Non-Cinema, or The Location of Politics in Film

Film-Philosophy 20 (1):131-148 (2016)

Philosophy has repeatedly denied cinema in order to grant it artistic status. Adorno, for example, defined an ‘uncinematic’ element in the negation of movement in modern cinema, ‘which constitutes its artistic character’. Similarly, Lyotard defended an ‘acinema’, which rather than selecting and excluding movements through editing, accepts what is ‘fortuitous, dirty, confused, unclear, poorly framed, overexposed’. In his Handbook of Inaesthetics, Badiou embraces a similar idea, by describing cinema as an ‘impure circulation’ that incorporates the other arts. Resonating with Bazin and his defence of ‘impure cinema’, that is, of cinema's interbreeding with other arts, Badiou seems to agree with him also in identifying the uncinematic as the location of the Real. This article will investigate the particular impurities of cinema that drive it beyond the specificities of the medium and into the realm of the other arts and the reality of life itself. Privileged examples will be drawn from various moments in film history and geography, starting with the analysis of two films by Jafar Panahi: This Is Not a Film, whose anti-cinema stance in announced in its own title; and The Mirror, another relentless exercise in self-negation. It goes on to examine Kenji Mizoguchi's deconstruction of cinematic acting in his exploration of the geidomono genre in The Story of the Last Chrysanthemums, and culminates in the conjuring of the physical experience of death through the systematic demolition of film genres in The Act of Killing.
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DOI 10.3366/film.2016.0007
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Cinema 1: The Movement Image.Gilles Deleuze, Hugh Tomlinson & Barbara Habberjam - 1988 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 46 (3):436-437.
Jean Renoir.James Mark Purcell & Bazin Andre - 1972 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 31 (2):280-280.

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