The Paradox of Film: An Industry of Sex, a Form of Seduction (Notes on Jean Baudrillard's Seduction and the Cinema)

Film-Philosophy 14 (2):41-61 (2010)

Jean Baudrillard, the misfit. Jean Baudrillard, who told us that the Gulf Warnever happened, who drew our attention to the perils of a civilization thatchoses to lead a virtual existence in an arena of images and simulacra - this isthe Baudrillard we are mostly familiar with. But Jean Baudrillard, thechampion of appearances? Baudrillard, more-feminist-than-the-feminists?This Baudrillard remains buried in the stacks of a prolific career spanningover forty years and involving some of the most radical systematicdeconstructions of Western culture, society and politics. Baudrillard hasprimarily been heralded as an enemy of the world of images, the surfacesuperficiality of consumer culture; it stands as no surprise, then, that in mosttheoretical assessments of his work there is little mention of Seduction , a text aimed at restoring a great amount of value to the surface ofthings.1While apostles of Baudrillard such as Norman K. Denzin tend tooffer brief and, in this writer’s opinion, erroneous summaries of seduction’s‘potential of unmasking the order of appearances’ , Seduction hasyet to be understood as a praise for the world of appearances, play, andreversibility, as encouragement for the resistance of the orders of law certainty, and production. 2 In the following pages, I hope to introduce readers to a fascinating but often overlooked text of Baudrillard’s and, in doing so, to demonstrate that Baudrillard’s text offers a unique and yet unexplored insight into the dichotomous and contradictory nature of cinema - this medium which as an instrument of popular culture acts according to the modern logic of production, but as a form owes more to the transformative and playful semiology of the pre-modern
Keywords Cinema  Baudrillard
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DOI 10.3366/film.2010.0043
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Culture and Value.Ludwig Wittgenstein, G. H. Von Wright, Heikki Nymam & Peter Winch - 1982 - Philosophy and Rhetoric 15 (1):70-73.
Film as Art.Rudolf Arnheim & Arthur Knight - 1958 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 17 (2):260-262.

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