Film-Philosophy 20 (2-3):219-234 (2016)

Laura McMahon
Eastern Michigan University
Alain Resnais's 1963 film Muriel ou le temps d'un retour has been read in terms of a failure to engage with the historical and political issues surrounding the Algerian War – a failure viewed by Susan Sontag as a consequence of Resnais's favouring of aesthetics over politics. This essay reconsiders Muriel beyond the terms of this perceived privileging of aesthetic abstraction over political engagement, and looks at ways in which the spatio-temporal organization of the film is bound to forms of political critique. Drawing on Jacques Derrida's thinking of justice and Gilles Deleuze's emphasis on the topological dimensions of Resnais's cinema, I argue that Muriel's differential, interruptive configurations of history and place carve out a time and space for justice that refuses ontologization, reanimating encrypted traces of Algeria's traumatic history of decolonization and resisting the mournful memory-work of the French nationalist account.
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DOI 10.3366/film.2016.0012
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Future Politics.Paul Patton - 2003 - In Paul Patton & John Protevi (eds.), Between Deleuze and Derrida. Continuum.

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