cette renaissance de la théorie lacanienne est examinée, mettant l’accent sur les innovations que ces deux penseurs américains ont apportées à la théorie psychanalytique du film et les multiples chemins tracés dans d’autres disciplines subséquentes. Premièrement, un résumé détaillé des différends entre la théorie du film et la position de Copjec est présenté, ainsi que l’évaluation de McGowan à ce sujet. Puis, la trajectoire de la théorie psychanalytique du film après l’arrivée de Copjec est mise de l’avant, notamment les innovations importantes de sa pensée de la subjectivité à la différence sexuelle (particulièrement dans Read My Desire) et la manière dont sa position s’est propagée dans la philosophie et l’ontologie. Finalement, l’article identifie les limites de la pensée de Copjec et de McGowan et cherche de nouvelles possibilités à travers lesquelles nous pourrions continuer d’appliquer la psychanalyse au cinéma après ces deux grands penseurs. (shrink)
In this article, I explore what I call the persecutory trope – which underscores the alterity of the phantom and its relentless haunting and spectral oppression of the protagonists – in recent American ghost films, connecting it to the ethical thought of the continental philosophers, Emmanuel Levinas and Jacques Derrida. Films like The Ring, The Grudge, It Follows, and Sinister depict terrifying spectral antagonists whose relentless persecution of the protagonists often defies comprehension and narrative closure. I suggest that these films (...) comprise a specific supernatural subgenre due to the particular way in which their specters haunt the victims. The relentlessness of the spectral assailant, and the foreclosure of actions by which the specter is either expelled from or reintegrated into symbolic understanding of its victim, can be construed in terms of the ethical relationship between the other and the self in the work of Levinas and Derrida. Their focus on the moral agent's responsibility to an other, an obligation that the agent does not undertake voluntarily, entails the spectralization of ethical responsibility insofar as it does not rest on solid, evidential grounds. This article shows how the spectralization of the ethical resonates in recent American ghost films through the disruptive effects of the specter's haunting and responsive mourning enacted by protagonists. (shrink)
This paper investigates the significance of filmic analysis in the contemporary theoretical paradigm inspired by Slavoj Žižek, which we term ‘Transcendental Materialism’. After characterising its distinct peculiarities within the history of psychoanalysis and film theory, we demonstrate the limitations of previous (possible) answers, arguing they are partly formulated in response to confrontations with other paradigms. Our own approach is then informed by a study of another popular object of analysis in Transcendental Materialism – the joke. We show how Freud’s understanding (...) of the joke was adapted by the paradigm and supported further by certain philosophical insights by (among others) G.W.F. Hegel. Finally, we demonstrate how parallels can be drawn between this adaptation and the significance of the filmic form within Transcendental Materialism, inspired in part by Alain Badiou’s reading of Hegel. (shrink)
This handbook brings together essays in the philosophy of film and motion pictures from authorities across the spectrum. It boasts contributions from philosophers and film theorists alike, with many essays employing pluralist approaches to this interdisciplinary subject. Core areas treated include film ontology, film structure, psychology, authorship, narrative, and viewer emotion. Emerging areas of interest, including virtual reality, video games, and nonfictional and autobiographical film also have dedicated chapters. Other areas of focus include the film medium’s intersection with contemporary social (...) issues, film’s kinship to other art forms, and the influence of historically seminal schools of thought in the philosophy of film. Of emphasis in many of the essays is the relationship and overlap of analytic and continental perspectives in this subject. (shrink)
Over the last thirty years, once staunchly historical cinema scholars such as Thomas Elsaesser, Jane Gaines, Siegfried Zielinski, and André Gaudreault have abandoned history for historiography and film studies for media archaeology. With increasing attention on the “database” as a symbolic metaphor for postmodernity and the decentered, networked tenants of the global present, cinema is taking on the characteristics of new media, existing in intertextual space. Thus, the term “post-cinema” has been co-opted as a viable intermediary that accounts for new (...) media conditions, as cinema is no longer emblematic of our cultural climate. As Giorgio Agamben wrote in 1992, “[t]he end of the cinema truly sounds the death knell of the ultimate metaphysical adventure of Dasein. In the twilight of post-cinema…human quasi-existence, now stripped of any metaphysical hypostasis and deprived of any theological model, will have to seek its proper generic consistency elsewhere." Accordingly, we are no longer “moviegoing animals” who seek images of ourselves among a collective in the dark but, rather, users interfacing within a network of moving images. (shrink)
Walter Benjamin’s oft-quoted 1936 essay “The Work of Art in the Age of Its Technological Reproducibility” advances the claim that, for the first time in history, the “function” of the work of art is political, as evidenced by cinema. For Benjamin, film is the “first art form whose artistic character is entirely determined by its reproducibility” and Giorgio Agamben, a contemporary Benjaminian philosopher, further elucidates this “function,” positing that cinema essentially ranks with ethics and politics, not solely with aesthetics, and, (...) consequently, is proximate to philosophy itself. Whereas Deleuze’s Cinema books posed cinema as enacting time in a pure state, Agamben, in his “Notes on Gesture,” breaches from Deleuze’s spatial and cartographic theory of cinema, drawing on Guy Debord’s “détournement via montage,” Simone Weil’s “decreation” and, perhaps most implicitly, from Benjamin. Agamben’s political theory of cinema, motivated by cinema’s “stoppage and repetition of time,” is directly informed by Benjamin’s: “optical unconscious,” appropriation of Brecht’s “social Gestus,” and the relationship between technological reproducibility and aura. Agamben’s “gesture” fastens cinema’s aesthetics not only to ethics and politics, but to the “ontological consistency of human experience,” or to a way of being. (shrink)
Cinema struggles with the representation of inner-speech and thought in a way that is less of a problem for literature. Film also destabilises the notion of the narrator, be they omniscient, unreliable or first-person. In this article I address the peculiar and highly unsuccessful cinematic innovation which we can call the ‘first-person camera’ or ‘first-person’ film. These are films in which the camera represents not just the point-of-view of a character but is meant to be understood as that character. Very (...) few such films have been made, and I will concentrate on the way in which speech and thought are presented in Lady in the Lake (Robert Montgomery, 1947) and Dark Passage (Delmer Daves, 1947). I use Jacques Derrida’s critique of the idea of ‘hearing oneself speak’ and phenomenology’s dream of direct experience to explore the generally understood failure of such films and conclude by considering the implications of such a technique for a homunculus theory of mind. (shrink)
This interdisciplinary study explores the relevance and application of Martin Heidegger’s phenomenology to key issues in the philosophy film. It develops a comprehensive look at how Heidegger’s thought illuminates historical and contemporary problems the film medium poses to philosophers.
Sinema, genel olarak tüm sanat dalları, aynı anda hem bir sanat dalı ve politik-ekonomik bir kurumdur. Bir yanda elimizde hareketli imgeleri ışıkla selüloidden geçirerek ekrana yansıtan mecra film vardır. Tek tek filmler ise biçim ve içeriklerine göre birbirlerinden ayrılan ve analiz edilen münferit estetik objelerdir. Öte yanda ise film endüstrisi yer alır - filmleri planlayan, üreten, pazarlayan ve kitlelere izleten sanatsal, teknik ve ekonomik araçların oluşturduğu komplike ağ. Doğumundan bu yana sinemanın estetik ve politik açıları farklı formlarda birçok teorik analize (...) maruz kalmış, karşılığında bu analizler de çeşitli eleştirilerle irdelenmiştir. Bu metin bu analizlerin ve onlara yöneltilen eleştirilerin kısa bir incelemesini ve ardından film teorisine farklı bir yaklaşımın ana hatlarını sunacağım. Foucault ve Deleuze'ün fikirlerinden yola çıkan bu "anarşist" film teorisi, geçerli bir eleştirel metodoloji oluşturmanın yanısıra filmin özgürleştirici potansiyeline ışık tutmayı amaçlamaktadır. (shrink)
According to John Brough, we can use Husserl’s theory of image consciousness to explain the conflict between the actor and the character in cinematographic depictions in terms of an empirical conflict between the “image object” and the “physical thing.” I disagree with him and I shall show that the conflict between the actor and the character can only be explained in terms of a non-empirical conflict between two “image subjects.” The empirical conflict that concerns the subject is between how the (...) actor or the character appears in image consciousness and how it appears or would appear in perception, that is, between the “image subject” and the “subject as it appears in perception.”. (shrink)
Movies have a striking aesthetic power: they can draw us in and induce a peculiar mode of involvement in their images – they absorb us. While absorbed in a movie, we lose track both of the passage of time and of the fact that we are sitting in a dark room with other people watching the play of light upon a screen. What is the source of the power of movies? Noël Carroll, who cites Maurice Merleau-Ponty as an influence on (...) his account of the power of movies, agrees with Merleau-Ponty that our perceptual experience of movies draws on many of the capacities at work in our perceptual experience of everyday situations. Yet Merleau-Ponty’s account of perception shows that Carroll’s emphasis on intellectual inference and the entertaining of unasserted thoughts is a distortion of the phenomenology of cinematic absorption. According to Merleau-Ponty, such intellectual operations come into play in cases of breakdown but should not be read back into the primary absorbed experience as being implicitly operative.. (shrink)
Philosophy’s Artful Conversation draws on Gilles Deleuze, Stanley Cavell, and the later writing by Ludwig Wittgenstein to defend a “philosophy of the humanities.” Both because film studies is historically a site of contention and theoretical upheaval and because Rodowick accepts Cavell’s idea that (at least in the American context) film is philosophy made ordinary, bringing philosophical questions of skepticism and perfectionism into filmgoers’ lives inescapably, it makes sense to build this vision for the humanities out of writing on film. Although (...) presented as a monograph with a single argumentative strand, the book may be more profitably read as three partly distinct works: an examination of the boundaries of theory and philosophy that doubles as a defense of a “philosophy of the humanities,” an interpretation of Deleuze’s work on film that intriguingly prioritizes What Is Philosophy?, and an interpretation of Cavell that argues that his epistemological and ontological questions are subsumed under ethics in a way that pairs well with Deleuze’s emphasis on immanence. (shrink)
Film Manifestos and Global Cinema Cultures is the first book to collect manifestoes from the global history of cinema, providing the first historical and theoretical account of the role played by film manifestos in filmmaking and film culture. Focussing equally on political and aesthetic manifestoes, Scott MacKenzie uncovers a neglected, yet nevertheless central history of the cinema, exploring a series of documents that postulate ways in which to re-imagine the cinema and, in the process, re-imagine the world. This volume collects (...) the major European ÒwavesÓ and figures ; Latin American Third Cinemas ; radical art and the avant-garde ; and world cinemas. It also contains previously untranslated manifestos co-written by figures including Bolla’n, Debord, Hermosillo, Isou, Kieslowski, PainlevŽ, Straub, and many others. Thematic sections address documentary cinema, aesthetics, feminist and queer film cultures, pornography, film archives, Hollywood, and film and digital media. Also included are texts traditionally left out of the film manifestos canon, such as the Motion Picture Production Code and Pius XI's Vigilanti Cura, which nevertheless played a central role in film culture. (shrink)
In a number of recent films, Scotland has served as the setting for dramas that could have taken place anywhere. This has occurred in two related ways: First, there are films such as Perfect Sense (2011) and Under the Skin (2013). These films involve storylines that, while they do take place in Scotland, do not require the country as a setting. Second, there are films such as Prometheus (2012),The Dark Knight Rises (2012), Cloud Atlas (2012), and World War Z (2013). (...) These films, while being filmed (at least partly) in Scotland, have plots that do not involve Scotland. Scottish locations, in this second group of movies, act as stand- ins for locations in other cities, or even other worlds. -/- This phenomenon, in which the uniqueness of Scottish locations is deemphasized so that they may act as mere backdrops for the primary action in films, is a relatively new one. It is in sharp contrast to another, more traditional tendency in movie making in which Scottish locations are foregrounded to dramatize myths and stereotypes uniquely Scottish; such as Kailyard, Tartantry or Clydesideism. In this paper I pursue an analysis, drawing on the work of Martin Heidegger, that characterizes this trend as part of a new Scottish myth in the making: the myth of Scotland as nowhere in particular. -/- The myth of Scotland as nowhere in particular takes the countryside and cities of Scotland as raw material for the telling of stories having transcultural interest. In this, Scotland becomes a space or clearing with no particular defining characteristics of its own to distract from the dramas themselves. This allows for the unfolding of narratives that, while they use Scotland as a setting, have little if anything to do with Scotland, and thus appeal to anyone, anywhere. (shrink)
The Deleuzian model and the masochistic contract -- Masochism, feminine "goodness" and sacrifice -- Self-mutilation and (a)signification -- Transgressive reconfigurations -- Heterocosms, spectres and the world remade -- Postscrip.
This essay explores the correspondence between cinema and money through an investigation of what I call the 'financialization of the image.' Drawing from the tradition of psychoanalytic film criticism and the cinematic ontology of Gilles Deleuze, it argues that the 'camera-eye' and the 'brain-screen' are distinct modes of organizing cinematic perception in capital. Furthermore, it argues that Gilles Deleuze's understanding of the brain-screen is the most adequate mode of thinking of the organization of subjective vision within control societies and the (...) financialization of life itself. (shrink)
Cinema.Alain Badiou - 2013 - Cambridge: Polity. Edited by Antoine deBaecque & Susan Spitzer.details
For Alain Badiou, films think, and it is the task of the philosopher to transcribe that thinking. What is the subject to which the film gives expressive form? This is the question that lies at the heart of Badiouʹs account of cinema. He contends that cinema is an art form that bears witness to the Other and renders human presence visible, thus testifying to the universal value of human existence and human freedom. Through the experience of viewing, the movement of (...) thought that constitutes the film is passed on to the viewer, who thereby encounters an aspect of the world and its exaltation and vitality as well as its difficulty and complexity. Cinema is an impure art cannibalizing its times, the other arts, and people -- a major art precisely because it is the locus of the indiscernibility between art and non-art. It is this, argues Badiou, that makes cinema the social and political art par excellence, the best indicator of our civilization, in the way that Greek tragedy, the coming-of-age novel and the operetta were in their respective eras. -- Publisher description. (shrink)
I distinguish between the nineteenth- to twentieth-century (modernist) tendency to rehabilitate (white) femininity from the abject popular, and the twentieth- to twenty-first-century (postmodernist) tendency to rehabilitate the popular from abject white femininity. Careful attention to the role of nineteenth-century racial politics in Nietzsche's Gay Science shows that his work uses racial nonwhiteness to counter the supposedly deleterious effects of (white) femininity (passivity, conformity, and so on). This move—using racial nonwhiteness to rescue pop culture from white femininity—is a common twentieth- and (...) twenty-first-century practice. I use Nietzsche to track shifts from classical to neo-liberal methods of appropriating “difference.” Hipness is one form of this neoliberal approach to difference, and it is exemplified by the approach to race, gender, and pop culture in Vincente Minnelli's film The Band Wagon. I expand upon Robert Gooding-Williams's reading of this film, and argue that mid-century white hipness dissociates the popular from femininity and whiteness, and values the popular when performed by white men “acting black.” Hipness instrumentalizes femininity and racial nonwhiteness so that any benefits that might come from them accrue only to white men, and not to the female and male artists of color whose works are appropriated. (shrink)
Introduction -- Time and matter: temporality, embodied subjectivity and film phenomenology -- Knowing and nothing: Chris Marker, subjective temporalities and vocalic bodies in the future tense -- Agnès Varda's Trinket box: subjective relationality, affect and temporalised space -- Burlesque gestures and bodily attention: phenomenologies of the ephemeral in Chantal Akerman -- Threatened corporealities: thinking with the films of Philippe Grandrieux -- Conclusion: rethinking cinematic subjectivity and beyond.
« The destiny of Art—a revenant». « The object of Art might be to seek to eliminate the necessity of the object ». This book’s theme and method stand halfway between these two assertions—the first by the German romantic poet Novalis, the second by the Californian post-minimalist artists Robert Irwin and James Turrell about a research program on art and technology in the late 1960s. Neither of these statements declares that art is dead. On the contrary, they announce that art (...) is not yet present, that it has not yet happened. According to its destiny or to its project, art is always future, and for this very reason it keeps returning from the past and repeating itself in various shapes and embodying itself in diverse media, perhaps not in the expected places but elsewhere—unrecognizable as art, anachronistic and fashionable. Like a revenant going through a wall, the untimely future of art will come across words, things and artworks, subjectiles and gestures, either in the world of art or in ordinary life. Using the tools of aesthetics, visual studies and mediology, the present book seeks to capture some of these ghosts and hauntings. (shrink)
From film theory to post-theory -- Sublime objects of cinema -- Class struggle in film studies -- Interlude: the pervert and the analyst -- Cinema, ideology, and form -- Enjoyment in the cinema -- Conclusion: theory as realism set in drive.
Film, Samuel Beckett's 1964 short starring Buster Keaton, dubbed by Deleuze as ‘The Greatest Irish Film’, is a seminal text in the latter's cinematic canon as it helps us to extrapolate the transition from the Bergson-based movement-image of Cinema 1 to the Nietzschean time-image of Cinema 2. Film is unique insofar as its narrative traverses and progressively destroys the action-, perception- and affection-images that constitute the movement-image as a whole, using Keaton's body, and more importantly his face, as a means (...) of attaining a pure intensity or Entity abstracted from all spatio-temporal coordinates, a condition of exhaustion/saturation that Deleuze and Guattari call, ‘non-human becoming’. Beckett's film is predicated on Bishop Berkeley's fundamental philosophical principle, esse est percipi (to be is to be perceived) and, using Keaton as its protagonist, raises the question of whether it is possible to escape perception, not only by a third party, but also by oneself. The latter is ‘played’ by the camera itself, which ‘stalks’ Keaton from behind, taking great pains not to exceed a 45-degree ‘angle of immunity’ (lest Buster experience percipi or the anguish of perceivedness) until the film's final close-up when he comes face to face with his own self-perception and affective annihilation. Film's denouement thus deconstructs the very nature of conventional cinematic language, whereby filmic suture – the enfolding of character, camera and spectatorial ‘viewing-views’ into a unified field of vision – gives way to a perspective where, at the very moment that the perceptive/affective body dies, the work of filmic art gives birth to itself as a being of pure sensation, exceeding lived experience. (shrink)
Introduction -- The dialectic's narrow margin: film noir between Adorno and Hegel -- On critical theory's dialectical dilemma -- a configuration pregnant with tension: Fritz Lang for critical theory -- Coda: the enjoyment of film in theory.
In comparison to activist films with an “in your face” aesthetic, Food, Inc. seems positively tame. Rather than shock viewers with direct images of distasteful, disgusting, immoral, and outrageous practices in the food industry, it provokes and performs physical and moral disgust by its paradoxical (and perhaps quintessentially documentary) combination of proximity and immediacy with distance and delay. This close textual analysis reveals the film’s use of images to defer, deflect, and dodge, in such a way as to emphasize the (...) temporal ‘lag time’ that Sara Ahmed argues is intrinsic to disgust and that connects as well to what Malin Wahlberg calls ‘documentary time.’. (shrink)
Two critical yet comic elements, beyond the more obvious narrative of persecution, reveal themselves in Adorno's recorded nightmare. The first is comic because it so aptly displays his relentless critical impulse despite himself, the way in which theory invades the private sphere of his dreams: even in sleep, Adorno finds himself at once reading phenomena and on guard against a false transcendence from which they could, in the last instance, be deciphered.1 The second is more patently absurd, yet perhaps more (...) difficult to assess: that he should gain permission to interrupt an unspeakably cruel and final punishment, an essentially hopeless…. (shrink)