Film Theory

Edited by Aaron Smuts (Rhode Island College)
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  1. The Cinema of Disorientation.Dominic Lash - 2020 - Edinburgh, UK: Edinburgh University Press.
    Precisely, perhaps, because they are so immediately absorbing, narrative films can also be profoundly confusing and disorienting. This fascinating book neither proposes foolproof methods for avoiding confusion; nor does it suggest that disorientation is always a virtue. Instead it argues that the best way to come to terms with our confusion is to look closely at exactly what is confusing us, and why. At the heart of the book are original close readings of four important recent films: David Lynch's INLAND (...)
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  2. প্রামাণ্যচিত্রের বিবর্তন : সত্যের খোঁজে, শিল্পের তাড়নায়.Md Mahmudul Hoque - 2014 - Magic Lanthon 3 (6):81-90.
    প্রামাণ্যচিত্র কী? এ প্রশ্নের উত্তর দেওয়া কঠিন,অনেকের মতে অসম্ভব। তবে সাদামাটাভাবে চিন্তা করলে আসলে যতোটা হয়তো বলা হয়,ততোটা নয়। কেননা, একজন সাধারণ দর্শক তো খুব সহজেই বুঝতে পারেন এটি ‘প্রামাণ্যচিত্র’ না ‘কাহিনীচিত্র’। কিন্তু, একটু গভীরভাবে চিন্তা করলে বিষয়টাকে কঠিনই মনে হয়। চলচ্চিত্রের মাধ্যমে নিছক সত্য বলা কিংবা তথ্য প্রচারই কি প্রামাণ্যচিত্র? মোটেও তা নয়। প্রামাণ্যচিত্র কথাটির সঙ্গে বিভিন্ন বিষয়ের অবতারণা ঘটে­—প্রমাণ, সত্য-মিথ্যা, বাস্তবতা, সত্যতা, সততা, সৃজনশীলতা, বাস্তবতার পুনর্নির্মাণ, প্রোপাগান্ডা ইত্যাদি। এসব বিষয়ই কখনো একটি আরেকটির সহযোগী আবার কখনো দ্বান্দ্বিক। তাই প্রামাণ্যচিত্রকে (...)
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  3. The Specter of the Electronic Screen: Bruno Varela's Reception of Stanley Cavell.Byron Davies - 2021 - In David LaRocca (ed.), Movies with Stanley Cavell in Mind. London, UK: pp. 72-90.
    An analysis of some work by the Oaxaca-based Mexican experimental filmmaker and video artist Bruno Varela via the latter’s reading of the late U.S. philosopher Stanley Cavell, especially Cavell’s 1982 essay “The Fact of Television.” This essay focuses on the aesthetic possibilities of the very constitution of the electronic image, based in Cavell’s understanding of television’s dependence on notions of “switching,” as opposed to “succession,” as well as how those notions play a role in Varela’s understanding of what it is (...)
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  4. Film as Phantasm: Dogville’s Cinematic Re-Evaluation of Values.Rebecca Longtin - 2019 - In The Films of Lars von Trier and Philosophy: Provocations and Engagements. London, UK: pp. 19 - 35.
    This paper interprets von Trier’s Dogville as a suspension of belief that provokes a re-evaluation of contemporary moral values. Reading Dogville through the Stoic concept of phantasms and Nietzsche’s perspectivism, I analyze the plot and visual techniques as revealing how we form, evaluate, and re-evaluate our beliefs based on changing impressions and shifting perspectives. The philosophy of the Stoics and Nietzsche and the visual techniques of Dogville demonstrate that the recognition of the artificiality of appearances serves a moral purpose by (...)
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  5. L'immagine-inazione. Lo spazio e il tempo nel passaggio dall'image-mouvement all'image-temps in Gilles Deleuze.Fabio Vergine - 2019 - In Enrico Giannetto (ed.), La memoria del cielo. Catania CT, Italia: pp. 1-18.
    Nella sua riflessione filosofica sull’immagine filmica Gilles Deleuze sembra aver tradotto nella maniera più immediata, ancorché insolubilmente problematica, la presenza di uno spazio e di un tempo che giocano il proprio ruolo su di una forma passiva di soggettività: è proprio ne L’image- mouvement, infatti, che Deleuze mostra come uno dei passaggi più proficui delle sue osservazioni sul cinema sia proprio la crisi di ciò che egli definisce immagine-azione, a favore, invece, di un’immagine-tempo, o situazione ottica e sonora pura. Per (...)
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  6. Plotinus and the Moving Image.Giannis Stamatellos & Thorsten Botz Bornstein (eds.) - 2017 - Brill.
    Plotinus and the Moving Image offers the first philosophical discussion on Plotinus' philosophy and film. It discusses Plotinian concepts like "the One" in a cinematic context and relates Plotinus' theory of time as a transitory intelligible movement of the soul to Bergson’s and Deleuze’s time-image. Film is a unique medium for a rapprochement of our modern consciousness with the thought of Plotinus. The Neoplatonic vestige is particularly worth exploring in the context of the newly emerging “Cinema of Contemplation.” Plotinus' search (...)
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  7. García Morcillo, Hanesworth and Lapeña Marchena Eds Imagining Ancient Cities in Film: From Babylon to Cinecittà . New York and London: Routledge, 2015. Pp. Vi + 329. £85. 9780415843973. [REVIEW]George Kovacs - 2016 - Journal of Hellenic Studies 136:306-307.
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  8. David Bordwell and Noël Carroll, Eds., Post-Theory: Reconstructing Film Studies Reviewed By.Thomas E. Wartenberg - 1998 - Philosophy in Review 18 (2):85-87.
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  9. La imagen sometida: Ideología y contraideología de la representación visual en el cine digital y de animación latinoamericano.Samuel Viñolo Locuviche & Fernando Infante del Rosal - 2012 - Aisthesis 52:369-391.
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  10. An Economy of Annihilation, on Wheeler Winston Dixon's Visions of the Apocalypse: Spectacles of Destruction in American Culture.Daniel Herbert - 2005 - Film-Philosophy 9 (3).
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  11. Book Review:Post-Theory: Reconstructing Film Studies. [REVIEW]ed Bordwell, David & Noël Carroll - 1997 - Philosophy and Literature 21 (2).
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Classical Film Theory
  1. Національно-культурна ідентичність у щоденникових записах Олександра Довженка.Olha Poliukhovych - 2018 - NaUKMA Researh Papers. Literary Studies 1:97-103.
    У статті проаналізовано конструювання національно-культурної ідентичності в щоденникових записах Олександра Довженка. Cтратегія автора засновується на постійному відтворенні фрагментів минулого життя в Україні, чутливості до страждання її народу та каятті за «Україну в огні». Майбутнє співвідноситься з радянською ідеологією, минуле – з національним, і ці дві категорії є паралельними у щоденниках митця. Минуле перетворюється на травматичний спогад, котрий не має шансів на становлення в майбутньому, оскільки він перекривається радянською ідеологією.
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  2. Кіно у творчості Василя Герасим’юка.Myroslav Laiuk - 2018 - NaUKMA Researh Papers. Literary Studies 1:70-73.
    У статті досліджено роль кіно у творчості Василя Герасим’юка. Простежено особливості використання кінематографічних прийомів, проаналізовано цитування кінокласики, розкрито значення постаті І. Миколайчука у текстах В. Герасим’юка. Розглянуто вплив «поетичного кіно» і особливо стрічки «Тіні забутих предків» на формування «карпатського тексту» поета.
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  3. Філософія кіно, метод моделювання та проблема декадентського кінотвору.Olga Kirillova - 2018 - NaUKMA Research Papers. History and Theory of Culture 1:17-23.
    Статтю присвячено реконструкції узагальненої моделі твору декадентського кінематографа як стилізованого кінематографа moderne, що є яскравим прикладом застосування філософської інтерпретації до кінематографа і феномену кінореальності. Ця модель має такі рівні: морфологічний, стилістичний, інтертекстуальний, ритмічний, аудіальний, тактильний, монтажний, специфічно-антропологічний і специфічно-наративний.
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  4. Conventions of Viewpoint Coherence in Film.Samuel Cumming, Gabriel Greenberg & Rory Kelly - 2017 - Philosophers' Imprint 17.
    This paper examines the interplay of semantics and pragmatics within the domain of film. Films are made up of individual shots strung together in sequences over time. Though each shot is disconnected from the next, combinations of shots still convey coherent stories that take place in continuous space and time. How is this possible? The semantic view of film holds that film coherence is achieved in part through a kind of film language, a set of conventions which govern the relationships (...)
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  5. The Evolution of the Language of Cinema.André Bazin - 2010 - In Marc Furstenau (ed.), The Film Theory Reader: Debates and Arguments. Routledge.
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  6. The Ontology of the Photographic Image.André Bazin - 2010 - In Marc Furstenau (ed.), The Film Theory Reader: Debates and Arguments. Routledge.
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Cognitive Film Theory
  1. Toward a Naturalized Aesthetics of Film Music: An Interdisciplinary Exploration of Intramusical and Extramusical Meaning.Timothy Justus - 2019 - Projections 13 (3):1–22.
    In this article, I first address the question of how musical forms come to represent meaning—that is, the semantics of music—and illustrate an important conceptual distinction articulated by Leonard Meyer in Emotion and Meaning in Music between absolute or intramusical meaning and referential or extramusical meaning through a critical analysis of two recent films. Second, building examples of scholarship around a single piece of music frequently used in film—Samuel Barber's Adagio for Strings—I follow the example set by Murray Smith in (...)
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  2. Conventions of Viewpoint Coherence in Film.Samuel Cumming, Gabriel Greenberg & Rory Kelly - 2017 - Philosophers' Imprint 17.
    This paper examines the interplay of semantics and pragmatics within the domain of film. Films are made up of individual shots strung together in sequences over time. Though each shot is disconnected from the next, combinations of shots still convey coherent stories that take place in continuous space and time. How is this possible? The semantic view of film holds that film coherence is achieved in part through a kind of film language, a set of conventions which govern the relationships (...)
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  3. Image and Mind: Film, Philosophy and Cognitive Science.Gregory Currie - 1995 - Cambridge University Press.
    This is a book about the nature of film: about the nature of moving images, about the viewer's relation to film, and about the kinds of narrative that film is capable of presenting. It represents a very decisive break with the semiotic and psychoanalytic theories of film which have dominated discussion. The central thesis is that film is essentially a pictorial medium and that the movement of film images is real rather than illusory. A general theory of pictorial representation is (...)
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  4. La Paradoja del Suspenso Anómalo.Gemma Arguello Manresa - 2016 - Daimon: Revista Internacional de Filosofía 68:49-65.
    Resumen: En este trabajo se aborda lo que en los debates recientes de filosofía del cine se ha denominado la paradoja del suspenso. Esta paradoja radica en el problema de que algunos espectadores sienten suspenso frente a una narración que ya conocían, partiendo del presupuesto de que la incertidumbre es un estado cognitivo necesario para sentir esta emoción. Se analizan varias propuestas recientes y se ofrece una alternativa a la mismas en la que se recupera la simpatía y la anticipación (...)
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  5. Film Worlds: A Philosophical Aesthetics of Cinema. [REVIEW]Rafe McGregor - 2016 - British Journal of Aesthetics 56 (1):106-109.
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  6. The Philosophy of Motion Pictures.Noël Carroll - 2007 - Wiley-Blackwell.
    _Philosophy of Motion Pictures_ is a first-of-its-kind, bottom-up introduction to this bourgeoning field of study. Topics include film as art, medium specificity, defining motion pictures, representation, editing, narrative, emotion and evaluation. Clearly written and supported with a wealth of examples Explores characterizations of key elements of motion pictures –the shot, the sequence, the erotetic narrative, and its modes of affective address.
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  7. Aesthetics and Film. By Katherine Thomson‐Jones. [REVIEW]Jennifer A. Mcmahon - 2012 - Philosophical Quarterly 62 (249):865-867.
    Each chapter covers one topic and largely consists of brief summaries of arguments for and against various themes. The topic of the first chapter is whether and on what basis a film can be considered art. Photography is used as an analogy. The arguments range from considering the mechanical form of cinema as an obstacle to arthood to arguments considering cinema’s mechanical nature as essential to its arthood; the former by those who ground art in human agency, the latter by (...)
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  8. Cinematic Philosophy: Experiential Affirmation in Memento.Rafe Mcgregor - 2014 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 72 (1):57-66.
    This article demonstrates that Memento (Christopher Nolan, 2000) meets both conditions of Paisley Livingston's bold thesis of cinema as philosophy. I delineate my argument in terms of Aaron Smuts's clarifications of Livingston's conditions. The results condition, which is concerned with the nature of the philosophical content, is developed in relation to Berys Gaut's conception of narrational confirmation, which I designate ‘experiential affirmation.’ Because experiential affirmation is a function of cinematic depiction, it meets Livingston's means condition, which is concerned with the (...)
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  9. A New/Old Ontology of Film.Rafe McGregor - 2013 - Film-Philosophy 17 (1):265-280.
    The purpose of this paper is to examine the ontological effects of digital technology, and determine whether digital films, traditional films, and pre-traditional motion pictures belong to the same category. I begin by defining the parameters of my inquiry, and then consider the two most significant consequences of the new technology. §2 proposes a decisive refutation of the causal relationship between reality and photography. §3 identifies an end to the dominance of photorealistic film over animation, and argues for an inversion (...)
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  10. The Philosophy of Motion Pictures, by Noël Carroll.Ward E. Jones - 2013 - Mind 122 (486):fzt066.
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  11. Looking at Motion Pictures (Revised) [.Richard Allen - 2001 - Film-Philosophy 5 (1).
    I shall begin this essay by sketching some Wittgenstein-influenced arguments as to why the causal theory of perception is inadequate. However my main concern is to explore the ramifications for pictorial perception of understanding perception in terms of the causal theory. When 'our ordinary notion of perceiving' is characterized in terms of the existence of a causal connection between an object perceived and our sensory experience of that object the case of pictorial perception generates a paradox.
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  12. Misrecognizing Film Studies.Bruce Bennett - 2000 - Film-Philosophy 4 (1).
    _Post-Theory: Reconstructing Film Studies_ Edited by David Bordwell and Noel Carroll Madison, Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin Press, 1996 ISBN: 0299149447 564 pp.
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  13. Cognitive and Philosophical Approaches to Horror.Aaron Smuts - forthcoming - In Harry Benshoff (ed.), Blackwell Companion to the Horror Film. Blackwell.
    Four main issues have occupied center stage in the analytic-cognitivist work on horror: (1) What is horror? (2) What is the appeal of horror? (3) How does it frighten audiences? and, (4) is it irrational to be scared of horror fiction?
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  14. Self-Reflection: Beyond Conventional Fiction Film Engagement.Margrethe Bruun Vaage - 2009 - Nordicom Review 30:159-178.
    Idiosyncratic responses as more strictly personal responses to fiction film that vary across individual spectators. In philosophy of film, idiosyncratic responses are often deemed inappropriate, unwarranted and unintended by the film. One type of idiosyncratic response is when empathy with a character triggers the spectator to reflect on his own real life issues. Self-reflection can be triggered by egoistic drift, where the spectator starts imagining himself in the character’s shoes, by re-experiencing memories, or by unfamiliar experiences that draw the spectator’s (...)
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  15. Fictional Reliefs and Reality Checks.Margrethe Bruun Vaage - 2013 - Screen 54 (2).
    The present paper explores the moral psychology of fiction conceptually through the paired concepts ‘fictional relief’ and ‘reality check’. I suggest that the spectator of fictional films and television series sees himself as relieved from some of the moral obligations the spectator of nonfiction films sees himself as subject to, such as considering the consequences of a character's actions and attitudes. A fictional attitude is disturbed when elements of nonfiction are inserted into the fiction, such as the documentary photographs in (...)
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  16. A Philosophy of Cinematic Art, by Berys Gaut.M. Turvey - 2013 - Mind 122 (485):281-284.
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  17. A Philosophy of Cinematic Art.Berys Gaut - 2010 - Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    A wide-ranging and accessible study of cinema as an art form, discussing traditional photographic films, digital cinema, and videogames.
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  18. Moving Pictures: A New Theory of Film Genres, Feelings, and Cognition.Torben Grodal - 1999 - Clarendon Press.
    Providing an alternative to pyschoanalytically based descriptions, this major study presents a unique, new theoretical account of the way emotions and thought patterns interact in creating aesthetic effects in films. Using diverse examples, Torben Grodal shows how films activate effects in the viewer and how these effects are moulded by genres which determine the way in which characters will react in given situations.
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  19. The Philosophy of Motion Pictures • by Noël Carroll.Andrew Kania - 2009 - Analysis 69 (1):194-195.
    Book review of _The Philosophy of Motion Pictures_ by Noël Carroll.
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  20. Brecht.Angela Curran - 2008 - In Paisley Livingston & Carl Plantinga (eds.), Routledge Companion to the Philosophy of Film. Routledge.
    This paper focuses on philosophical issues regarding Bertolt Brecht's engagement with film. Topics that are discussed include: Brecht's influence on filmmaking and film theory; the claim that Brecht held that mainstream films place viewers under the "illusion" that what they are watching on screen is real; Brecht's rejection of empathy; and the linkage of film form and socially critical content.
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  21. Film Theory and Philosophy.Richard Allen & Murray Smith (eds.) - 1997 - Oxford University Press.
    This volume of new essays energizes a growing movement in film theory which questions and seeks to overturn many of the assumptions that have governed film theory for the last twenty years. The book brings together film scholars and philosophers in a united commitment to the standards of argumentation that characterize analytic philosophy rather than a single doctrinal approach. The essays address such topics as authorship, emotion, ideology, representation, and expression in film.
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  22. Theorizing the Moving Image.Noël Carroll - 1996 - Cambridge University Press.
    A selection of essays written by one of the leading critics of film over the last two decades, this volume examines theoretical aspects of film and television through penetrating analyses of such genres as soap opera, documentary, comedy, and such topics as 'sight gags', film metaphor, point-of-view editing, and movie music. Throughout, individual films are considered in depth. Carroll's essays, moreover, represent the cognitivist turn in film studies, containing in-depth criticism of existing approaches to film theory, and heralding a new (...)
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Continental Film Theory
  1. Seeing Oneself Speak: Speech and Thought in First-Person Cinema.David Sorfa - 2019 - JOMEC Journal 13:104-121.
    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 (...)
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  2. Film Theory After Copjec.Anthony Ballas - 2021 - Canadian Review of American Studies 1 (51):63-82.
    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 (...)
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  3. The Dark Night of Ecological Despair: Awaiting Reconsecration in Paul Schrader’s First Reformed.Chandler D. Rogers & Tober Corrigan - 2020 - In Philosophy, Film, and the Dark Side of Interdependence. Lanham, Maryland: Lexington. pp. 69-81.
  4. Schefer, Jean-Louis. 2016. The Ordinary Man of Cinema. [REVIEW]Ekin Erkan - 2020 - Comparative Cinema 8 (14):82-85.
    Book review of Jean-Louis Schefer's The Ordinary Man of Cinema (2016) with particular attention to Schefer's conception of affect and its influence on Deleuze.
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  5. Cryptophasia and the Question of Database.Ekin Erkan - 2019 - Triple Ampersand:1-29.
    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 (...)
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  6. The Generic Unmasked: Reproducibility and Profanation.Ekin Erkan - 2019 - Triple Ampersand 8:5.
    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, (...)
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  7. Philosophy’s Artful Conversation, by D. N. Rodowick. [REVIEW]Timothy Yenter - 2016 - Teaching Philosophy 39 (4):565-567.
    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 (...)
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  8. Husserl and Cinematographic Depictive Images: The Conflict Between the Actor and the Character.Regina-Nino Mion - 2016 - Studia Phaenomenologica 16:269-293.
    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 (...)
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  9. Film Worlds: A Philosophical Aesthetics of Cinema. [REVIEW]Rafe McGregor - 2016 - British Journal of Aesthetics 56 (1):106-109.
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  10. Devices of Shock: Adorno's Aesthetics of Film and Fritz Lang's Fury.Ryan Drake - 2009 - Télos 2009 (149):151-168.
    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 (...)
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  11. Merleau-Ponty and Carroll on the Power of Movies.B. Scot Rousse - 2016 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 24 (1):45-73.
    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 (...)
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