The Creaturely Life of Carol Reed's Cities: Eric Santner and Walter Benjamin

Film-Philosophy 22 (1):114-129 (2018)

In the years following the end of the Second World War Carol Reed directed three films, Odd Man Out, The Third Man, and The Man Between, that all dealt with individuals somehow cast alone into post-war urban environments that shared certain characteristics of division and violence. This article argues that they can be usefully analysed through the lens of Walter Benjamin's notion of the creaturely, especially through Eric Santner's explication of the concept. It considers the films from three aspects of Santner's creaturely life: natural history, the state of exception, and undeadness. These qualities of the creaturely as an analysis of the human condition help to encompass some of the strangeness of Reed's apparently conventional film narratives. The films' characters can be seen as overtly modelling a kind of Benjaminian natural history, the history of the brutal twentieth century, in which the vulnerable, mortal, dying human beings at the centre of these tales stumble around in rea...
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DOI 10.3366/film.2018.0065
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The Origin of German Tragic Drama.Walter Benjamin - 1978 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 37 (1):103-104.
Walter Benjamin's Philosophy of History.Ronald Beiner - 1984 - Political Theory 12 (3):423-434.
Walter Benjamin's Philosophy of History.Ronald Beiner - 1984 - Political Theory 12 (3):423-434.

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