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Philosophy and Film Film and Philosophy

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									              Philosophy and Film / Film and Philosophy
       Abstracts of parallel session papers (in alphabetical order)

Groundhog Day – A film about the good life
Dr. Diana Abad, Dortmund University of Technology (Germany)
One of the most important questions of moral philosophy, indeed the one with which moral
philosophy started, is what makes a life a good life. After more than 2500 years, it is still a
controversial issue. Roughly, there are three kinds of answers philosophy has come up with:
hedonism, desire satisfaction accounts, and objective list accounts.

A marvellous way of approaching this issue is to watch the film "Groundhog Day" which can
teach us a lot about what a good life consists in - and what not.

Meet Phil who has somehow become trapped in a single day he cannot get out of. Each time
he wakes, it is February 2nd, and everybody around him lives through that day in the same
way every time. Phil tries various ways of coping with this situation: he does what he wants
disregarding the consequences, because for him there aren't any; he tries to seduce a
woman, but fails dismally; he finds things to do with his life as it is that are of intrinsic

The first of these ways of coping corresponds to a combined hedonistic / desire satisfaction
account of the good life, and it clearly shows the drawbacks of such an account. People
desire all kinds of things, and all kinds of things bring them pleasure, but getting them does
not necessarily result in a good life, because they easily might be the wrong things. Phil finds
that out soon enough. Even though he gets what he desires and derives plenty of pleasure
out of it at first, this kind of existence rapidly becomes empty and meaningless to him. He
despairs and tries to kill himself.

We may conceive of Phil's second way of coping as a highly refined version of the desire
satisfaction account: He finds an overarching goal and tries to achieve it. Everything he does,
like reading French poetry, is subordinated to the goal of seducing a certain woman. The
trouble is that this goal, pursued in this way, is unattainable, so Phil is frustrated, and this
does not result in a good life either.

Finally, Phil realizes that the things he did in order to seduce that woman, the things he
merely treated as means to an end, are worth pursuing for their own sake, like reading
French poetry. So he learns to do just that and finally, his life is fulfilling. Philosophically
speaking, this third way of coping is not readily translatable to an objective list account of
the good life, because we would be hard put to explain how a highly specialized item like
"read French poetry" could make it on the list. Still, the deficits of the first two ways of
coping show that some measure of objectivity is necessary for certain things to be
constitutents of a good life.
Probably, we can put it best with Harry Frankfurt: Like Phil, we need something objectively
worthwhile to care about in order to have a good life.

Against film as ‘philosophy’: D.Z. Phillips and Ingmar Bergman
John Adams, University of Liverpool (UK)
Ingmar Bergman’s films of the sixties have long fascinated philosophers and theologians.
The director himself has even been championed as a philosopher of sorts. George E. Lauder,
for example, thinks that the ‘questions that Bergman asks are philosophical questions and
so his films are a marriage of movies and metaphysics’, while for Irving Singer, as ‘a
humanistic philosopher and applied aesthetician, I sought in Bergman, a mode of
intellectual probing and penetration that seems to me clearly philosophical’. These
philosophers are typical of a certain tendency to view the director as an important
philosophical voice in serious cinema.

But if Bergman’s work is seen as philosophy, how should we judge him? What kind of
philosopher is he? Examining these films as works of philosophy, what is said might be
considered rather naïve (what does Bergman actually say about contemporary ‘issues’
within the philosophy of religion, for example?); there is a real danger of underestimating
Bergman as a filmmaker, if we pay too much attention to the ‘philosophy’ within his films.
He isn’t a philosopher and his films are not works of philosophy. I think that too much has
been said in recent years by those who seem to think about the relation between film and
philosophy in a narrow, unimaginative way.

Philosophers and theologians have had a lot to say about Through a Glass Darkly, Winter
Light and The Silence, directed by Bergman in the early sixties. Those familiar with these
works will understand why this is so. The areas or issues covered include the existence of
God, human communication, love, God’s ‘silence’, and the connection between religious
belief and mental illness. In his book, Through a Darkening Glass, the philosopher of
religion, D.Z. Phillips, shows that there are real difficulties with what Bergman has to say in
these films, difficulties that have been ignored by many, who seem to be distracted by the
subject matter, by the very fact that the director concerns himself with issues some would
consider fundamental within the philosophy of religion. Phillips picks up on these
difficulties, partly at least because of the confusions that arise from the use of the ‘religious’
language within the films. And initially, the vitality of Phillips’ comments appears to exist
solely in his criticism of what he sees as the mistakes that Bergman makes, or the
narrowness of his understanding of religion.

But his philosophical approach not only exposes conceptual confusion, but also encourages
us to contemplate the connection between such confusion and what might be considered
‘aesthetic’ weaknesses of the films. The primary importance of Phillips’ comments for the
philosophy of film, is that in their uncompromising reflection on what is said within the
films, they show us that we should not be seduced by the received notion of ‘seriousness’
that commentators repeatedly and uncritically ascribe to Bergman’s films of this period. In
contrasting Phillips’ ‘contemplative’ approach with other approaches, I hope to show that
his work, though profoundly controversial, allows us to think about the films in ways that do
justice to them as films rather than as works of pseudo-philosophy.
Ciné-vision: film and the defense of photographic transparency
Dr Inés de Asis
Film is often analyzed in terms of photographs –its atomic component. A rather
controversial evaluation of photographs can be found in Kendall Walton‘s essay,
“Transparent Pictures: On the Nature of Photographic Realism,” where the medium is
analyzed in terms of its equivalence to other sight enhancements like mirrors, microscopes,
telescopes, etc. There, Walton specifically deals with photographic transparency –that is,
that we see through the photograph and onto its object- but one construal of the problem
deals in terms of epistemic value. The equation to perception after all, suggests that the
photograph is one epistemically valuable mode of access on par with or supplementary to
our natural sense faculties, to which we ascribe a certain qualification for apprehending

In one vein of the epistemic value debate, the question is whether photographs can qualify
as a genuine prosthesis–a kind of device that allows or enhances perceptual contact like
mirrors, microscropes and telescopes do. These examples are merited with a special kind of
information carrying capacity. Since not all perception mediating devices are considered
genuine prostheses those that are must carry information in a special way, so we must
begin to establish a set of information carrying criteria for genuine prostheses.
Walton outlined his criteria for (at least visual) perception: To see is to have a visual
experience caused by an object in a manner which is 1) belief independent, 2) similarity
preserving and 3) counterfactually dependent on the object of sight. This obtains even if the
object-subject relationship is mediated. Since photographs meet these conditions, they are
aids to seeing.

Cohen and Meskin reject the photograph as a genuine prosthesis because it fails to meet
another necessary criterion beyond Walton’s three –egocentric spatial information. This
criterion was introduced earlier by Gregory Currie where he proposed that egocentric
spatial information is requirement because being able to track one‘s relation to the object of
sight is the very function of seeing. Walton dismissed the requirement as too strong since
often, even in uncontroversial cases of seeing, we are unable to preform the tracking
operation; for example, locating a carnation’s relation to us when reflected in a series of

The problems with Currie’s doxastic version of this information are avoided by Cohen and
Meskin‘s nondoxastic proposal which does not require egocentric spatial information to be
tracking-oriented, only carried. The photograph‘s failure to carry information of this kind is
what disqualifies it.

Thesis: In this essay, I will defend the status of photographs against Cohen and Meskin’s
nondoxastic egospatial information requirement by refuting their argument in two ways: I
will argue that the photograph cannot be rejected on the basis that it does not in principle
meet the egospatial information carrying requirement –doxastic or non- because, 1) this is
not a necessary requirement for other egocentric spatial information registering senses and
2) photographs belong to a device type that can carry this information –a type shared
namely with film.

Participatory imagination and nonfiction films
Paloma Atencia-Linares, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (Spain)
A frequent assumption, both in Film Theory and in Philosophical studies about Film, is that
cinematic experience involves an imaginary and participatory perceptual activity. That is,
that when confronting a film one imagines oneself seeing (from the inside) the events and
characters depicted therein. The motivations for postulating this account and the
implications drawn by different theorists are diverse. However, we can identify a weak and
a strong version of this view. According to the weak version, imaginary perception would be
a ‘default norm of film viewing’ (Levinson), but not every cinematic experience would
require it. Defenders of the strong version, in contrast, maintain that imagining-seeing is
intrinsic to all pictorial (including cinematic) experiences, for it is this very fact that explains
their depictive character.

K.Walton, one of the most influential supporters of the strong version, has taken the
argument a little further. According to his theory, what distinguishes descriptive works from
depictive ones is that, while the former may or may not prompt imaginings, all the latter are
props in perceptual games of make-believe. The consequence that Walton draws from this
is that all depictive works—and therefore, all films—are fictional by definition, for engaging
with them necessarily involves imagining that one is seeing such and such (participatory
perceptual imagining-PPI). Hence, works such as Errol Morris' A Thin Blue Line (1984), would
be fictional because, in viewing it, S would be imagining her seeing, say, the unjustly
convicted and sentenced to death, Randall Adams sitting in front of her. Although Walton
claims his notion of fiction to be a peculiar one, it is certainly not the case that all films are
fictional and not all cinematic experience is experience of fictions.

In view of this, one can consider two options: (1) denying the viability of postulating PPI and
finding an alternative account for cinematic representation that remains neutral in what
concerns the fictional or non-fictional character of the work, or (2) arguing against Walton
that endorsing PPI does not necessarily commit one to hold the fictional status of all films.
As controversial as PPI is, (1) has proved the most popular option. Less explored, however, is
the second one. Following this position, I will argue that, although the association of
fantasy, make-believe and fiction with the imagination seems extremely intuitive, there is
no reason to believe that imaginative engagement is restricted to this type of activities. The
imagination may just as well have a role in other tasks of our every day cognition of the
world which do not involve fictional contexts. Gregory Currie and Ian Ravenscroft have
claimed, for instance, that the imagination is crucial for our capacity to empathize with
others and understand their mental states. In that sense, the imagination would have a
recreative facet as well as a creative one. That is, we would not be creating new fictional
worlds but would rather be recreating or trying to represent to ourselves other's mental
states or situations different from our own. If it is the case that an imaginative activity is not
restricted to fictional contexts, then PPI could be acceptable as a theory of cinematic
representation without thereby implying the fictionality of every cinematic experience. I will
not side, in principle, with either position, but I will lay bare that both of them undermine
Walton's theory of fiction.
No, Not Yet: woman, abjection and redemption in Children of Men
Terryl Bacon, UWE (UK)
On the surface, the film’s well-meaning liberalism is attested to by a plethora of laudable
neo-humanist signifiers. When we consider that it is not men who bear children, but
women, the title of Alfonse Cuaran’s film, The Children of Men, seems to point to a
gendered dissonance. Scratch the surface and an unconscious misogynist agenda emerges.
As a prominent headline on a public screen in an early scene tells us, “The World Has
Collapsed – Only Britain Soldiers On”. And soldier on it does, in a militarised world where
women, stripped of their procreative function, seem to have little value.

Woman, as Naomi Wolf has pointed out, has historically been made responsible for beauty
and emotion in the human race. In this dystopian vision of the future, abjection spreads
throughout society and infrastructure, as women are blamed for what is essentially the
symbolic impotence of a failed late capitalism. While in the book on which this film is based,
decline is caused by the inexplicable drop of male sperm count, in Alfonso Cuaron’s version,
Michael Caine, the film’s aging hippy, asks, “The ultimate mystery: why are women

We have the “soft” and reluctant hero; prone to alcoholism and gentle nihilism, while his ex
partner, Julia, portrayed as a ruthless and hard-edged woman, is ultimately killed by a hyper
macho man riding a motorcycle. Gender stereotypes pervade, yet there are some pleasures
for the feminist and a form of redemption to be found in this film.

Filming the body and unravelling stories: Agnès Varda's intimate geographies
Dr Delphine Bénézet, King's College, London (UK)
In recent years, film scholars have shown an increasing interest in phenomenology and
ethics. Two notable examples are Sarah Cooper's Selfless Cinema? Ethics and French
Documentary and Martine Beugnet's Cinema and Sensation. Beugnet's text highlights the
synchronicity between theory and practice by focusing on an heteroclite group of
contemporary films. Cooper uses a corpus including Rouch's Chronique d'un été (1950) and
Depardon's 10ème chambre, instants d'audience (2003) to show how “ethics ruptures the
being of documentary film” (Cooper, 2006, 12) .

Both Cooper and Beugnet make reference to some of Agnès Varda's films. Their analysis of
Varda's work diverges from the traditional association with feminism and new wave cinema,
and their critical perspectives focus on often neglected aspects of Varda's practice. Because
of Varda's distinctive take on filmmaking (she refuses for instance to restrict herself to a
single format or style), few critics have tried to look at her work as a whole. A more
comprehensive analysis demonstrates the significance of her work on filmmakers of the
same generation and on younger ones too. Her work has not only influenced French
directors from the new wave, but ripples through the films of directors as different as Julie
Bertucelli, Pascale Ferran, and Coline Serreau.

Varda describes cinema as “the movement of sensations” (quoted in Smith, 1998, 26-27).
Varda's emphasis on the link between embodied experiences and cinema points to the need
for alternative interpretations. It is my contention that Varda's images would gain from a
critical perspective informed by phenomenology as much as by feminist film theory.
Focusing on Mur, Murs and Documenteur (1980-1981) reveals unexplored characteristics of
her work, and illustrates how philosophy can provide crucial insights to film studies. These
expatriate films take place in California, well away from the meandering streets of Paris
most often associated with her work. The portrayal of California that Varda elaborates is
alternately playful, self-reflexive and melancholic. Varda's images echo the voices of various
Californians, while they also illustrate her protagonist’s feeling of estrangement and
alienation. I will show that in this diptych she creates the intimate geographies associated
with her better-known work. In these two films, the representation of a kaleidoscopic
portrayal of the muralist scene in the 1980s, and of an intimate soliloquy, is consistent with
her theoretical understanding of space and bodies.

If Varda's work is a significant artistic and feminist intervention, it is not only because her
films disrupt the patriarchal logic of a uniform vision, but also because her work can be
labelled a cinema of the senses, which interrogates the experiences of embodied subjects
and problematizes gendered representations. Varda articulates an original “haptic cinema”
(Marks, 2000, 170) which invites us to engage with and question our own experience. This
analysis aims to explore how by filming bodies and telling stories, Varda creates a cinema of
the senses that takes us on an intellectual and sensory journey of discovery.

Film as philosophy: the self-reflective nature of Kurosawa’s Rashomon
Anna Bergqvist, University of Reading and Dr Philip Mallaband (UK)
There has been recent scholarly work done within the Philosophy of Film on the possibility
that films may themselves contribute to the very philosophical debate in which they feature
as subject matter. The argument in favour of this possibility has been most forcefully
expressed by Stephen Mulhall, who argues that the ‘Alien’ series of films has this kind of
self-reflectivity. To illustrate his thesis, Mulhall provides a persuasive account of the way in
which this series of films reflects on 'the conditions for the possibility of film' (p. 3). In his
‘Alien Ways of Thinking: Mulhall’s On Film’, Julian Baggini expresses a scepticism with regard
to Mulhall’s claim for the series (that it constitutes philosophy), but he does assent to the
central thesis: that films can count as pieces of philosophy in themselves. In support of this,
Baggini draws on Kurosawa’s Rashomon (1950). Our intention in this paper is to present
reasons for thinking that although Baggini’s thoughtful presentation of the philosophical
theme running through Rashomon is undoubtedly valuable, it fails to capture just what is
particularly interesting about the film qua philosophy. We argue that Rashomon is a self-
reflective film in the same way that the ‘Alien’ series is held by Mulhall to be.

Baggini represents Rashomon as a reflective work in the sense of being a deep and
thoughtful exploration of the way that our moral commitments impact on the way we see
the world. We argue that this sense of reflectivity is not the same as the one invoked by
Mulhall in his claim for the ‘Alien’ series, and although Rashomon may be thought to be
reflective in the way maintained by Baggini, it is also reflective in virtue of being self-
reflective as it considers its very own possibility as a film. The film achieves this end through
the fact of its narrative being structured around several re-tellings (one of which is three
times removed from the happening of the samurai’s death), and thus addresses the
relationship between the audience and the events presented by the film, and the role of the
We argue that Rashomon makes a case for itself through its own being. It shows us the
impossibility of film either taking or presenting a ‘view from nowhere’. But in so doing
Rashomon cannot fail to take a stance on this very issue, and so must make a case for itself
qua philosophical treatise. Thus the film compels us to reach the verdict that the members
of the audience should be thought of as involved participants, as opposed to detached
neutral observers.

Can film philosophise? Some initial thoughts
Shai Biderman, Boston University (USA)
Philosophy and film studies converge today on three levels. First, there is a subfield of
aesthetics known as "philosophy of film." On this level, philosophical aesthetics examines
the possibility of film theory and subjects such theory to philosophical analysis. Second,
there is a more symmetrical account of their convergence, indicated by the more neutral
designation: "philosophy and film." The subject matter on this level ranges over the mutual
interactions between philosophy (as an intellectual process and a reflective discipline) and
cinema (as an art form). Last, there is the somewhat presumptuous endeavor, entitled "film
as philosophy." The task of this endeavor is to examine the nature of film (and film theory),
under the presumption that film, by its own nature and characteristics, is (or, at least, can
be) itself a form of actual philosophizing.

The idea of "film as philosophy" suggests both that there is a philosophy contained in the
film and that this philosophy and the medium of film itself are interdependent. This idea
holds that films are themselves a process of philosophizing and, indeed, a valuable way of
doing so. I propose to mount a defence of this idea, and argue that films and the cinematic
method have a significant impact on the way we understand and address basic traditional
philosophical questions. I demonstrate how cinematic philosophizing alters our perception
of the attempt to think systematically about fundamental issues of human existence, and
render it plausible to regard film as capable of embodying such acts of reflection.

Interpreting film-thinking in the act of viewing
Jimmy Billingham, University of Sussex (UK)
Drawing on Wolfgang Iser's concept of indeterminacy in the literary text, I propose that
indeterminate features of film invite the participation of the reader in the production of the
text's meaning.

I develop Daniel Frampton's idea of a 'filmind', which 'thinks' the whole of the film-world
presented to the viewer, by looking at how an inherent ambiguity and fragmentation within
this intentional perspective of the filmin leads to indeterminacy. This indeterminacy
stimulates the interpretative activity of the viewer in the act of viewing. I oppose this
interpretation during the viewing process to the interpretation of (often hidden or
'symptomatic') meaning after the event that much film theory has preoccupied itself with, in
doing so undermining David Bordwell's distinction between comprehension and
I wish to emphasise an hermeneutic element in the understanding of film narrative, which
involves the viewer responding to indeterminacy by relating aspects of the narrative – or, to
use Iser's term, 'themes' – to an interpretative horizon that the viewer builds from these
themes. This interpretative activity is guided by the filmind, to the extent that the viewer's
thinking engages with the filmind's in the act of viewing.

In a similar fashion to Iser's text and reader, viewer and filmind become engaged in a
'dialogue'. I explore how this dialogue involves the 'completion' of incomplete film-thinking,
and how the intentional agency of the filmind can also – exploiting the inherent ambiguity
and fragmentation of the filmind – function to mislead the interpretative activity of the
viewer – as in 'puzzle' films such Vanilla Sky – and also resist 'definitive' completion, as in
Hidden (and other Haneke films) and, to a greater extent, Inland Empire (and other Lynch

‘Eat me, drink me, read me’ – Morvern Callar as an Irigarayan Alice
Lucy Bolton, Queen Mary, University of London (UK)
The writings of French feminist philosopher Luce Irigaray provide an array of visually
evocative concepts which can inform and illuminate our understanding of female
consciousness on-screen. Despite her stated mistrust of the specular economy, and her
analysis of the primacy of the visual as having been manipulated by Western patriarchy,
Irigaray’s strategies for the creation and preservation of female subjectivity (within a culture
of two equal subjectivities) enable an understanding of the cinematic representation of the
female. Irigaray’s highlighting of the objectification of women in patriarchy complements
feminist film theory, in particularly Laura Mulvey’s analysis of woman as ‘to be looked at’.

The call of feminist film theorists such as Annette Kuhn, Carol Clover and Tania Modleski for
a new approach to women in film, both rewriting cinematic conventions and challenging
filmmaking methods, with the aim of creating filmic female subjectivities which move away
from physicality and objectification, shares Irigaray’s call for different cultural
representations of women, as well as different ways of looking at them.

Morvern Callar (Lynne Ramsay, 2002) offers a representation of a young woman which is
unusual and challenging. The taciturn, blank-faced Morvern may at first sight appear
unfathomable: having turned a blind eye to the body of her dead boyfriend which lies on
the floor of her flat, she eventually comes to examine the messages he has left for her on
the computer. Morvern is entreated to ‘read me’ and ‘be brave’ – instructions in relation to
a completed novel he has attached to the email. Morvern deletes his name from the title
page, replaces it with her own and sends it off to publishers. She then sets off on a journey
into landscapes and experiences which stimulate her sensorially and imaginatively. The
instruction to ‘read me’ is reminiscent of the instructions to Carroll’s Alice to ‘eat me’ and
‘drink me’, before she embarks on an adventure which challenges her perceptions of reality
and all the conventions of her normal life experience. Irigaray draws upon the notion of
Alice stepping through the looking glass into a world where the normal rules of language
and hierarchy don’t apply: for Irigaray, the notion is a possible visualisation of a change in
culture she considers necessary for female subjectivity to have full expression.
This paper will develop the idea of Alice entering an alternative philosophical and
phenomenological environment, as utilised by Irigaray, and use it to account for Morvern’s
apparently aberrant behaviour. I will therefore demonstrate how Irigaray’s thoughts
concerning language, silence and sensory experience can be used in film analysis, and how
these can be tools for the creation and preservation of female consciousness on-screen. This
in turn will show how philosophy can be drawn upon as a critical tool for studying film, and
suggest new directions for filmmakers and spectators.

Loss, addiction and 21st century spectacle: Steven Spielberg’s Minority Report
Dr Alexia Bowler, Swansea University (UK)
In Steven Spielberg’s Minority Report (2002), the tropes of sight, addiction to simulacra/the
image and surveillance, infuse the film’s narrative, inviting us to interrogate our relationship
with the image, particularly in light of the recent development in digital cultures. In this
paper, I will examine the way in which Spielberg’s film thoughtfully engages in philosophical
speculation regarding our changing relationship with the image and technology in the 21st
century. The paper will propose that Spielberg’s film conceptualises this relationship to the
image as a spiralling addiction to spectacle fed by and resulting in a sense of longing and loss
and that this can only be countered by a new understanding of the image itself.

The image has always been considered powerful, and as Merrin states: ‘as possessing a
remarkable hold on [us] and as having the power to assume for us, in that moment, the
force of that which represents, to become the reality and erase therein the distinction of
original and image’ (Merrin, 2005: 30). Thus my paper will argue that Spielberg’s film
exposes the simulacra’s power in shaping and informing our daily lives, in a way that is
reminiscent of Baudrillard’s concept of our persistent nostalgia for a past reality in a world
of simulacra and hyperreality, and indicative of Debord’s notion of society’s addiction to

In Baudrillard’s assessment, the distinct categories of the real and the imaginary have
switched places through the predominance of simulation and the image, resulting in not
only the hyperreal but also a desire to reconnect with the real, which is characterised as a
lost object. This paper will argue that, in Minority Report, the fantasy of the recovery of this
lost object is contained in Anderton’s desire for the recovery of his missing son (Sean), his
estranged wife (Lara) and the ‘reality’ of experience attributed to his past life.

Anderton’s nostalgia and sense of loss is also coupled with the notion of the spectacle as
addictive. As such, Spielberg’s protagonist is indeed a guilt-ridden drug addict. However,
his addiction is revealed to be more than a dependence on illegal drugs, but is characterised
as a more serious dependence on visual images, illusory visions and memories of the past
that are re-played through new visual technologies. My paper will argue that Anderton’s
addiction to visual images of Lara and Sean, reveal a yearning for a past utopia and his
repeated viewings of these moments of ‘reality’ feed his desire or longing for previous
experiences, keeping him locked in a negative, dependent, spiral of longing and loss. Thus
Spielberg’s assessment of our dependence on and cultivation of images, reflects Debord’s
assertion of the way in which capitalism’s appropriation of the spectacle is based on a false
economy of need and desire, or deprivation and satisfaction.
In summary, my paper will suggest that Spielberg skilfully uses these tropes (of addiction,
loss and the spectacle) to speculate on and engage with re-thinking our relationship with
the visual, the technological and the real in the 21st century.

Woody Allen's Crimes and Misdemeanors and alternative conceptions of
Dr Mikel Burley, Leeds University (UK)
This paper contributes to the debate surrounding the normative significance of Woody
Allen’s Crimes and Misdemeanors which has raged since the film’s release in 1989. I first
identify and characterize two common and ostensibly counter-posed interpretations
of the film, which I call the Unjust and the Just view respectively, and then highlight an
underlying assumption shared by them both. I show that this assumption is questionable,
and thereby make possible an alternative, and in several respects more plausible,
interpretation of the film, which I dub the Intrinsic Justice view.

The Unjust view holds that Crimes and Misdemeanors conveys the message that crime can
lead to happiness and the virtuous can suffer dreadful misfortunes. This interpretation cites,
for example, the fact that the central character, Judah Rosenthal, after having paid for
his troublesome mistress to be killed by a hitman, evades legal punishment and appears to
largely overcome any feelings of remorse, while another character, a rabbi who views life in
the light of a strong ethico-religious framework, progressively goes blind.
Some commentators have condemned the film as morally pernicious, and others, while
toning down this rhetoric of indignation, have nevertheless accepted the film’s message to
be that wrongdoing can pay.

Proponents of the Just view, meanwhile, argue that, for example, while Judah does indeed
appear to have evaded legal sanction, there are signs that he has not overcome the feelings
of guilt and remorse that plagued him earlier in the film; these feelings are liable to corrode
the degree of intimacy and openness that Judah is able to experience in his familial and
personal relationships, and thus to preclude a life of happiness and fulfilment.

The common assumption here is that justice involves a connection between action and
experiential consequences for the agent: if justice prevails, then the consequences of good
actions will be enjoyable and those of bad actions will be unpleasant, whereas if injustice
prevails, the consequences will diverge from this pattern. A key question, however, is
whether this assumption should be accepted. I place it in question by making reference to
an alternative conception of justice proposed by several important historical philosophers,
notably Socrates, Boethius, and Kierkegaard. According to them, justice involves a
connection between, not action and experience, but action and character – or the state of
one’s soul: good actions enrich one’s soul precisely because it is good to be virtuous,
whereas bad actions contaminate one’s soul because it is bad to be vicious. I call
this the Intrinsic Justice view, since it maintains that, in effect, the reward or punishment
appropriate to a morally relevant action is internal to the action itself.

I then highlight certain features of Crimes and Misdemeanors that invite the viewer to take
seriously a conception of justice comparable to the Intrinsic Justice view, and argue that this
view facilitates an interpretation of the film that is at least as plausible as, and
more artistically satisfactory than, the other two.

Responding to the timeliness of cinematic time:
A hermeneutical approach to Francois Ozon’s 5x2
Lee Carruthers, University of Chicago (USA)
Although philosophical hermeneutics have not found much application within academic film
study, this paper seeks to demonstrate the special value of this perspective for
contemporary film-critical practice. Specifically, I argue that hermeneutics affords a nuanced
approach to the question of cinematic time, allowing us to formulate a richer account of this
phenomenon than is presently available. Where recent studies of this topic— such as the
significant analyses offered by Phillip Rosen, Mary Ann Doane and Laura Mulvey—
effectively ‘still’ cinematic time by privileging a static model of film spectatorship, this
discussion outlines a hermeneutical approach to filmic temporality that emphasizes our
dynamic engagement with it as film viewers.

To this end, this paper pursues what I call the timeliness of cinematic time— or in other
words, the way that time is always at issue for us, in film viewing. Adapting certain insights
from Martin Heidegger, Hans-Georg Gadamer and Hans Robert Jauss for film study,
timeliness comes to designate a working through of time that occurs as a reciprocal
exchange between film and viewer. On one hand, this is to foreground the fluctuating
particularity of cinematic time, as we actively interpret it; on the other, it is to consider the
way our experience of a film’s temporal rhetorics facilitates textual meaning. As an
approach to filmic temporality, timeliness also relates the specificities of film viewing to a
wider trajectory of experience that encompasses other films, and other viewings, over time.
In this sense, it illuminates the historical dimension of cinematic time, because it shows us
how our present experience draws upon the past, yet remains open to the future.

As a vivid illustration of this approach, I consider the timeliness of a recent production,
François Ozon’s 5x2 (2004, France). Ozon’s film is an exemplary text for these purposes
because it deploys reverse chronology; in this respect, the film imbricates issues of filmic
temporality and interpretation by its very formal structuring. While narratives of reverse
chronology are sometimes thought to mimic the mechanisms of hindsight, revealing the
root causes of things with new clarity, I suggest that 5x2 is motivated otherwise than this:
the film finally evokes an experience of temporality that is deepened and complexified,
rather than resolved. In this sense, Ozon’s film clearly rewards a consideration of timeliness
because our experience of its ellipses, silences, and opacities are essential to its project. And
significantly, 5x2 reminds us that cinematic time is not fully predictable, or exhausted by any
static picture of it; rather, it is a question that calls for renewed engagement.

Voices from nowhere: the non-vocalic and acousmatic voice(over) of Chris
Jenny Chamarette, University of Cambridge (UK)
This paper is part of a combined endeavour with Davina Quinlivan to investigate the
phenomenological and ontological significance of sound, and in particular, embodied sound,
in film. This particular methodological approach to film philosophy involves close attention
to the specificities of the film object – in other words, not simply the films themselves, but
also their medium, and the cultural discourses that surround the films. The focus here on
Avant-garde directors inevitably invokes notions of the auteur; nontheless both panel
papers represent a revisionist approach to auteurism, recognising the specificity of the
filmmaker, but also the significance of encounters with the film. As such both papers put
forward a phenomenological account of film, and in particular the embodied film sounds
that intimate a problematic relationship between the singularity of individual bodies and the
communality of bodily experience.

The ‘non-fiction’ films of Chris Marker, to employ Nora Alter’s term, have been noted for
their genre-defying codes of narration and representation. Marker’s auteurist leanings are
irrefutable, and the manipulation of the sound and image tracks of his films, in particular the
didactic guidance of voiceover, confirm this viewpoint. This is of course in spite of Marker’s
unwillingness to enter the public eye, to be ‘present’ to the spectator of his films in the form
of his own face, body and voice. His consistent approach to absenting his embodied self
from his films, and from discourses on his films, has been criticised by the musicologist and
sound theorist Michel Chion, who argues that, by virtue of the voiceover’s overemphasis in
Marker’s films, one is left with the assumption that “otherwise there exists some neutral
way of speaking”.

My paper examines what is at stake in the ‘non-neutral’ speech of the voiceover in Marker’s
films; a voiceover that is never represented by Marker’s own embodied voice, but which
nonetheless persistently narrativises both sound tracks and image tracks across Marker’s
oeuvre. Marker’s intentional play on presence, and his emphasis on the indexicality or on
the relational potentional of the rhythmic image, leads one to think in terms of a delineation
between Marker’s authorative, textual ‘voice’ in his films’ content, and the absented
embodied voice in his films’ form. The ‘vocalic body’ of the voice-over, as Steven Connor
would put it, is desituated. Marker’s words are not only uttered, even ventriloquised
through an other, but this other is also rarely visually represented. The guiding logic of what
Chion would call textual speech is, in Marker’s work, insistently acousmatic and
disembodied – sometimes even silent. Thus in fact Marker’s acousmatic voiceovers acquire
something of a sacral or authoritative status, not in spite of, but because of, Marker’s non-
vocalic body. This paper will engage with the two notions of the non-vocalic and the
acousmatic to examine what kinds of non-neutral ‘presence’ or traced embodiments of
subjectivity are brought into being between Marker’s ‘voice’ and the voiceover of his films,
with specific reference to the ciné-essais (filmic essays) Sans Soleil (Sunless) and Chats
perchés (untranslated).

Screening matters: Beholding film’s base (Panel)
Dr Nick Chare (University of Reading), Peter Kilroy (Leeds), Marcel Swiboda (University of
Bolton) and Dr Liz Watkins (University of Bristol) (UK)
Celluloid is material. The projected images that are brought to life by light at a cinema
appear as evanescent, immaterial other worlds yet they are often grounded, however, in
acetate or nitrate bases. The strips of film upon which images are initially exposed, where
they are originally inscribed by light, possess a materiality which is usually suppressed within
the rather than exploited by filmmakers. This materiality, which is integral to both the
screened image and sound resolution of the film, stubbornly refuses to be voided from the
cinematic spectacle. Its presence and pertinence to spectatorship has tended to be
concealed by modes of interpretation which focus instead on the aesthetics of cinema and
on narrative form as displaced from the modes and materials that are integral to its
formation. This panel explores varied ways in which the material substrate of film as a visual
and sonorous form can emerge, what potential meanings it holds, and why it requires
greater acknowledgment. The papers adopt a variety of approaches, drawing on recent
work in anthropology, art history, film studies, philosophy and psychoanalysis, in order to
grasp the affect or significance that these phenomena that trouble the cinematic image
possess. The papers explore theories surrounding carnality, colour, contingency,
deterioration, embodiment and temporality at the level of the film as material and of the
cinematic as illusion through engagements with celluloid as medium, index and text.

The panel consists of four speakers:
Dr Nick Chare (University of Reading): Close encounters of the material kind
Michel Chion describes ‘visual microrhythms,’ as filmic events such as ‘curls of smoke, rain,
snowflakes, undulations on the rippled surface of a lake, dunes, and so forth – even the
swarming movement of the photographic grain itself, when visible’. This paper will examine
the various microrhythms which occur in the film Decasia. Drawing upon psychoanalytic
theory it will seek to address the relationship between these visual phenomena, and their
acoustic similar, and filmic materiality. The paper will also address themes of anamnesis and

Peter Kilroy (Leeds): “The Coming of the Light”: transparency, opacity and A.C. Haddon’s
cinematic surfaces
Cinematic indexicality has always offered the lure of what Didi-Huberman refers to as the
‘fantasy of referentiality’, a modality of light-inflected ‘touch’. However, such a lure also
threatens to render the material base of the cinematic inscription a deceptively transparent
one, as one becomes seduced by the ‘other side’ of the screen. Nevertheless, the cinematic
index also bears within itself a trace of its own material conditions of possibility. Such an
expanded reading renders the material base of the cinematic inscription a resolutely opaque
one, an inscribed surface composed of and by the action of light, dust, scratches and
temporal decay. This paper will address the complex interplay of transparency and opacity
through an examination of the fin-de-siècle film fragments of Alfred Court Haddon (zoologist
and ethnographer). Haddon’s cinematic surfaces stubbornly refuse to be occluded and one
is forced to weave between them and their ‘beyond’.

Marcel Swiboda (University of Bolton): Celluloid soundings: the materiality of cinematic
The 'materiality' of sound remains a substantially vexed question for the theoretical arts and
humanities. Questions of speech, dialogue or voice - appeals to the materiality of sound,
without recourse to the formations of signification or sense - are often seen as examples of
a 'residual' desire for self-presence in the language of Jacques Derrida. 'Neo-materialist'
invocations of sonority, however, of the kind levelled by thinkers such as Deleuze, which
question of what constitutes the materiality of sound in terms of immanent, 'self-organising'
processes too often remain 'incorporeal'. The proposed paper will explore the question of
sonority, its 'material' as well as semiotic inscriptions in relation to the medium of cinema.
Reprising the materiality of acousmatic sound in film as developed in the work of Michel
Chion, this paper will take a philosophical rather than film theoretical approach to the
question of cinematic sound's materiality - a subject that the burgeoning discourse on filmic
materialism has yet to substantially address.

Dr Liz Watkins (University of Bristol): Expressive absence, temporality and memory: Don’t
Look Now
The historicity of the film operates between the stillness of the image, as an instant
captured, and the distancing of it through the veiling of the cinematic illusion of movement
(Jameson, 1995; Doane, 2007). Within this discourse the residual marks of deterioration
(scratches, detritus) form a register of pressure, heat and touch on the film material. This
register traces a temporality specific to that film. A comparative analysis of Don’t Look Now
(1973) with a subsequent digital restoration indicates the specificity of object, medium and
text. This analysis focuses on a sequence which registered an image and instance of intense
light, marking the camera’s perspective within the filmed space. The dissolve of this image
into light also foregrounds a narrative of memory susceptible to the frailties of subjectivity
and desire. Film fades; colour balances shift and are re-written through its various
manifestations; this sequence differs in the digital restoration and can be re-read through
the instability of the ‘film object’. This paper addresses silence (Merleau-Ponty) and fantasy
as ‘figments’ of the object (Peirce) to theorise the resonance of image and material in terms
of an ‘expressive absence’ within the temporalities and translations of film medium and

Two Kinds of Future in Chen Kaige’s Wuji (The Promise)
Dr Sinkwan Cheng, CUNY (USA)
Contrary to the prevalent modern Western view that time is a framework in which things
occur, Wuji depicts “real time” as an active way of being rather than a passive way of
becoming. Time is not what humans passively suffer. Rather, the very nature of human being
is engendering time.

Wuji contrasts a false future to a true future. “Fate,” which seems to reign supreme for a
large part of the movie, traps humanity within a false future that in reality is a mere
unfolding of a past script. With Fate asserting the upper hand, the unfolding of time equals
the unfolding of Fate. In order to have a true future, the self must struggle against passively
becoming what Fate has prescribed. In Wuji, this defiance takes the form of human struggle
to reverse time (Fate) so that existence can begin anew as the initiator rather than the
initiated of time.

That such aspiration is no mere foolhardiness is supported by the fact that human beings in
Wuji were never born to be slaves of Fate. Rather, they become slaves through their own
action, as in Qingcheng and Guilang’s respective bargain with Mencheng and Wuhuan, both
reminiscent of Faust’s deal with Mephistopheles. The fatalistic claim “I can’t act otherwise”
would only strengthen the chain of bondage. Only by admitting one’s responsibility as an
agent of one’s own enslavement can one dislodge the Fate which one has formerly incurred
on oneself. Qingcheng and Guilang’s transformations provide telling examples.

"Cinema di poesia" viewed in a cinema theatre as the site for "the Anwesen"
of being
Dr Wim Christiaens, University of Gent (Belgium)
Heidegger distinguished the logos as logico-mathematical reason which objectifies the
world into a world-view, from the echo's or remnants of an original pre-socratic logos,
which was much more integrative (a "Sammeln" or gathering with respect to Being in the
service of the "Anwesen" of Being). Heidegger believed that during the age of modernity
this older form of thought found a hostel in the poetry of certain philosophical poets
(Hölderin, Rilke, ...). The influential French philosopher Alain Badiou claims that this "age of
poetry" (l'âge des poètes) has come to an end with the work of Paul Celan. We want to
argue that a certain kind of cinema plays the role of poetry, what Pasolini called "cinema di
poesia". In this presentation we will show why cinema can take over this role, i.e., what
characteristics of the medium make it prone to receive the logos in the sense of gathering.
It will follow that film viewing in the cinema theatre, which since the advent of film has been
compared to being chained in Plato's cave, is a necessary condition for "cinema di poesia" to
be the site for the "Anwesen" of Being.

The ethical dimension with Emmanuel Levinas and Jacques Derrida:
reflections on Krzysztof Kieslowski’s Decalogue
Myung-hye Chun, University of Bristol (UK)
My particular interest in Krzysztof Kieslowski’s The Decalogue (1988) lies in his ingenious
filmic conception and dramatisation of questions of ethics and religion. Kieslowski’s
cinematic meditation on the founding statement of Western ethics and legislation merits
close analysis. His interest is in seeing how the ten abstract maxims of the Decalogue will be
linked with specific situations: stories are correlated with them entirely arbitrarily. Each
maxim becomes a talking-point as the status of a pretext. Kieslowski’s serial aesthetic seeks
to think about ethics under an often bewildering variety of aspects in our day-to-day life.
The questions are posed in Decalogue 1 by the boy Pawel raised by an atheistic father and a
pious aunt: What is death? What’s left? Who is God? Does he exist? They are the questions
of a child and those of a philosopher posed especially within ethics. As to Kieslowski’s
ethical themes and issues to be discussed, the writings of the ethical philosopher Emmanuel
Levinas and Jacques Derrida will be drawn in depth where possible. I will endeavour to
blend their philosophical works of ethics with the discussion of Decalogue, focusing on
Section 1, 2, and 8.

Particular attention will be paid to the interconnections of ethics and mystery. Kieslowski’s
emphasis on the importance of the intersection of the ethical and the mysterious augments
conceptual gaps in the narrative that can recall the enigmatic storytelling of the Old
Testament. Representation of the image of the young man will be investigated in order to
analyse the possibilities and conditions of the Other’s appearance in our lives, and to
formulate the ethical significance of the respectful, rewarding encounter with it. I will also
question the notion of the incarnation, of God-figure made human, visible and tangible, as
an enigma, something opaque to the understanding. Levinas’s ethics revolve around the
possibility that I might encounter something which is radically other than myself. For
Levinas, as for Derrida after him, we are abandoned by an absent God to infinite
responsibility to the other person. God appears only in our ethical actions towards others
who are in fact the Strangers. Such a situation invests me with genuine freedom and gives
my freedom meaning because I am confronted with real choices between responsibility and
obligation towards Unknown, or hatred and violent repudiation. In The Decalogue, all the
characters, linked by a Warsaw apartment complex, enact dramas of choice. For Derrida,
from the moment God waited to see what Adam would name the animals, to see the power
of man in action, humans have always had the choice of belief, of good and ill, of life and
death, of justice and murder. It is through their dilemmas of choices that the characters can
experience the interminable oscillation between abandoning and relenting, between
rebuking God and taking responsibility, and discover the ethical dimension.

The morality of horror movies
Dr David Coady, University of Tasmamia (Australia)
Up until now philosophical discussion of movie genres has been largely confined to aesthetic
issues. The principal exception to this rule is pornography, the moral status of which is the
subject of an ongoing philosophical debate which closely tracks and overlaps with a public
debate about the same issue. But despite the existence of a similar public debate about the
morality of horror films, the philosophical interest in the topic has been very limited.

This paper goes some way toward remedying this situation. One of the few articles to
explicitly address the issue is Gianluca Di Muzio’s “The Immorality of Horror Films”, which
appeared in the International Journal of Applied Philosophy, 2006 (20:2) pp. 277-94. Di
Muzio argues that it is immoral to produce, distribute or view horror films (or at least an
important particularly violent sub-class of them) on the grounds that 1) “living the moral life
requires being disposed to react compassionately to the sight of human victimization”, and
2) “the most violent horror films either overwhelm the spectator or promote a detachment
from violence that may interfere with the development and maintenance of the correct
reactive attitudes to human victimization.”

I argue against 1) that Di Muzio has too narrow a conception of the moral life and a
correspondingly exaggerated conception of the centrality of compassion in all forms of that
life. More importantly, however, I argue that Di Muzio goes wrong by emphasizing “the
sight” of human victimization as the correct object of moral response. It is not the mere
visual representation of human victimization that should provoke a moral response, but the
reality of it (part of that reaction should be compassion, but also equally importantly a sense
of indignation and injustice).

Implicit in Di Muzio’s argument for 2) is the claim that at some level the viewer cannot
distinguish extremely vivid representation of violence from the real thing. This means that
he is presupposing two things, first that witnessing actual human victimization tends to have
a morally corrosive effect, and second that witnessing vivid fictional representations of the
same thing will have a similar effect, unless the representation of the victimization is also a
representation of it as being immoral.

Both steps of this argument are extremely dubious. Although seeing human victimization
may make some people less compassionate and more indifferent to injustice, it will have the
opposite effect on others. There seems to be no evidence, for example, that the soldiers
who liberated Auschwitz tended to be morally harmed by the experience (though many of
them were psychologically harmed by it). The second step of Di Muzio’s argument in effect
presupposes that the viewer is at some level incapable of distinguishing fiction from reality.
I will argue that this mistakenly assumes an infantile conception of the viewer.
The last part of this argument will require some engagement with the aesthetics of horror
films, in particular it requires a discussion of Noel Carroll’s ‘paradox of horror’, and the
critical literature that it has produced. Why are people attracted to horror films when fear is
an unpleasant emotion? I will develop an account of the fear involved which does not entail
that the viewer believes (even sub-consciously) that the events he or she is watching are

Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better: Non-Cognitive Affective Responses to
Film and Literature
Amy Coplan, California State University, Fullerton (USA) and Derek Matravers, Open
University (UK)
Recent Philosophy of Mind has argued that the standard claim that emotions involve
cognitions ignores a phenomenon in which states of the world act on us directly without
mediation of our higher cognitive functions. For example, our autonomic nervous systems
can detect (for example) danger that primes us for certain actions (fight or flight) without
involving the cortex. The proposition to be considered is whether film is a particularly
powerful medium for raising non-cognitive affect.

Amy Coplan will argue that features of the film medium and particular cinematic techniques
reliably elicit non-cognitive affects and intensify emotional states through non-cognitive
mechanisms. Among these techniques are certain types of camera movement, editing
styles, lighting design, and sound design. Filmmakers’ formal choices operate in variety of
ways: through the arousal of emotional contagion, the engendering of automatic reflexive
responses such as startle, and the generation of mood states in the audience. After
analyzing and explaining how these work, Coplan will go on to argue that non-cognitive
affects influence thought and attention and, in some cases, encourage the acceptance of
certain types of value. In this respect, they make cinematic style philosophically relevant.
Based on these arguments, Coplan concludes that film directly influences affective states
without the mediation of cognition in a way that is not possible for literature.

In his paper, Derek Matravers will attempt to mitigate this claim and distinguish two ways in
which literature can act on its readers. First, by causing them to imagine propositions that
form the cognitive components of certain (quasi) emotional states: my imagining the death
of little Nell is a component of my sadness at here death. In this respect, literature is not
capable of non-cognitive affect. However, there are two further ways in which literature can
engender affect: by describing situations in which the affect is itself non-cognitive (psychic
pain), or directly through the use of formal devices such as metre. Examples will given in
which the techniques used in raising non-cognitive affect in literature are compared to the
same episodes in ‘films of the book’.

Scientific classification and film studies
Dr Gerry Coubro and Dr Andrew Lord, Sheffield Hallam University (UK)
       Film is not exempt from scientific methods. A systematic means of film
       taxonomy, translated from the life-sciences, may provide explanatory and
       predictive value in understanding the characteristics, interrelationships, and
       existence of film.

The discipline of Film Studies’ has developed to place emphasis on hermeneutics rather than
empirical rigour. The typological terms employed, such as genre labels, are often sufficient
as loose thumbnail sketches. But where ideas are “lazily lumped into categories” and
neologism is rife then confusion is likely. Moreover, the explanatory power and scholarly
benefits of a rigorous typology is lost.

An interdisciplinary attitude would break the estrangement between the humanities and
sciences that serves to inhibit understanding: bridging concepts may facilitate consilience –
the “jumping together” of knowledge. Meta-methodologies may then allow film studies to
adopt practical ‘middle-level’ research approaches.
A linguistic curiosity may provide such a methodological bridge. The cultural theorist’s
‘genre’ shares its Latin root with the biologist’s ‘genera’ (ie genus); both indicate a typology
of their objects of study.

Each culture and language labels their environment’s plants and animals to identify foods or
hazards. Confusing homonymy may arise between vernacular terms, meaning they are
insufficient for life science, which is premised on a coherent and consistent classification of
biodiversity. Linnaeus originated a scientifically rigorous system that provides a divergent
containment hierarchy of taxonomic ranks, and rules for positioning species on this “tree of
life”. Each Latin name (binomial nomenclature) unambiguously identifies one species
thereby providing academic clarity in the field and literature. A “moggy” would be termed
Felis catus. (a carnivorous mammal etc.) Of far greater importance though, systematics was
foundational to the modern synthesis of natural selection and genetics, which demystified
the mechanisms by which life originates.

Although advanced by biology, taxonomic principles are discipline independent. Translations
of sophisticated techniques have already been tested: cladistics to manufacturing, and
phenetics to management theory. In everyday conversation about film, the notion of Genre
is sufficient. Such labels are the equivalent vernacular terms, and for academic purposes
carry similar disadvantages. Equating genre with genera alludes to greater clarity. However,
a more concrete organising principal for film may allow the testing of research methods that
have been established in other disciplines. This would expand investigation for film.

Initially, testing a literal translation of biological methods would reveal disanalogies, but to
speculate: Rules would determine each film’s taxonomic position according to attributes.
Specific nomenclature (“dog” Latin perhaps) might counterpart (rather than replace) a film’s
common genre label.
For example classifying Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991):-
      Genus (Genre): Horror;
      Specie (Franchise): Nightmare on Elm Street.

Higher or intermittent taxonomic ranks (Subgenus (sub-genre): Slasher) may be proposed,
forming a tree of movie types (perhaps with film at the rank of phylum).
Goulde (1990) argues that taxonomy goes beyond just glorified filing to explore
fundamental causes of relationships. Taxonomic positioning of films would enable
inferences about their characteristics to be made and tested. If translation was plausible (it
might not be), then this explanatory framework may assist comprehension of films ontology
not conferred by the present schema.

The Duck and the Philosopher: Goings on between The Ister and the film
theory of Bernard Stiegler
Patrick Crogan, UWE (UK)
The Ister (Ross and Barison, 2003)—part documentary, travelogue and philosophical
meditation supplementing Heidegger’s meditation on Holderlin’s poem about the Danube—
opens and closes with sequences of a duck waddling along the bank of the river. The
intervening film, all 3 hours of it, is in effect a large insert edit between these two
sequences, or rather, this single sequence.

Seen in this way, and given the significant involvement in and engagement with Bernard
Stiegler’s thinking of technology that The Ister evinces (interviews with Stiegler, among
others, take up much of the time of this insert), the film invites consideration in terms of his
theorisation of cinema as key representational technology of the Twentieth century. His
published work on cinema postdates the film but it nonetheless represents an intriguing
anticipation of and in some ways response to his both theoretical and polemical approach to
cinema, one which incorporates a more or less explicit critique of major theorisations of film
from the semiotic and formalistic to the Deleuzian. This paper will outline and examine
some major tenets of Stiegler’s account of cinema by trying to time the momentary duck’s
walk that is the extended duration of The Ister.

Memento and the murdering subject: memory, identity and integrity
Dr Damian Cox, Bond University (Australia)
In Memento (2000), Leonard Shelby commits an act of murder by writing himself a note. (Or
rather two notes: “Don’t believe his lies” (on a photograph of Teddy Gammell) and
“TATTOO: FACT 6, CAR LICENSE SG13 7IU”) Shelby’s anterograde amnesia (an incapacity to
construct new memories), and his characteristic ways of handling it, allows him to
manipulate his future self as if he were a weapon. The Shelby who sets up the murder is
motivated by a desire to hide the truth. The Shelby who eventually pulls the trigger is after
revenge for the murder of his wife. Is Shelby guilty of revenge killing or cold-blooded

Memento generates an interesting problem in the metaphysics of personal identity. It is a
problem for psychological-continuity theories which posit continuity of consciousness,
linked by authentic episodic memory, as the sole criterion of personal identity. According to
this kind of theory, Leonard Shelby could not have had a unique identity since the time of
his accident. The person who kills in revenge is not the person who had previously planned a
cold-blooded murder. He is a numerically distinct individual. And yet the film uses a variety
of devices to encourage the audience to think otherwise. Here is a man who has a more or
less coherent style of life, a plan, a purpose, a collection of mementos—including an
inscribed body—that aid him in this purpose, as well as a (remote and often non-veridical)
background of episodic memory. All this seems to function as a basis for ascription of
numerical identity and so the film sets up a compelling counterexample to psychological-
continuity theory.

My task in this paper is to assess this challenge. I do this, in part, by examining the
perspectival structure of the film. The film appears to present us with a rigorously first-
person narrative; an interpretation re-enforced by the ubiquity of first-person narration in
the film. In fact, however, the film fails to represent a first-person perspective. Because one
stream of the narrative is presented in back-to-front order, the audience shares some
features of Shelby’s experience of himself. (He does not know why he is in a motel room,
cradling a bottle of whiskey. We do not know why he is there either.) And yet there are
crucial differences between Shelby’s perspective on events and the audience’s perspective.
We confront the phenomenon of Shelby like a Cassandra: impotently surveying Shelby’s
future as we encounter his present. We piece together Shelby’s story in a way he could not

I argue that the Memento challenge does not force us to abandon psychological-continuity
accounts of personal identity, but to modify them. The identity displayed in Memento is a
matter of a particular kind of psychological connectedness, not strict continuity. Shelby’s
identity is not constituted by his mementos or his plans. It is constituted by his memories in
a non-standard way. The condition Shelby lacks is not identity over time, but integrity.

On Icarus’ Wings: The fall of human bodies in cinema as an empathetic
representational figure
Adriano D’Aloia, Catholic University of Milan (Italy)
Among the unnumbered representational figures we can observe to study the emotional-
cognitive relationship between the spectator and its world, there is a particularly interesting
one for its philosophical significance: the fall. More precisely, the accidental “oriented” (by
virtue of the gravitational force) movement of human bodies in the empty space. In general
terms, a human body falling in the empty space triggers a series of historical-imaginative
cross-references and a composite set of concepts related to its figurative meanings and its
philosophical implications (emptiness as negation of presence, privation, Nihil, loss of
perceptual and cognitive references, decline, downfall, human “frailty” and transience, etc.).
Along the history of cinema, the falling body is a precise and recurrent figure, as varied as its
aesthetical and technical actual representations and typologies (suicides, homicides,
accidents and their intentional versions: super heroes contests, jumps, sports
performances…) might be.

After 9/11, this figure has taken up a more complex meaning. Let’s think of the shocking and
pitiable images of bodies jumping off the Twin Towers. As much as or possibly more than
other media, cinema too has elaborated that gesture in a controversial and self-censorial
way, banishing it in the realm of the unrepresentable. This paper will move from the
analysis of the 11’09’’01 episode directed by A.G. Iñarritu, where the completely black
screen is dispelled by short flashes showing bodies falling down the Wtc. The
unrepresentable is represented only by fragments and interferences that break into the
perceptual emptiness.

If we take a closer look at it, we notice that the fall is a controversial figure in the whole
history of cinema: we see the moment before and the moment after it, but the very “fall” is
often kept “off”. Some exceptions are the splastick comedies (pain involving no real
consequences) and, in the last decade, movies (and tv series) with protagonists who can fly,
from Spider Man to Heroes (the overcoming and the negation of human limits, where the
fall is just the consequence of failed attempts at flying). My paper will single out some
exemplary cases.

Seeing a body moving (something controllable but indisputable) involves the spectator’s
body, because the perceptual orientation, the proprioception/exteroception system and the
apperception function are subverted.

These twistings give rise to a peculiar relationship between the spectators and the world. In
a certain sense, spectators feel they are “falling with” the represented body or even “with
their own body”. We could base this relationship on Empathy, a very ambiguous and
misunderstood concept in aesthetic, psychology and philosophy, which has been recovered
in phenomenology and is currently the central target of neurocognitive researches.
Spectators feel the fall “in their own skin” thanks to the activity of the mirror neurons, which
allow the setting up of a specular relationship between the neural activity governing the
observed body’s movements and the observer’s neural activity.

“Feeling it in one’s own skin” means above all “feeling it in one’s own mind”. In order to
speak of an “empathetic relationship”, however, the perceptive, emotional and cognitive
experiences and the neural specularity must be related to the personal memories of one’s
own background. Through the analysis of some movies’ sequences (Vertigo, Wings of
Desire, Magnolia and others) my paper will test the hypothesis that the mediated
experience of some representational figures (the fall as dizziness, the wild race into the
empty space) is intimately bound to the human experience of the empathetic relationship
between the Self and the Other (frailty, loss and death).

Megarealism and the politics of ThereCam: from HereNow to NowHere and
back again...
Govinda Dickman, UWE (UK)
This paper is a response to Alfonso Cuarón's The Possibility of Hope (2006, Sony Pictures),
Cuarón's documentary about, and critical analysis of, his own film - Children of Men (2006,
Sony Pictures). I will query the ontological validity of the hypothetical entity which some
have called the Subject-of-History, who is the subtextual centrifuge of both the auteurist
and the psychoanalytic approaches to “decoding” cinema, exemplified by Cuarón's

My method is to engage in the futile attempt to literally locate this Subject in Time and
Space by triangulating backwards from its gaze upon the objects, spaces and events within
the film. That is, to identify the precise entity implied by the index “The Subject of History”,
so that I may ask them what the film actually means.

Despite the fact that Cuarón himself has identified his audience, this quest is radically
flawed, and not merely because “The Subject-of-History” is a mythic entity, an index that
refers, not to a particular individual, but to a sort of collective entity composed of similar
individuals who are all supposed to subscribe to the Subject-Object dialectics of History, the
ideological and corporeal schemata of the performative HereNow.

By reference to Cuarón's own account of the aesthetic, linguistic and representational
strategies deployed within Children of Men, this paper will demonstrate that, while the post-
structuralist critique of the Subject-of-History is essentially correct – in that there really can
be no such thing as a universally applicable index, no truth that is true for all - it does not
necessarily follow that the Subject-of-History does not exist, as many theorists have gone on
to assert.

The resolution is found in the realisation that reality is not heterogeneous, as has become
the doctrinal ontological basis of postmodern thought, but hologrammatic and holographic.

The heterogeneous plurality of subjective space-times that is a paradigmatic convention of
post-structuralist analysis, allows for plurality of experience but retains the Subject-Object
dualism that creates the whole problem it arose to address in the first place, resulting in
irresolvable relativism: The death of knowledge, as well as the death of the Author and
History. By contrast, the hologrammatic paradigm provides a way to retain what is positive
in both homogeneity and heterogeneity; within holographic space-time, a multiplicity of
spaces and times may arise, but always and only in the context of everything else.
Holograms contain their whole in every part, meaning even that which is utterly invisible
from a given perspective is nonetheless fundamental to the existence of what can be seen
as what it is seen as, an ontological observation that reinstates to view the radical
interconnectedness of being that is often lost in the hopeless relativism of much
postmodern thought.

Bach and Tarkovsky
James Doyle, University of Bristol (UK)
Andrei Tarkovsky (1932-86) was one of the greatest film directors of the second half of the
twentieth century. He made much use of the music of J S Bach in his films. A few examples:
chorale preludes from the Orgelbuechlein play over the opening credits of Mirror and
Solaris; the prelude recurs several times in the course of the latter, and the opening chorus
and recitative from the St John Passion mark critical points in the former; a character in
Stalker whistles the theme from a violin concerto. It is clear from his own writings (Sculpting
in Time) that Tarkovsky was deeply preoccupied with philosophical and spiritual questions,
with their treatment in the history of western culture (especially music and painting), and
especially as they are framed within traditional Christianity. Bach is of course the most
spiritual and Christian of composers, and it is in this sense no accident that his music plays a
crucial role in the films.

These facts are liable to seem puzzling to people (like myself) who are used to thinking of
philosophy in terms of explicit discursive argument. A film or a piece of (instrumental) music
does not typically assert any propositional content at all; so what could it mean to talk of
philosophical themes or preoccupations in such works of art? If a film or a piece of music is
to be genuinely (somehow) ‘philosophical’, does this not debase art to the level of
something purely didactic or propagandistic? I propose to explore these questions in the
case of the films of Tarkovsky, in part by examining the use he makes of the sacred music of

In my professional work, on the early dialogues of Plato, I have often appealed to the
distinction between saying and showing as different ways of conveying different sorts of
content. I believe that the same distinction may play an important explanatory role in this
context (Tarkovsky himself effectively appeals to it throughout Sculpting in Time). The basic
idea is that shown (non-propositional) content, of the sort Tarkovsky presents us with in his
films, may be inexplicit and open to interpretation in a way that makes possible the
avoidance of this fatal didactic element. My hope is that an examination of some of the
relevant works of Bach – especially as these are recontextualised in Tarkovsky’s films – may
help us to see how this is possible. Further, I try to show how this ‘shown’ mode of
conveying content is a particularly effective technique by which Tarkovsky explores the
specifically philosophical and spiritual themes that characterise his work.

Borgesian Philosophy in Contemporary Films: From «Funes el memorioso» to
The Final Cut
Dr Carolina Ferrer, Université du Québec à Montréal (Canada)
Undoubtedly, Jorge Luis Borges is a universal author. His poems, stories and essays are the
object of academic studies worldwide. The critical bibliography about his work is extremely
large; for instance, the Modern Language Association database indicates more than 3,000
documents. Moreover, Borges’s texts are frequently cited in countless disciplines, from
physics to literary theory, to biology and history. In philosophy, Borges has been studied
countless times in relation to main figures such as Bergson, Berkeley, Heraclitus, Hume and
Russell, just to name a few. Recently, several scholars (Krysinski (2002), Alonso (2005) and
Leerssen (2007)) have focused on the frontier between Borges’s narrative and philosophy.
As Leerssen states, «*Borges’s+ Ficciones [are] valuable in a double sense: as works of
literature and as thought experiments» (106). In this communication, I would like to take
this discussion further and to explore the manifestation of borgesian philosophy in
contemporary films.

Needless to say, several direct relationships between Borges and films exist on their own. As
recounted by Cozarinsky (1974, 1981, 2002), the writer himself published several reviews
between 1931 and 1945, namely in El Hogar. Unfortunately, as the author’s blindness grew
in intensity, he was forced to abandon this critical work. Since 1954, his texts have been
adapted by directors in different countries. As the Internet Movie Database indicates, thirty-
four films acknowledge being based on or inspired by Borges’s work. Moreover, in film
studies, Bordwell (2002) has already established the «alternative futures category» based
on Borges’s story «El jardín de senderos que se bifurcan». However, according to Bordwell,
directors fail to transfer the borgesian idea of bifurcation to films given their insistence to
apply traditional storytelling techniques.

In contradistinction to Bordwell, I would like to propose that the transfer of the Argentinean
writer’s ideas to cinema transcends direct adaptation, inspiration or narrative techniques.
Borgesian ideas manifest themselves as thought experiments. Thus, we must consider
Borges’s work in philosophical rather than in literary terms in order to fully appreciate his
impact on cinematographic creation. Briefly, I propose that if, following Leerssen, we
succeed in identifying a certain number of borgesian thought experiments, then, we can
study their aesthetical appropriation by moviemakers. Specifically, I will propose that
several of his stories - «El milagro secreto», «El jardín de senderos que se bifurcan», «Tlön,
Uqbar, Orbis Tertius», «El Aleph», «La lotería de Babilonia» - operate in such terms.
Accordingly, the presence of the philosophical content of these stories can be found in
movies as different as Abre los ojos, The Matrix, Cube, 2046, and Babel. In this presentation,
I will study in detail the relationship between «Funes el memorioso» and Omar Naim’s The
Final Cut (2004). Essentially, both works explore what happens to the human experience
when a person is entitled to remember everything.

Engaging with the cadaver: analytical complexities regarding zombie
embodiment from Night of the Living Dead (1968) to Land of the Dead (2005)
Lucy Fife, University of Reading (UK)
Horror films frequently centre on issues of physicality – bodily transformations, mutilations,
ruptures. Indeed, the genre frequently offers bodies over characters as the primary point of
engagement. The zombie is fundamentally about physicality: embodying the space between
life and death; motivated by desires fixed on living bodies and their contents. Over the
course of four films, George A. Romero’s construction of the zombie plays with their various
physical possibilities: alive but dead; animated but unconscious; collective yet individual;
ungainly yet deadly; oppressive yet simultaneously oppressed. Although zombie
embodiment seems to be completely unindividuated and lacking in intentionality, I propose
that the ambiguities raised by Romero’s approach and its modulations across the series of
films suggests that the zombies are deliberately staged and specifically presented within the
visual systems of his films. As such they are bodies to be engaged with and thus their
embodiment could be regarded as calibrated performance.

However, the act of analysing zombie performance represents a significant methodological
and conceptual challenge, raising essential questions concerning the relationship between
living bodies and dead bodies for the spectator as well as the performer. By considering the
differing ways in which we are invited to look at the zombie over Romero’s four films my
paper will seek to interrogate the interrelationship between our body and that of the
performers, and the question of whether this kind of sensuous engagement is possible, or
even desirable in relation to zombie embodiment. At the core of my questioning is the
importance of the texture of film, which is created to a great extent by the physicality
represented within the frame. Accordingly, in addressing the complexities of zombie
embodiment, I will draw on a phenomenological framework to discuss the way material
details of performance offer a localised relationship with the performer, as the act of
analysis necessarily engages with their body, interpreting and evaluating it. Through the
process of evaluation, along with the amount of access we have to a performer’s
expressions and gestures, varying degrees of epistemic alignment is created. The possibility
of, and implications surrounding, the relationship between us and them, our alignment and
engagement with the zombie, will be the central focus of my paper.

Confronting negativity: cinema and Adorno
Dr Hamish Ford, Newcastle University (Australia)
While Walter Benjamin and Siegfried Kracauer are today seen as providing highly relevant
and influential – indeed often seminal – philosophical contributions to the study of cinema,
their Frankfurt School colleague Theodor Adorno has usually been cast (despite the recent
resurgence of Humanities interest in his work per se) as a villain in the film-philosophy story.
If we take his thoughts on the cinema as co-authored with Max Horkheimer in Dialectic of
Enlightenment as the central thesis, it can easily be surmised that Adorno’s is a jaundiced,
overly homogenous view of 20th-century modernity’s quintessential media and cultural
form. It is important to keep in mind the historical context in which these quite infamous
comments on film were written (a period when modernist or radical filmmaking seemed
least viable due to the political dominance of fascism in Europe and free-market capitalism
in the USA). This paper argues, however, that it is more productive to present-day debates
around the relationship between film and philosophy to lay out the case for Adorno’s
unique contribution and potential usefulness through his late work.

Drawing on his subtle re-thinking of cinema in the 1966 essay ‘Transparencies on Film’, but
more substantively Adorno’s ultimate philosophical and aesthetic positions as expounded in
Negative Dialectics and Aesthetic Theory, this paper will chart the specific relevance of this
often divisive figure’s late work for investigating the significance of cinema vis-à-vis modern
philosophy – in particular its potential for offering a radically anti-ontological position, as
utilising film’s distinct formal elements. Central to such a discussion will be Adorno’s
particular notion of ‘negativity’.

A special dual usefulness in Adorno’s work motivates the paper. First, his view of filmmaking
that operates at the epicentre of the culture industry can today be seen as provoking us to
look afresh at the role cinema plays in sustaining the more regressive elements of
contemporary socio-political life. Second, the radical negativity that could at least partially
assault or undermine these elements can be seen as a useful concept by which to frame and
pursue cinema’s ontologically violent potential, a potential either suppressed or engaged
and foregrounded depending on the given film.

This paper will suggest a very particular modernist strain of the ‘art film’ (as opposed to
avant-garde works that circulate outside conventional distribution) can be considered to
engage or play out – formally, thematically, and philosophically – a ‘cinema of negativity’.
This is not to try and seamlessly ‘fit’ a difficult and highly contested philosopher’s work with
particular films, and thereby selectively and reductively treat the latter as illustrating the (in
this case almost impossible-to-satisfy) ideas and criteria of the former. Rather, seeking to
privilege neither side of the equation, the paper will highlight the richness and ongoing
relevance of Adorno’s late work – in particular his developed concept of negativity – and the
aesthetic-philosophical elements of a strain of cinema, itself often also contested, with
which it might have mutually productive explicatory relations.

Going on in the same way: Wittgenstein and Bergman’s Scenes from a
Dr Craig Fox, California University of Pennsylvania (USA)
I would like to show why Wittgenstein’s (post-1929) work has relevance to those outside of
academic philosophy. This is especially challenging, given that I take the idea of an “anti-
theoretical” reading of his work to be essentially correct. My suggestion is that Ingmar
Bergman’s Scenes from a Marriage (1973) can help in this task. The film portrays the
marriage of Johan and Marianne, as it turns from apparent middle-class perfection, “to
crisis, to reconciliation.” In this paper I want to investigate Scenes itself as a philosophical
text, and I want to read it as doing philosophy similarly to the way it is done in
Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations. Film can be a particularly effective medium for
exploring what is sometimes referred to as the “dialectic” of philosophy. (I am not claiming
that this is how one must regard Bergman’s film, but rather that this reading is a possible
one. Its fruitfulness would justify the approach.)

Specifically, I will demonstrate that it is plausible to regard Bergman’s film as
Wittgensteinian in at least two respects. First, we may view some parts of the film as
language-games in Wittgenstein’s sense. In PI§130, he says that “language-games are… set
up as objects of comparison which are meant to throw light on the facts of our language by
way not only of similarities but also of dissimilarities.” The most striking comparison arising
out of Scenes relates to the use of the word “love.”

Second, the film deals with a number of the themes that concern Wittgenstein. Even their
philosophical methodologies are similar. Early in Scenes, Bergman indicates that we need to
pay special attention to language, that it’s not merely some passive medium. Marianne
says, when speaking of a disastrous evening spent with a rather troubled couple: “Now I
know why *they+ go through such hell… They don’t speak the same language.” The
implication then is that Marianne and Johan’s various ensuing problems may in some way
be related to problems with language. Wittgenstein, of course, begins the Investigations by
discussing language, just as he frequently did in his courses.

Language thus frames themes that arise later in the film. In light of Wittgenstein’s work, I
would phrase these themes in this way: what it is to speak a language, the application of
the word “love,” the role conventions play in our ascribing properties to ourselves and to
others, the definition of the word “marriage,” subliming the logic of our language, and the
role of first-person authority in language.

To be sure, there are significant differences between Bergman and Wittgenstein. (Bergman
is not “anti-theoretical” in the Wittgensteinian sense, for instance.) Nonetheless, we do
profit from making the comparison. We can see several ways in which Wittgenstein’s
writings can be brought to bear on the topics of love, marriage, and relationships with
others. Bergman’s film shows how what we may quite reasonably call “philosophical
assumptions” can lead to a disharmonious life. Wittgenstein’s work, I claim, can prepare us
to challenge such assumptions, helping us to avoid disharmony. Thus, if we prefer to live a
harmonious life, we now have reason to pay attention to Wittgenstein’s philosophy—
entirely apart from considerations about Frege, Russell, the Tractatus, and so forth.
Deleuze and The Mirror: an intermediated experience of time and memory
Ananya Ghoshal, English and Foreign Languages University (India)
The Mirror is a dream-memory unfolding within the narrator Alexei’s (as Tarkovsky’s
persona) personal history. It functions as a single, unified memory-image within a history
fragmented in time. The return to and of the past, specifically the days of childhood,
generates the film's narrative, but for Tarkovsky -a recuperative presentation of childhood
does not exist as memory's goal or final destination. Rather, childhood's "disappearance"
consists as a disturbance in time for which memory provides the image.1

Tarkovsky gives us a taste of diverse flavors of memory that time carries along in the film.
They are a combination of pure perception, pure recollection and involuntary memory. He
allows different aspects of time to interact with each other and the sense of time’s
universality is perpetually violated by personal memories that penetrate into past histories.
A sense of virtual parallels one of actual, and what is most personal becomes time-like and
most universal.

Correlating both private and collective memories, The Mirror, rather than acting principally
as reflecting and recording surface for the universal or unique in each individual, offers the
imaginary possibility of actualizing the past in the present and, therefore, of simulating a
sense of its duration. Ultimately, Tarkovsky achieves a sense of temporal unity through the
confusion between ontological states; an inseparable feeling of being in a here-and-now
simultaneously with a there-and-then, a sense of being as much in the present as in the

In order to better understand the manner in which Tarkovsky expresses time and
involuntary memory in The Mirror, I would like to apply Gilles Deleuze’s concept of time-
image cinema for the discussion.

Dionysiac machines
Dr Seth Giddings, UWE (UK)
This paper rethinks concepts of the simulational and the simulacral for popular digital
cinema. It plays concepts of the modern world as hyperreal against the more modest,
pragmatic, but vital, insights of videogame studies into the literally simulational nature of
digital moving images. Through a reading of Deleuze’s essay Platonism and the Simulacrum,
it suggests ways of thinking about the artificial and simulacral character of contemporary
technoculture and its devices, not as the implosion of reality, but of its production.

Complicity thinking in postwar American and European Film
Prof John Gillies, University of Essex (UK)
As part of a history of complicity upon which I am currently working, I am interested in
characterizing contemporary and popular forms of what I call “complicity thinking”.
Complicity is taken to be either a confession or imputation of second-order wrongdoing;
“complicity thinking” comprises a volatile mix of experience and reflection. While literary
and philosophical traditions contribute to this picture, so too does Film. Moreso than
philosophy as such and literature, perhaps, Film – with its wide appeal, its mix of generic
stability with dialectical energy (inflections of generic formulae), its responsiveness to
national historical experience yet increasingly its internationality – offers a nuanced and
powerful measure of cultural currency and cultural movement.

  In Sculpting In Time, Tarkovsky asserts that "what a person normally goes to the cinema for
is time: for time lost or spent or not yet had."
The stream of filmic complicity thinking that interests me arises with the theme of the faux
coupable in postwar Hitchcock (I Confess, Strangers on a Train, The Wrong Man) and evolves
through darker (if still second-order) configurations of coupabilité in which the faux element
in Hitchcock drops way before more tainted kinds of kinship with wrongdoing. As examples
of this post-Hitchcockian phase, I would cite the interpretative gap between the American
remake of Insomnia (2002) and the original Swedish Insomnia (1997) which served as its
model. Where the hero of the 1997 is left unredeemed of his taint (reminiscent of
collaborator figures in Occupation-era films such as Le Corbeau, 1943), the hero of the 2002
film is finally redeemed (the city on the hill, so to speak, retorting the answer of the city of
the plain). This comparison returns us to Hitchcock for the reason that his theme was
already an “edition” of a European thematic of complicity. Hitchcock was only able to
conceptualize his theme after an elucidation of it in I Confess by his young French
champions on Le Cahiers du Cinèma. I will end by suggesting that yet more recent European
films show evidence of a move towards a total complicity model where no one is redeemed
or redeemable.

‘Just’ playing himself? Cary Grant, film acting and the phenomenology of
Dr Kathrina Glitre, UWE (UK)
There is a common assumption that film stars – unlike stage actors – are, in some sense, just
‘playing themselves’. In part, this assumption reflects the deeply iconic and ‘realist’ mode of
cinematic reproduction within mainstream narrative cinema. Such assumptions are
complicated, however, when we consider the labour of film production, which depends
upon a discontinuous process, in which a few minutes of on-screen time may take days to
film. The actor must work in symbiosis with the cinematic equipment. In characterizing his
own acting, Cary Grant describes a highly technical, reflective and pain-staking exercise in
bodily awareness:

      let’s suppose I’m doing the simplest thing – speaking [one] line to someone off
      camera. … Hitchcock wants me to take a drink when I say the line. … If I bring the glass
      up too soon, I sound like a man hollering into a barrel. If I put it in front of my mouth, I
      spoil my expression. If I put it down too hard, I kill a word on the sound track. If I
      don’t, it seems unreal. … I must hold it a certain way so that the ice in the glass does
      not interfere with the sound. … I have to remember to keep my head up because I
      have a double chin. … My elbow has to be bent and turned toward my body so as not
      to obstruct the view of the camera. (quoted in Nancy Nelson, Cary Grant, 302)

Grant’s description is so tenuously connected to any sense of characterization that some
might even dispute whether this is ‘acting’. Yet, in watching such a scene, we would
undoubtedly understand the character, in part, through the way in which Grant embodies
him, in a seemingly ‘natural’ and ‘pre-reflective’ way.

This paper explores the relationships between acting and the body by focusing on gesture.
Film acting has only recently begun to attract sustained attention within film studies, and
gesture has presented a particularly thorny problem: resistant to conventional semiotic
analysis, understanding how gesture operates within film acting may benefit from a
phenomenological approach. Specifically, I want to consider the possibility that gestural
mannerisms are an inevitable consequence of the actor’s corporeal and material existence.
This leads on to analysis of one of Grant’s most well-known mannerisms: the double-take.
As Vivian Sobchack notes, Grant ‘was physically adept at following his “natural” response
with a suddenly startled turn of the head, a horrified look, and a small but noticeable
backward and horizontal motion of his upper body, these indicating (and sharing with the
audience) his delayed recognition of and self-critical commentary on an initial
comprehension’ (‘Thinking through Jim Carrey’, 280). In its doubleness, the gesture seems
to draw attention to a gap between character and actor, as if the first take is ‘in character’,
while the second take is ‘out of character’ – a sense of disbelief that encourages the
audience to recognize both the absurdity and the construction of the situation. It is a
mannerism which defies the assumption that he is ‘just’ playing himself, but simultaneously
suggests that acting nonetheless depends on corporeal habit.

The Film Philosophy of Raymond Bellour
Michael Goddard, University of Salford (UK)
This paper will examine how the film philosophy of Raymond Bellour has been unjustly
reduced to merely being a practical version of film analysis informed by the cine-semiology
of Christian Metz. Instead it will show how Bellour’s thought has also been affected by his
encounters and association with philosophical figures such as Gilles Deleuze and Michel
Foucault, along with the film critic Serge Daney and the film theorist/video installation artist
Thierry Kuntzel, to constitute an original body of thought going well beyond the disciplinary
constraints of film studies with which his name has been associated; a reduction of Bellour’s
thought that is due both to the impact of his Analysis of Film on the discipline of film studies
and the relative neglect of his subsequent work.

Instead, this paper will concentrate on Bellour’s more recent essays collected in the two
volume Entre-Images collections, which show an agile yet rigorous thought, full engaged
with contemporary mutations in image production and consumption such as new media. It
will show how Bellour’s thought, beyond his interest in the specificity of cinematic and other
forms of technical images, constitutes a philosophically informed account of these images
that both incorporates and goes beyond Deleuze’s works on cinema, without ever sacrificing
a rigorous and detailed approach to cinema itself and its makers. It will argue that Bellour’s
work on cinematic images exceeds the limits of film theory to constitute a film philosophy in
the full meaning of the term.

Can a film argue?
Jerry Goodenough, University of East Anglia (UK)
Critics of the proposition that the making and watching of film can itself amount to doing
philosophy rely on two points. The first is that film is only partly a verbal medium: what
makes it unique is precisely its filmic vocabulary, pictures, sounds, angles, cutting, the entire
vocabulary of film. And secondly, that though this vocabulary may create an enriched
medium for the illustration or discussion of philosophical issues, by virtue of its
overwhelmingly non-verbal nature, it is incapable of arguing and therefore incapable of
doing anything that amounts centrally to philosophising.
In response to this I explore whether this need be true, and examine a number of instances
in film where one might legitimately describe what is going on as an argument. Film, for
instance, is capable of mounting what we might term an argument by analogy or by
comparison. And it is capable of refuting an existing argument. Finally I ask whether arguing,
in the strict sense raised by critics, is central to philosophy in quite the way they think.

Five obstructions as five disguised repetitions: Lars von Trier’s creative
actions laboratory
Aleksandra Hirszfeld, University of Warsaw (Poland)
Lars von Trier is known as an artist searching for new cinematic forms, often mixing
“genres” and using given elements or rules in non-conventional ways. In my presentation I
will try to reveal and describe particular figures of repetition, operating as an important
strategy on different levels of von Trier’s film-work. I would also like to explain, more
generally, the role of these figures in Lars von Trier’s artistic method.
My main example will be Five Obstructions – one of the most interesting remakes ever done
(this re-making itself being the first figure of repetition to analyze). Five Obstructions, a
variation-iteration of Jorgen Leth’s: The Perfect Human (Det Perfekte Menneske, 1967), is a
piece of art composed of five film-repetitions, each of them submitted to a different set of

Another figure of repetition – even more important from the analytical point of view,
directly concerning the theoretical question I would like to discuss – refers to the formal
construction of a particular film-genre, i.e. the “document”. It consists in extending the very
limits of this genre, in modifying both its nature and function. I do not mean a simple
repetition of a documentary “scheme”; in this particular document the function of the genre
itself becomes a subject of double or even triple repetition. On the one hand, just as every
“normal” document, it refers to what has “happened”, and thus in a certain way repeats the
“initial” event (being itself a process of re-making, the repeating of a film by a famous
Danish film documentalist (sic!)). On the other hand, it visualizes (although not directly),
documents the basic technique of Lars von Trier’s way of making movies. It reveals and
repeats Lars von Trier’s creative actions’ laboratory on the screen.

In my interpretation of von Trier’s Five Obstructions I will use several concepts introduced
by Gilles Deleuze in Difference and repetition and How Do We Recognize structuralism?
Making explicit the hidden structures and production of difference through repetition –
these are definitely the basic artistic strategies of the father of “Dogma”. Most useful for
understanding von Trier will be the Deleuzian concepts of “bare” and “disguised” repetition,
“differential relations”, “singularities” (or: singular points) , “object = x”, and the “empty
square”. I will try to explain their philosophical meaning and to make it operational for film-
analysis. The Five obstructions will then appear as a work of art that “embodies” directly the
idea of disguised repetition, as an auto-referential film bringing to light the very
mechanisms of artistic creation, the inner organization of von Trier’s laboratory. Creating
new ways and forms of expression in cinema, forcing the limits of given genres – all this
would never be possible without the “genius” of von Trier, but likewise it would be
unattainable without a certain “structuralist” tendency, his capacity to “dig down” to
structural, formal relations.
Beauvoir’s phenomenology and Jean-Claude van Damme: feminist thoughts
on fragmented subjects and anxious masculinity in Replicant, Maximum Risk,
Timecop and Double Impact
Dr Samantha Holland, Sheffield Hallam University (UK)
In this paper I investigate how four popular US action films speak to, work through, and
represent anxieties about the embodied "self". Initially, I explore ways in which expressions
of lived experience in the films both reveal anxious responses to issues of selfhood and
sexuality, and suggest a startlingly Beauvoirian approach to thinking about them. Expanding
on this, I argue that the films can be read as understanding yet rejecting notions of
philosophy-as-system, and as embracing instead a more discursive – and anti-patriarchal,
even feminist – approach to philosophy.

In each film, martial arts action star Jean-Claude Van Damme plays two characters; my focus
is on how the resulting fragmentation of the central character(s) produces films that in
many ways run counter to western philosophy’s – and mainstream narrative film’s – shared
impetus towards system and closure. This is why the films can be read as rejecting notions
of philosophy-as-system, representing it instead as relational and discursive – an approach
advocated in and by the work of Simone de Beauvoir.

To illustrate and evidence this reading, I look closely at elements of all four films in relation
to Beauvoir’s work and Sara Heinämaa’s articulation of her phenomenology. I draw an initial
parallel between the films and Beauvoir’s approach to philosophy by arguing that just as
Beauvoir comprehends yet questions philosophical systems and doctrines by appealing to
the evidence of her lived experience, so the films seem to both understand what Van
Damme’s characters apparently set out to represent – a unified and dominant masculine
subject – but question the validity of that very aim by appealing to his lived experience.

I develop parallels between the films’ and Beauvoir’s key concerns, showing that the films
do ‘not compromise the specificity or particularity of the lived experience to adjust it to the
idea of a totality or one comprehensive system’ (Heinämaa 6). For instance, I consider how
the focus on Van Damme’s body perhaps gives him/his characters a more intimate
experience of the lived body as alien than many masculine subjects have. I investigate how
this might explain not only the films’ failures to shore up dominant certainties about being-
a-man, but their alternative suggestions (more akin to Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s and
Beauvoir’s) that difference is a dynamic concept, more reliant on gestures and movement
than on bio-scientific bodies and organs.

Throughout, I foreground the significance of gender representation to the discussion,
suggesting that the films’ representations of philosophy as discursive rather than systematic
goes some considerable way to explaining why they are so frequently derided – and why
Van Damme, in particular, is often “feminised” through repeated critical references to his
gay fan base and homoerotic imagery.

My discussion, then, uses Beauvoir’s feminist phenomenology to re-think ways in which
masculinity in film is theorised. In particular, I suggest that filmic representations of
masculinity have at times been theorised far too reductively, as shoring up notions of
woman as absolute other, when some representations of masculine subjects arguably reveal
or display dissatisfaction and unease with precisely such essentialist notions.

Access to interiority through performance in Elia Kazan’s East of Eden (1954)
Ceri Hovland, University of Reading (UK)
There are several ways in which film has signified character interiority. Many of these
rhetorical devices, and similarly many studies on the issue of interiority, are focused on how
and whether film can provide access to a ‘first person’ or ‘subjective’ experience of
interiority. In this paper, I am going to focus on the ‘third person’ access to character
interiority more commonly provided by film. This type of access follows our understanding
of other people’s interiority in everyday life, which is inferred on the basis of visible
behaviour and is limited by the epistemic boundaries between self and other. I refer to this,
with a degree of caution, as ‘third person’ access to interiority following a novelistic lead,
rather than an ‘objective’ access because the latter implies a lack of partiality or bias. This
would further complicate the epistemic dimension of an already complex epistemological
and semantic issue.

I shall explore this issue through an analysis of the performances in Elia Kazan’s East of Eden
(1954). I shall consider what kinds of interiority the film offers and how it offers them. I will
then address how the techniques used enable the film to negotiate the problems of access
to interiority. In particular, I will focus on interiority as a marker of a particular kind of
complexity sought after in ‘Method’ performances of the 1950s. In my discussion, I will
situate the issue of access to character interiority as an element of what George Wilson has
referred to as theories of cinematic point of view and strategies of narration. I will also
argue that the construction of character interiority in film is a product of interaction -
interaction between the characters, and our interaction with the text.

When Method-trained actors, such as Marlon Brando, James Dean and Karl Malden, gained
popular acclaim for their performances in the 1950s, it was thought that a ‘new style’ of film
acting had burst onto movie screens. Although the Method is a training technique, at this
time it was linked with a style of ‘heightened realism’ and with the effective depiction of
complex, idiosyncratic, psychologically motivated characters. This paper will explore how
characters with a complex interiority were constructed through the concrete details of
these ‘Method’ performances. It will argue that it is the Method’s concentration on
specificity, individuation and ordinariness, a concentration which grounds the depiction of
moment-by-moment fluctuations in a character’s ‘inner life’ and thus allows the
construction of interiority. In Kazan’s films this highly expressive or communicative
performance style is combined with a ‘transparent’ style of narration, and thus marked by
the ‘authoritativeness’ and ‘reliabilty’ of the epistemic base it provides for the spectator.
Accordingly, the spectator can confidently draw conclusions about a character’s inner life on
the basis of the character’s behaviour and interaction with other characters.

Glocal gloom: existential space in Haneke’s French-language films
Dr Kate Ince, University of Birmingham (UK)
Michael Haneke is a leading example of transnational filmmaking, but the literal crossing of
borders is not the only way in which his cinema is a cinema of space. This paper will explore
Haneke’s realisation of existential or lived space, the type of space theorised by existential
phenomenology. Juhani Pallasmaa’s The Architecture of Image: existential space in cinema is
one recent publication to have taken up the suggestive relevance of a phenomenological
understanding of space to cinema, and in it Pallasmaa proposes both that cinema is closer
to architecture than any other art form (because both architecture and film articulate lived
space and ‘create experiential scenes of life situations’ (Pallasmaa 2001: 13)), and that the
‘identification’ of physical and mental space that follows from an existential
phenomenological understanding of human embodiment is ‘intuitively grasped’ by certain
film directors. By exploring these ideas in relation to a number of particular shots and
scenes from three of Haneke’s French-language films, Code Unknown, Time of the Wolf and
Hidden, this paper will shed light on how the pervasive atmospheres of Haneke’s cinema –
the questioning, uncertainty and fear that have become his trademarks – are generated,
and how these atmospheres exert the power they do on his audiences.

Fight Club as pseudo-festivity: an encounter with Josef Pieper
Dr Jessy Jordan, Baylor University (USA)
In his books In Tune with the World and Leisure: The Basis of Culture, Josef Pieper diagnoses what
he calls a culture of total work. A culture of total work is one in which the human being has been
reduced to a mere functionary and in which the sphere of justifiable human action must be
defended with reference to an action’s contribution to the overall social utility. In this culture, the
human being is conceptualized as worker, which in the deeper anthropological sense refers to a
conception of the human person where productivity and efficiency are the hallmarks of being fully
human. Pieper laments that this culture excludes spheres of activity that are part of a richer vision
of that which is properly human, including free activities not justified as means to some other end,
but that are ends in themselves.

Pieper maintains that the only possible cure for the dehumanizing effects of a culture of total work
is the recovery of authentic festivity, the heart of which is a fundamental life affirmation. While
work is a necessary and even good part of human life, festivity is the truly human activity,
transcending the totalizing effect of the work-a-day world.

Although written in the context of post World War II Germany, Pieper’s diagnosis of a culture of
total work shares shocking similarities to the diagnosis of contemporary American culture
provided by the 1999 film, Fight Club. In its own idiosyncratic manner, Fight Club articulates the
general malaise and despair evident in a culture where the human person has been reduced to
mere functionary and is the victim of the dehumanizing influences of the American capitalist
bureaucratic machine.

In this paper, I first outline the similarities in the diagnosis of a culture of total work presented by
Pieper and Fight Club. Second, I sketch the differences between the solutions offered by each.
Both prescribe a certain type of festivity; however, the two visions of festivity are radically at odds.
Pieper conceives of festivity as transcending dehumanizing forces through the affirmation of
existence experienced in worship. Fight Club, on the other hand, focuses on self-destruction, a
kind of activity that, despite its obvious differences, similarly resists being reduced to the logic of
total work. Finally, I discuss Pieper’s distinction between festivity and pseudo-festivity, showing
that the festivity offered in Fight Club is a pseudo-festivity.
What is philosophical criticism?
Dr Andrew Klevan, University of Oxford (UK)
Given the current debates concerning film and philosophy and film as philosophy, and the
validity of these associations, I thought it might be helpful to attend to a particular meeting
of philosophy and film, one that might fairly be called philosophical (film) criticism, and
highlight its characteristics and purposes. Stanley Cavell is the most noted practitioner of
philosophical criticism, and he is the person who has sought to conceptualise it most
explicitly and thoroughly, but it may also be associated with contemporary writers such as
William Rothman, George Toles, George M. Wilson, Gilberto Perez, and V.F.Perkins (and
myself). Firstly, there is the aspect of discovering, and rediscovering, a moment: one aspect
of Cavell’s method is that it does not presume there is a self-evident way to approach a text
or assume what a revelatory instance in a text might look like. Cavell is especially alive to
moments, possibly ordinary or straightforward, which he reveals to be quietly mysterious.

This approach is particularly telling with regard to film where the ordinary lucidity of film
dramatisation means significance may be readily available but not immediately easy to see.
For Cavell, a single dramatic action, a posture, a gesture, or a seemingly perfunctory line of
dialogue triggers an open-ended investigation, and is unexpectedly fecund. Cavell writes,
‘The work of such criticism is to reveal its object as having yet to achieve its due effect.
Something there, despite being fully open to the senses, has been missed.’ One turns to the
moment, initially perhaps with only the vaguest intuition of its worth, and returns,
repeatedly testing its components and one’s own experience of it.

Through an intricate, and intimate, investigation of how the elements of a moment, a scene
or a sequence work, one endeavours not simply to reveal meaning but to trace the
movement of meaning. Secondly, there is the very act of writing, especially description,
which is a means of revelation. Because film has a special capacity to embody the
metaphorical in the literal, in the physical and in the real, we may describe the actual in such
a way that discloses the symbolic. Thirdly, there is the question of how the moment relates
to the film as a film: observing how the style of this film works is also a way of reflecting on
how this film uses the medium, how it reflects on the medium; indeed our modes of
reflection, quite appropriately, reflect each other.

There is also, finally, and crucially, a critical dimension, or more accurately an appreciative
one to philosophical criticism. Cavell writes about, ‘a particular form of criticism…after the
fact of pleasure, articulate*s+ the grounds of this experience in particular objects.’ This
appreciative dimension is often missing from academic film analysis, philosophically minded
or otherwise. As Adrian Martin writes, ‘appreciation is what the spectator must rise to and
what she or he can create…in an interplay of description, evocation and analysis.’

Worship the miracle child: infertile multiculturalism and the politics of
hybridity in Children of Men
Elspeth kydd, UWE (UK)
From the etymology of 'mulatto' in the word 'mule', hybridity and fertility have been
intimately linked. The idea that an excess of hybridity leads to sterility is a legacy of the
racist theories of the nineteenth century polygenesists. Even with the basis of scientific
racism discredited, narratives of racial mixture often feature heightened anxieties around
reproduction and a racialisation of the processes of child bearing and rearing.

The sterile world of Alfonso Cuaron's Children of Men is a hybrid world, a place of
multiculturalism imploded, representing a planet overly mixed and out of control. It is also a
world where binarisms are re-established and the split between 'them' and 'us' reinscribed.
Here, in the urban decay, is a sterile, infertile humanity facing their pending end as a
species. These elements of the dystopian fantasy are linked, as the world of hybridity and
multiculturalism gone mad has led to the death of the future in the sterile world. Yet there
is also the contradictory element introduced in this narrative: the disempowerment and the
impotence the while male figure of privilege. Drawing on opposing themes of white racial
degeneracy also prevalent in nineteenth century, the death of the human race is a projected
fear of the white male protagonist. The anxieties of these failures are embodied in the
character of Theo: the representative of the tragedy of white male impotent

Into this dystopian future arrives Kee, the African woman whose fertile body offers the
messianic hope to the dying world. The black-woman-earth-mother trope is the film's
highly racialised comment on the nature of gender, race and difference and a stereotype
that works in conjunction and in conflict with Theo as sterile white masculinity. This paper
explores the intersection of race and gender in the presentation of infertile multiculturalism
and the conflicting representation of the causes of that infertility: too much sameness or
too much difference.

The concept of repetition: a new methodology in the field of film
Dr Birgit Maria Leitner, University of Jena (Germany)
The lecture introduces a new film-philosophical methodology. It is based on the material
and ideal element of repetition. With special reference to the film author / auteur Jim
Jarmusch (USA) and parts of his films ”Permanent Vacation” (1980) and “Mystery Train”
(1989) it will be shown how the concept is developed by an aesthetic-philosophical thinking.
Therefore I am going to discuss in what way the filmic repetition can be combined with
philosophical positions concerning “temporality”, “spatiality” or “memory” – as thought by
Henri Bergson, Charles Sanders Peirce and Gilles Deleuze. The concept of repetition differs
basically from standardized methods of film analysis up to now (like categorizations of
cadrage, styles of montage etc.). Because of its semiotical / semiological appearance the
repetition takes part on the continuation of processual coding.

The filmic repetition evokes questions like: “what is said?” (directed at semiology, i. e. film
language) or “what is expressed”? (turned towards semiotics, i. e. on what happens through
tokens and images, the in-between of images).

The reading of the “Structures of Repetition” serves to underline how films by Jim Jarmusch
are thinking reality – through repetition as a key of temporality and spatiality. Roland
Barthes’ explanation: “The birth of the reader must be at the cost of the death of the
author” (1968) finds as far as that goes its confirmation, because of auteur structuralism is
bringing the concept of repetition to application not by giving a special emphasis on
biographical references but on structures.
Jacques Derrida emphasizes that writing would mean producing symbols through presenting
itself as a productive machinery which can be read and re-written, but can’ t be prevented
from functioning in case of “my” disappearance. That means, Derrida’s examination testifies
that through the material form of the repetition every filmic text stays readable even if the
so called author can’t take responsibility for what he has written, should he be absent,
should he be dead. So far the thinking of the repetition doesn’t form a definite concept that
would give priority to any film-philosophical theory or deliver an empirical evidence. Much
more it means an interpretational act which serves as a prove that the relevant hypotheses
of sense through symbols could derive from semiotical and philosophical considerations of
the thinking of repetition.

Begin the begin: eschatological battles, soteriology, ontology, and ideology in
the child sexual abuse film
Dr Jason Lee, University of East London (UK)
During the 1980s discourse concerning child sexual abuse became central to the media and
public debate, and in the 1990s popular culture frequently took child sexual abuse as a
subject for representation. Numerous claims of child sexual abuse were made, specifically
between 1984 and 1994, not of all of which were genuine. Throughout the early 1990s, the
media obsessively highlighted reports concerning abduction by paedophiles, and children
being at risk from predatory paedophiles.
For Jenny Kitzinger during the mid-1990s there was ‘child abuse fatigue’. Juries were less
likely to convict accused abusers, due to an awareness of ‘false memory syndrome’, and
other factors. Many films over the past three decades have reproduced some of the central
myths concerning child sexual abuse and paedophilia. Men abusing children, women
abusing children, children abusing other children, even children abusing mentally disabled
adults who appear like children, became staple fodder. While the media continually made
child sexual abuse a central concern of public debate, popular culture, particularly films,
explored this issue in fiction and docudrama.

Premodern and non-Western societies embrace in symbolic imaginaries demons, and other
unnatural or supernatural creatures. In contrast, from its onset in the 17th century, modern
culture has aspired to enmesh without remainder all of being within its conceptual nets. The
Cartesian ideal of total knowledge and total control lives on in 21st century science,
technology, and global markets. In neo-Kantian morality the exception to the order of
reason or rational discourse cannot be truly human and becomes identified with radical evil
– frequently the paedophile.

With reference to powerful films, both for aesthetic and political reasons, as well as
philosophical, such as Paul Thomas Anderson’s Magnolia (1999), Tim Roth’s The War Zone
(1999), and Atom Egoyan’s The Sweet Hereafter (1997), this paper seeks to explain the
eschatological, soteriological, and ideological aspects of the child sexual abuse film. By doing
so, I examine key philosophical truths concerning these films, the cultures that produced
them, and ongoing ontological issues.
An impression of distant reality: Michotte’s experimental phenomenology
and the cinematic situation
Sigrid Leyssen, University of Leuven (Belgium)
How are we to explain the specific behaviour of moviegoers? This question has been
evoking debate from the earliest days of film theory until the present. When we are
watching a film, we cry, flinch or turn away in disgust, but we never try to interfere. This is
usually explained by stating that we know that what we perceive is not real. In this paper, I
will turn to the work of an experimental phenomenologist, Albert Michotte (1881-1965), for
bringing other, non-epistemic factors into account, in order to elucidate the cinematic
situation and the behaviour it encompasses.

Michotte notes that ‘a motion picture *usually+ provides a very vivid impression of the
reality of the things and events perceived on the screen.’ Instead of knowledge of reality,
Michotte sets out to study the very different forms and degrees of this impression of reality.
In the cinema, Michotte argues, there is a special conflict at work that leads us to have ‘the
impression of actually perceiving real entities and events, but this involves a more or less
distorted reality, belonging (psychologically speaking) to a world not entirely our own, one
which seems somewhat distant.’ It is not because we know that cinema is not real that we
do not act to interfere. It is rather this very specific kind of phenomenal reality that we
experience directly at the level of perception that determines our behaviour in the
cinematic situation. We perceive the film as having phenomenal reality, but it is a reality
that is somewhat distant, a reality that does not allow for our interference.

We may not act to interfere in reaction to the events we perceive in the cinema, but we do
act. We flinch, gasp for breath, contort our face, tighten our muscles or cry. Michotte tackles
this part of the problem by studying our motor reactions to events we see. He is fascinated
by the variety of ways in which we accord or even fuse our movements with the action on
the screen (what he calls motor empathy). He then suggests a parallel with how we bring
our emotions, and even mental attitudes, thoughts and judgements in accord with the
events on the screen. The role of the impression of distance is central here again. Michotte
analyses the cinematic situation in terms of segregating and integrating factors, the
combination of which leads to different impressions of distance and different sorts of what
he calls motor and emotional empathy.

Scenes from a marriage: metatheoretical reflections on film and philosophy
Dr Dimitri Liebsch, University of Bochum (Germany) / University of Atlanta (USA)
In my paper I introduce a typology that reflects the various interactions between philosophy
and film. Paying attention to the historical development since the early 20th century, I will
focus on the following types:

a) DISRESPECT. Until the 1970s films have often been viewed as inferior and therefore were
disregarded. Surprisingly, this has also been the case even when one might expect
otherwise. For example, Sarte wrote film scripts but did not mention films in his typology of
images, and Goodman’s general semiotic in Language of Art mentions film only in a single
b) REINTERPRETATION. Due to the general disrespect, positive reactions to film were mostly
possible only when film was reinterpreted in a distorting way. For instance, when Adorno
did not defame film as the quintessence of the culture industry he denied the technological
side and emphasized its proximity to the beauty of nature. Another example is Benjamin’s
The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Production and its hope for the end of bourgeois
art. This hope is not based on established film but on projects of the early Soviet avant-
garde and more specifically on Tretjakov’s operative literature.

c) REIFICATION. When considering the relationship between film and philosophy, one might
think that film usually is the object and philosophy the method (such as in the ontology or
epistemology of film or in the interpretation of single movies). Yet, there is no homogeneity
but only various relationships: Firstly, a plurality of film and types of films; secondly, a
plurality of philosophical methods (positivism, phenomenology, analytic philosophy,
poststructualism etc.). Furthermore, the line between theory of film and film philosophy is
very thin as can be seen in Currie’s “grand theory”).

d) ILLUSTRATION. Since the 1990s we have a boom of texts discovering philosophy in film. Film
is here seen as an illustration for classical or big questions of philosophy (most prominently
in the work of Litch, Falzon or the series X and Philosophy). According to this approach, we
can see a film in order to understand Plato. In terms of didactics, this may make sense, but
there are two problems with this approach: firstly, it often reduces the examination of film,
and secondly, by no means can all philosophical problems be illustrated through film.

e) ORIGIN. While as illustration film is put second, philosophy does not have to be seen as
prior or primary. Lately, there has been a tendency to understand film as philosophy
(Mulhall, Engell, Smith). Here, film itself is the origin of philosophy. This is currently a
popular approach, it is, however, also problematic. According to Carroll, film as philosophy is
in most cases nothing but the illustration of already existing ideas. Furthermore, he argues,
one needs an “interpretative framework” outside of film in order to read a particular film as
philosophy. In other words, film philosophy as origin is either nothing different from
academic philosophy or requires it.

f) JUXTAPOSITION. Film as philosophy can be put in relation to academic philosophy but
without overlooking the independence of either one. For example, according to Merleau-
Ponty, both film (as a genre) and phenomenology show their interest for the interlocking of
subject, fellow beings, and world. Deleuze also sees a discovery of “movement image” and
“time image” in film as well as in Bergson’s philosophy. And for Cavell, film and philosophy
both provoke us to think about things “that ordinary human beings cannot help thinking
about.“ Therefore, in his Cities of Words he combines texts on classical moral philosophy
and on Hollywood’s golden age.

Against this backdrop, I want to present some general remarks on the marriage between
film and philosophy and discuss the following aspects and questions: Fortunately, the time
of DISRESPECT is over. And film as ILLUSTRATION of philosophy makes sense if one takes into
consideration that film in this context is not looked at as film. Why is the type of film as the
ORIGIN of philosophy currently so popular although it is so problematic? Maybe this only
expresses the effort to finally take film seriously. But possibly it is only a rhetorical strategy:
In contrast to the normal case of the REIFICATION, a film that ‘thinks for itself’ can at first sight
be more easily distinguished from a theory of film. Finally, the approach of JUXTAPOSITION is
promising, at least when it does not strive for a detection of identity but rather a creative
comparison such as done by Cavell, who ties Buster Keaton’s gaze to Heidegger’s key
concepts of time and being.

Kierkegaard and Lars von Trier: the suspension of ethics and the cinema of
Prof Laura Llevadot, University of Barcelona (Spain)
In the Lectures on the Dialectics of Ethical and Ethico-Religious Communication [Pap. VIII B
79-89, 141-190] Kierkegaard distinguishes between the communication of knowledge
[Videns Meddelelse], whose main aim is to convey the objective truth, and the
communication of ability or capacity [Kunnens Meddelelse], which is concerned with doing
rather than knowing. In this sense the communication of capacity proposed by Kierkegaard
understands that the objective of communication is an ethical or ethico-religious truth – a
subjective truth – which must be reduplicated and appropriate, rather than intellectually

This distinction, which leads Kierkegaard to reconsider the stylistic strategies of his works to
the extent that he was trying to convey an ethical or ethico-religious truth rather than an
objective truth, can help us in understanding Lars von Trier´s concept of cinema. Lars von
Trier, like Kierkegaard, is concerned with the how [hvorledes+ of communication: “I have
observed that nobody until now has been genuinely interested in the future of cinema. (...)
Directors only talk about their personal ideas, but do not question themselves about the
medium of cinema” (Trier, 2001). But this questioning of the medium of cinema can be
found in one of Vinterberg´s observations: “Dogma is a challenge to the conformity of
cinema. Cinema is the most conservative art form of our times”.

In order to understand this statement, we should go back to the original criticisms of the
cinematographic medium and which, after the Second World War, generated a new
pedagogy of perception. This criticism of the conformity of cinematographic language has
been conceptualized as the shift from the moving image to the image of time (G. Deleuze);
from the cinema of “montage” to the cinema of “mostrage” (Lapoujade) or from montage
cinema to flat cinema (Raúl Ruiz). My thesis is that this distinction is parallel to that which
Kierkegaard established in Lectures on the Dialectics of Ethical and Ethico-Religious
Communication, concerning the communication of knowledge and the communication of
ability, and that this is where Lars von Trier´s cinematographic techniques lie, which he has
been practising since 1995.

What Kierkegaard and Lars von Trier have in common is their awareness that aesthetics –
whether in philosophical or cinematographic styles – are always subservient to something
else, to a practical truth, even religious, which arises when ethics are suspended and whose
form of expression must allow the audience the freedom of choice. To develop this thesis, I
will make a comparative analysis of Fear and Trembling, by Kierkegaard, and Lars von Trier´s
film Breaking the Waves (1996).
My paper will develop the following points: 1.- Criticism of the conventionality of the
cinematographic medium; 2.- Kierkegaard´s proposal of “communication of power or
capacity” and its reflexion in the cinematographic art of Trier; and 3.- The suspension of the
ethical and its transmission through the aesthetics of choice in Fear and Trembling and
Breaking the Waves; 4.- The analogy between Kierkegaardian criticism of the philosophical
and discursive style of modernity and Lars von Trier´s criticism of the conventionality of

The event in Werckmeister Harmonies
Steven Marchant , Royal Holloway University of London (UK)
This paper examines how Béla Tarr’s Werckmeister Harmonies (2000) uses the sequence
shot to stage an event which is simultaneously physical and metaphysical. Throughout the
film the mise en scène emphasises the raw, mute physicality of bodies involved in actions.
Tarr insists on the actual time it takes to walk from here to there, and on the textures,
rhythms, and sounds of the body engaged in that act of walking. Yet at the same time,
staging each event within a sequence shot, he ensures that every event in the film is
inseparable from something which does not take place: the shot itself. In this way the event
of the Werckmeister shot is commensurate with its own void. The occurrence of the event is
the void of the event.

Tarr is not the first filmmaker to use the difference between the event in the shot and the
event of the shot as a way of opening up a metaphysical dimension within the work.
Antonioni and Tarkovsky both developed a comparable aesthetic. However in each case the
metaphysical aspect is staged differently: Antonioni aligns it with the void of human being
(the void which founds existential freedom); Tarkovsky casts it as a redemptive beyond
immanent within the event; and Tarr, neither existential nor spiritual, renders it as the
nothing which inhabits the interior of the event.

In exploring the originality of Tarr’s staging of the event in Werckmeister Harmonies the
paper will draw on Heidegger’s ‘What is Metaphysics?’, in particular the discussion of
metaphysics as the thinking of the nothing.

“Une valse à mille temps”: history as eternal return according to Stanley
Kubrick’s Adorno (and Theodor Adorno’s Kubrick)
Dr José Manuel B. Martins, Universidade de Évora (Portugal)
The aim of this paper is to present a reading of Stanley Kubrick’s central trilogy (Dr.
Strangelove, 2001: A Space Odyssey and A Clockwork Orange) using an Adornian (and
Horkheimerian) key. Kubrick’s Trilogy is thus featured through an “Adornian lens” as a
cinematic constellation of pure Critical Theory thought. The trilogy (as “speechless” work of
art) provides in its turn illuminating insights about the interplaying of core concepts such as
reason and history, myth and technology, violence and reification, mankind and humanity,
society and fear.

The “nuclear” argument will develop as follows: assuming that the conceptual structure of
the (in the strong sense) Dialectics of Enlightenment implies not only the reciprocal figure of
myth-as-already-reason and reason-as-myth-anew in linear chronology, but also the circular
temporality of a continuous (rational) advancement of (mythical) regression (therefore
paralysing History in the Eternal Return of Itself as still “Pre-History”), the question about
“when is 2001” is not to be answered empirically (back from *King] apes once again, some
time after major Kong’s atomic Armageadon of Dr. Strangelove, given the raccord between
the two films’ extreme cosmic-epochal images: sunset as sunrise), but rather structurally:
sunrise as already sunset, inasmuch as Zarathustra’s Übermensch leitmotiv both opens and
closes this startling evolution process that equals - as a Nitzschean the Same - bone and
spaceship, pre- and post-humans, through the very ellipse of World History, v.g., through
the abolition of real temporal difference. It is not us going back to our Sisyphic task of ever
becoming human, but the entire self-returning structure of History as such which returns
and has always been returning upon us and announcing its (and our) end as a principle.
Then, of course, atomic destruction was already there, “shining” since the first dawn for
seers’ eyes wide shut, because what happens is not that we keep returning or that we
would risk to return once and for all to pre-history, but rather that what we endlessly do is
to return to history’s very pre-structure of Return. That’s what turns Kubrick into a
sharpened and massive critical theorist (and so much so because he does it more à son insu,
and ever so much so because he thinks cinematographically: which means combining
visual, narrative, musical and conceptual dimensions in an inexhaustible filmic-philosophical

Another Kubrick’s virtuoso raccord reminds us of how far (Johann) Strauss’ “waltz” (=
revolving, circular) regime commands (the other) Strauss’ ascending (promising/menacing),
awe-inspiring musical theme: the redemptional Superhuman star child orbits, in his cosmic
navigation, from one film to another, to nowhere else but… Alex’s angel face of an
ultraviolent perpetrator, set in his own childlike, ominous dawn: drinking pure white milk
from a sort of an electrossexual post-surrealist bar table.

And just like a whole genealogy of Modernist ancestors could be produced regarding what
arguably is the tour-de-force feature of 2001 - the black Monolit (from the shadow of Poe’s
Raven to Malevich’s Black Square, that we shall argue to represent, all of them, the
reification of reason), a corresponding antecedent for the “clockwork orange” oxymoron
could be unearthed as archaeologically as in Kant’s conception of what is to be a systematic
whole (both Pure reason’s Architectonics, and his doctrine of the organized body - never
named, nor plainly recognized, as… life!-, combine almost impossibly the organic and the
mechanical rational principles, prefiguring Frankfurt School’s diagnosis of a contemporary
system of total ratio). Not so remote antecedents, nevertheless, as Homer’s Odyssey would
appear to be to Kubrick’s, were it not for Adorno’s penetrating demonstration of History’s
dialectic con-temporareity to itself, and of that of Ulysse’s to us.

Menacing sounds: neuroscience and the film experience
Dr Richard T. McClelland, Gonzaga University (USA)
Recent neuroscientific studies of brain functioning indicate that we are hard-wired to
discriminate sounds of rising intensity from other sounds and that these sounds of rising
intensity function as an automatic warning to animals of our type. Our subjective response
to that warning cue makes these what we might call “menacing sounds,” where “menace”
refers to this affective appraisal that we attach to them. Such menacing sounds also serve
to prime our imaginative functions, including their further affective representations. What
they cause us to imagine is various kinds of disasters or catastrophes, especially those of
being severely wounded or killed by a predator (whether human or non-human). Such
responses are, ex hypothesi, the result of our long evolutionary history and reach back to
the earliest period of environmental adaptation for our species. (I presume that these
remain adaptive responses, even though contemporary homo sapiens in Western affluent
cultures may have relatively little realistic need of them.) Even the exaggeration of the
affective responses (beyond what the aural environment actually warrants) makes good
evolutionary sense, for it is better to over-react needlessly to a remote and unrealized
possibility of violent death or maiming than it is to fail to react and have that remote
possibility become actual.

Many genres of contemporary film trade on these ancient brain mechanisms and their
automatic deployment in the audience. One thinks of horror films, to be sure, but also
thrillers and action films, as well as animations and some dramas. Further brain studies
indicate that the motivational and affective results of menacing sounds are likely to be
heightened when the object causing the sound of rising intensity cannot be seen. One
thinks of approaching footsteps where the person is not visible to us, or the approach of a
train, of a car, the rising intensity of a siren. Musical scores, of course, often mimic these
effects, and here one cannot help but think of the theme of Jaws and the skillful use those
film-makers put it to. The sound of the approaching tanks (heard long before they appear
visibly) in the pivotal combat sequence in Saving Private Ryan have similar effects.
Someone has said that if there is one quintessential sound of the twentieth-century, it is the
sound of approaching tank treads. Here we see some of the affective results of those

We explore here, by way of some representative examples, elements of this basic situation.
We explore the appraisals that the accompanying affects marshal. We explore the
automaticity of our responses to menacing sounds. We explore also Colin McGinn’s analogy
between our experience of film and dreaming, especially with regard to the imaginative and
affective products of these sounds. We explore the epistemic value of these responses:
what it is that we come to know by means of them. And we explore a further analogy
prompted by these neuroscientific findings, our experience of films in which menacing
sounds are prominent, and the evolutionary import of all this: the film experience as
laboratory for the investigation of the human mind and its supporting neurological
structures and processes.

Funny Games U.S. – remake
Dr Andrew McGettigan, Middlesex University (UK)
“Anyone who leaves the cinema doesn’t need the film, anyone who stays, does.”
Michael Haneke

“Just try – in a real case – to doubt someone else’s fear or pain.”
Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations §303

This paper will consider the critical reception of Michael Haneke’s recent English-language
remake of his own 1997 film. Given the mixed history of such remakes, attention has been
directed to the director’s own comments in this regard. Rather than indicate a financial or
commercial imperative, or dissatisfaction with the artistic achievement of the original,
Haneke presents his shot-for-shot ‘self-plagiarism’ as motivated by the need for more
“Americans” to see the film. As a result, the film’s critical reception has tended to focus on
the power of its message as parable.

In this paper, I wish, first, to situate Funny Games in the recent history of cinema examining
its relation both to those films which satirise the media representation of violence and to
those which aim to alienate, antagonise or preach to the audience. Funny Games disrupts
general film and genre conventions, but it does not justify this split through recourse to
overt moralising or by asking to be judged as homily rather than entertainment. Tellingly, in
subsequent films, Haneke has not himself adhered to the imputed prescription for the
depiction of violence.

Second, it is imperative to highlight the campaign of misinformation, ambush and shock that
surrounded both versions of Funny Games. My suspicion is that this campaign is primarily
directed against critics rather than the general viewing public. Pundits, reliant on access,
interviews and PR releases, seem overly keen to demonstrate that they ‘get’ the film whilst
neglecting what’s on the screen.

This is a harrowing film without the normal cathartic outlets. As such peculiar empathetic
effects are generated. We know this is not a “real case”, yet paradoxically, the directorial
devices used ‘to show the audience how open to manipulation they are’ do not undercut
the simulated fear and pain: the anguish is increased. Here is where the critical focus ought
to lie and I hope to offer some preliminary observations negotiating both Brecht and

Thinking the commodity through the moving image: theorising the
relationship between capital and ‘cinematic consciousness’
Dr Nick Mercer, University of Western Australia (Australia)
In The Cinematic Mode: Attention Economy and the Society of the Spectacle Jonathan Beller
makes the bold proposition that at the turn of the twentieth century cinema inaugurated a
historical shift in the capitalist mode of production. More than just a technical invention or a
new aesthetic medium, cinema, Beller argues, gives rise to the ‘cinematic mode of
production’, which describes a new historical modality of capitalist production that extends
the power and logic of capital to the internal domain of the human senses and towards
establishing a visual economy of attention. Beller’s thesis makes the claim that the
cinematic apparatus provides a ‘prototechnology for the capitalisation of human attention’
and that ‘looking as labor (sic) represents a tendency towards increasingly abstract instances
of the new relationship between labor and capital, a new regime of the technological
positioning of bodies for the purpose of value extraction’. However, Beller isn’t the first to
assert that during the period of late modernity capital began to impose a ‘disciplinary
regime of attentiveness’ in order to manage and control the distracted gazes of the masses.
Jonathan Crary’s study into the way capital attempts to resolve the problem of inattention
created at the end of the nineteenth century by its own destabilising forces of acceleration
and dislocation identifies cinema as the pre-eminent disciplinary technology of the time.
Crary contends that in cinema capital found an apparatus that could manage attention and
synthesise perceptual consciousness, something that had become critical in modern urban
societies where the ‘fragmentation and atomisation of *the+ cognitive field’ had begun to
threaten the social and productive capacity of labour upon which capital relied.

In this paper I am going to investigate Beller’s and Crary’s historical-philosophical theses by
situating them in the context of film philosophy, or more specifically, a Marxian film
philosophy. Drawing on Gilles Deleuze’s cinema philosophy as well as more recent
interventions into film philosophy by Daniel Frampton, I aim to delineate and explore the
historical, theoretical, philosophical and ontological object of cinema as a capitalised
‘cinematic consciousness’. Put simply, ‘cinematic consciousness’ is the term that I use to
describe what Deleuze names as cinema’s ‘machine assemblage’ or ‘spiritual automaton’, or
what Daniel Frampton has philosophised as the ‘organic intelligence’ of the ‘filmind’ and
‘film-thinking’. The concept of ‘cinematic consciousness’ was born from a dialogue with the
works of the aforementioned philosophers, and my research methodology is driven by the
need to interweave these complex perspectives into a cohesive thesis on the philosophical
object of cinema: understood as a historically specific form of technologically automated
and mediated consciousness. It is in reference to the notion of ‘cinematic consciousness’
that I will examine how cinema operates as a machine assemblage for collective and
subjective perception and consciousness, while also constituting a new political economy
for capital.

Filmmaking and the construction of personal identity: Federico Fellini’s 8½
Roberto Mordacci and Monica Pagliarini, Università Vita-Salute San Raffaele (Italy)
Personal identity is a practical enterprise in which the subject defines a way of being
oneself. The confrontation with moral reasons is an essential element in this endeavour
(Korsgaard 1996). One of the fundamental requirements of any personal identity is the
ability to face one’s shortcomings and failures. Hiding from view the immoral features is a
hypocritical attitude which raises from a moralistic view of personal identity. Overcoming
this moralism and reaching a more honest understanding of oneself is a necessary
prerequisite for the building of a critically coherent and authentic morality (Foucault 1984).

Fellini’s masterpiece 8½ portrays the artistic and moral crisis of a film director (Guido
“Snaporaz” Anselmi, a Fellini’s alter ego). Various lies and escaping strategies keep Guido
floating in a surrealistic suspension, until the whole castle of fictions (pretending to have a
story to tell, pretending to be trustworthy) crumbles to the ground. Yet, the final scene is a
frank admission of all his frailties and therefore a reconciliation with the persons that make
up his history and identity.

Each character of this film has a specific meaning and a peculiar role in Guido’s evolution
from hypocrisy to reflective understanding. They all represent the instances to which
Guido’s identity tries to respond without finding a way to unify himself. When the attempts
to run away from responsibilities fail, Guido faces his inability to correspond to multiple
expectations. The final word is an appeal to forgiveness and acceptance, a refusal of
desperation. Although Fellini shows a certain self-indulgence, the work of self-clarification
shows the need for a fundamental honesty. Overcoming the contradictions requires an
effort toward unity which cannot even start without such a kind of confession of oneself.
In the end, Fellini has made the film but, at the same time, the film has made its author, as
Michel de Montaigne said of his Essais (1595). The effort to put on the scene the
contradictions of one’s personality and the variety of human characters radically changes
the author himself. The most celebrated virtue of Renaissance, the ancient Stoic ideal of
parrhesia, is implicitly endorsed here. Being earnest makes a person critically conscious of
the possibility of more authentic relationships. Fellini looks for a sincerity of the narrative
which suggests not only the telling of the story of his artistic and personal difficulties. It
forces the real director into the experimentation of a new filmic language, deeply
entrenched with junghian suggestions and oneiric memories which break the realistic
narrative line usually followed in Fellini’s previous works (Calvino 1974, Kezich 2002). An
analysis of the dynamic of hypocrisy, self-indulgence, crisis and final honesty through the
film will show the analogies with Montaigne’s idea of «la forme maîtresse» and with the
contemporary issue of practical identity.

Expressionist film: imaginary space and cinematic transformation
Isa Murdock-Hinrichs, University of California, San Diego (USA)
Academic scholarship, ranging from Lotte Eisner to Barry Salt, has articulated significant
differences in terms of its definition of Expressionism in Weimar cinema. My paper identifies
the legitimacy of these definitions and articulates the precarious role of Expressionism in
the Weimar Republic as revolutionary art form and later as systematically integrated “high
art.” Examining the way in which Expressionist painting in cinema has re-configured
cinematic and imaginary space, I am asserting that Expressionist film reveals how Germany
has imagined (and re-imagined) itself as a nation and distinct culture through participating
in shifting and simultaneous space and spatial representations.

On a formal level, I suggest that Expressionist set designs and film backgrounds fragment
cinematic space and undercut illusions of three-dimensional space. Performances in these
Expressionist films articulate a similar disruption of public and private space. These
portrayals, convey less of ideas and conventions associated with Expressionists, but seem to
resemble the cynical representations attributed to the works of the New Objectivity (Neue
Sachlichkeit) movement. In this manner these Expressionist films clearly re-shape spatial
and categorical systems of differentiation, questioning implicitly social and cultural
inequalities in Weimar.

I examine, in addition, how Joe May’s The Indian Tomb, Fritz Lang’s Destiny and The Spiders,
and Paul Leni’s Waxwork suggest that representations of “Orientals” signify an imaginary
space that in the early stages of the Weimar Republic seems to mirror less Edward Said’s
concept of a relationship between Western Europeans and “Orientals” but rather indicate
cinematic and cultural self-reflexivity. In doing so, “oriental” motifs in Weimar cinema serve
as a vehicle to present an alternate space to the rational space of Western European
thinking, ultimately conveying Germany’s anxiety of modernity.

Semiotics of opening credits
Dr Amir Ali Nojoumian, Shahid Beheshti University (Iran)
Opening Credits is probably the closest moment in the encounter between the verbal and
visual languages in a feature film. One of the major functions of opening credits is to
introduce and present the signifying system of the film in the most concise form. Therefore,
opening credits is the ‘threshold’ to enter the main text. This paper is an attempt to
consider the following questions:
   1) What are the various semiotic functions of opening credits?
   2) Can the language system of opening credits be distinctively different from the main
       text (film)? If so, what is the significance of this intertextual structure?
   3) Opening credit is an example of “the paratext” that lies next to and relates to the
       main text through the title, the list of the contributors, rhetorical features, and
       letters (typography). In other words, an opening credit is a “minor text” next to a
       “major one” which is paradoxically both independent and dependent. What is the
       signifying relation between this paratext and the text from a generic or structural
       perspective and what signs are the distinguishing factors between these two texts?
   4) Opening credits is at the same time inside and outside the text: It remains always at
       the “threshold” of the text. What kind of state is this state of “being at the

Film, metaphor, and the reality of time
Prof Kristóf Nyíri, Budapest University of Technology and Economics (Hungary)
2008 marks the hundred-year anniversary of both McTaggart's essay on the unreality of
time, and Minkowski's famous lecture introducing the notion of a unified space-time. Both
McTaggart and Minkowski doubt the aptness of the common-sense metaphors of the
"passage" of time, a doubt that has become almost paradigmatic in contemporary
mainstream philosophy and science. As physicist Julian Barbour puts it, time does not really
flow, it is the brain that "plays a movie" for us: "the brain in any instant always contains, as
it were, several stills of a movie. … when we think we are seeing actual motion, the brain is
interpreting all the simultaneously encoded images and, so to speak, playing them as a
movie." Now although, as neurophysiology tells us, the brain does indeed construct a movie
for us, this cannot count against the reality of time: the movie we see is not illusionistic,
although it is edited, so as to make sense of the world before our eyes.

The planned paper will take its point of departure from a non-conventionalist philosophy of
pictures (images represent by resembling reality), go on to the issue of moving images
(images happening in time) as full-fledged images in contrast to static ones, and then tap
the resources of conceptual metaphor theory. Time, in a way, is directly experienced, but it
is not directly conceptualized: the notion of time is articulated via images and metaphors of
spatial movement, metaphors lead to analogies, analogies lead to the postulating of
theoretical entities. Veridical images lead through inevitable metaphors to what is the
common-sense idea of becoming and the flow of time; philosophy should defend, rather
than explain away, this idea, in the spirit of C. D. Broad, rather than, say, J. J. C. Smart.

Now a philosophical defense of the reality of time – recall the "movie" metaphor – might
fruitfully draw on film theory, namely the realist tradition in film theory. We can say, with
Panofsky, that "the medium of the movies is physical reality as such", and also, more
specifically, with Bazin, that "cinema is objectivity in time… …. Now, for the first time, the
image of things is likewise the image of their duration." And we can say, with Currie, that
"there is no illusion of movement in cinema; there is real movement, really perceived… …
film does, or can, represent space and time realistically". Again – if our brain plays a movie
for us, we have no reason to believe that the world shown by that movie is illusory.
‘Hit like a bullet’, or cut with a knife? Time, affect and technique in haptic
Dr Mark Paterson, University of Exeter (UK)
Walter Benjamin famously wrote of the viewer being “hit like a bullet”, the cinematic
experience having a tactile – or haptic – quality through certain editing techniques.
Examining the process of editing, we consider film not as text, then, but as a series of
techniques for producing sensuous-aesthetic experience. Furthermore, the evocation of a
range of affective and emotional responses, while structured through a variety of editing
techniques producing sensorial conjunctions of the visual and the non-visual, including
music, is obviously central to actual cinematic experience.

The restructuring of cinematic time, the play with foreshadowings and revealing of memory,
and the mechanics of collective and individual affective responses lead to a reconsideration
of the role of editing. Editing as a process that reconstitutes time and movement, that plays
with percepts and affects, is not just a consideration of the meaning effects of juxtaposition
or collage, but our responses to sudden cuts and jumps in the ‘body’ of the film. Departing
from the qualitative semiotic approach of Deleuze’s “time image”, and expanding on
Sobchack’s predominantly phenomenological “cinaesthetic subject”, we follow Benjamin’s
observation in ‘The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction’ concerning the
visceral effects of surrealist and dadaist collage in film, to ask: in what sense is editing
‘haptic’? How does it ‘touch’ us when film touches itself? What aesthetic experiences are on
offer when considering the thematic montage techniques of Eisenstein, the rapid machine-
gun editing of the MTV aesthetic, or the more studied, emotional draw of new Asian cinema
such as Ki-duk Kim? What other affects are spliced into the cut of the edit?

The matter of the invisible: envisioning a body that breathes in von Trier’s
Breaking the Waves
Davina Quinlivan, King’s College London (UK)
In his book Audio-Vision, Michel Chion remarks several times upon the sound of breathing,
foregrounding liminal aural spaces that would otherwise be perceived as ‘silent’ instances
occurring on the audio-track. Chion also extends his address of breath to the sonic
interpretation of the filmed body on screen where its particular representation in The
Elephant Man serves as a ‘sort of narrative between the protagonist’s suffering bodily
machinery and the film’s translation of industry’. Yet, while Chion complicates theorization
of what is heard and not seen, one might question further still the role breath plays in our
perception of film.

Offering a way in which to theorize breathing significantly beyond its purely biological
function, my argument develops an interdisciplinary approach that is especially informed by
the philosophy of Luce Irigaray. For Irigaray, breathing is much more than a biological
process, it is part of a corporeal subjectivity, an aspect of embodiment that is aligned with
the senses, while also remaining distinct. While forming an Irigarayan perspective on breath
in the cinema, the paper also builds upon current analyses of embodiment and
phenomenological film theory, drawing on recent models of sensuous theory most notably
offered through the work of Laura U. Marks and Vivian Sobchack. Through engagement with
the theories of Irigaray, Marks and Sobchack, my consideration of breathing leads to the
cinema of Lars von Trier, taking concerns of the body and its impression of materiality in the
cinema one stage further by thinking through the immaterial, as well as the material, that
the act of respiration embodies: a physical process that is invisible yet also partially visible.

In dialogue with the philosophy of Irigaray, my paper explores breathing in Breaking the
Waves as a new form of embodied subjectivity, an interior consciousness created through
the sound/image that marks a space of discreet intimacy between viewer and film. Situating
breathing within a cinematic frame of subjectivity, von Trier’s use of sync sound in Breaking
the Waves affords a place for breath that is rarely registered in film. I engage not only with
the sound of breathing as a vocal ellipsis, but also with what surfaces through these
‘pockets’ of expression that might also relate to the film’s realist aesthetic and its
envisioning of trauma. In this respect, I forge links between the indelible instances of
physical, emotional expression in the diegesis and the literally responsive, as well as
symbolically resuscitated, breath of the viewer.

Through the cinema of von Trier, I question what it at stake when the presence of breath
interrupts, fragments and even reconfigures our identification with on-screen subjectivity.
This relates specifically to the structuring of an embodied, breathing corporeality in
Breaking the Waves. The Irigarayan implications of such bodily parallels and differences
encourage an ethical approach to the embodied film experience that both resists and is
compelled by the other’s call to being, a declaration of corporeal subjectivity that speaks to
the breathing body of the viewer.

The human face: the ethical dimension of the cinematic image
Orna Raviv, Tel Aviv University (Israel)
This paper examines the ethical dimension of cinema in the context of an encounter
between cinematic theory and the philosophy of Emmanuel Levinas. I will focus on how the
cinematic treatment of the close-up has a unique value for the understanding of Levinas’s
position, and at the same time how Levinas’s ethical notion of the face can illuminate the
meaning of the cinematic close-up.

For Levinas, the human face is the epiphany of the Other’s Otherness. It is not subjected to
control or recognition by the observer, and remains eternally unknown. The face embodies
the possibility of transcendence and, as such, it opens for Levinas the realm of the ethical.
But, how can we talk about the face without turning it into an object of thought, a concept?
Whereas the concept of the face is clearly central for Levinas, this question nevertheless
remains without a concrete answer.

In this paper, I wish to examine the tension between the phenomenological and
transcendent aspect of the face by considering the appearance of the face on the screen,
and especially by placing it in the aesthetical framework of the cinematic discourse about
the close-up. In this context, I find the work of Gilles Deleuze and, in particular, his
discussion of the close-up as an affective image to be illuminating. While framing the face as
a field of tensions (rather than a self-sufficient object), Deleuze takes us a step closer toward
the Levinasian question and yet, at the same time, allows us to rethink the place of the
By reading Levinas’s concept of the face together with and against Deleuze’s discussion of
the cinematic close-up as an affective image, I will explore how cinema can provide a
concrete face-to-face encounter, one in which Otherness shows itself without being
objectified. I will show how this interface enables the appearance of the ethical relation to
the Other in a way that is different from real life or everyday experience. Finally, I shall
exemplify these themes through a specific case study: an analysis of the face-to-face
encounter between Captain Benjamin L. Willard (Martin Sheen) and Colonel Walter E. Kurtz
(Marlon Brando) in one of the most famous scenes in Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse

Eyes Wide Shut: biological determinism and the tragic fate of the Nietzschean
Dr Adrian Page, London Metropolitan University (UK)
Nietzsche's view of evolution was that we should, perhaps, not transcend our natural
impulses by attempting to reach a 'higher' stage of human life but instead surrender to our
bodily impulses in an orgy of Dionysian excess.Kubrick's film's origin in Schnitzler's short
story means that Kubrick is also dealing with the influence of Nietzsche on Schnitzler. Bill is
obviously tempted to engage in this Dionysian approach to life but is deterred and returns
to his marriage bed penitent and willing to be reconciled to his wife.In many ways this is
the classic image of the timid man influenced by Christianity that Nietzsche so despised, but
Bill has also seen the savagery which accompanies the world of the purely natural. In
Schnitzler's story, this is represented in the account of the woman mocking her lover's self-
sacrifice for her sake for the pure irrationality of the gesture. This is an example of the logic
of biological determinism as it is sometimes argued to develop through evolution: the waste
of genes for a sentimental reason.

For Bill, however, the experience of surrendering to the physical impulses of the bodily Self,
leads only to a somewhat sad return to normality. As Nietzsche said in /The Will to Power/,
'we must experience nihilism before we can find out what power values really had '. As
Nietzsche argued later in life, free will, the famous will to power, could not be adopted
spontaneously The ability to 'become that thou art', was a rare achievement.

The film shows a Dionysian ceremony with the awe-inspiring sound of the dithyramb as the
surrender to the sexual impulse also spells the irrational and sudden danger that
accompanies the descent into the Dionysian world. Nietzsche's theory of Tragedy echoes
throughout this scene. Yet to abandon oneself to the Dionysian influences also risked a
great deal : the experience of becoming 'beyond terror and pity ' was an almost
superhuman feat. The film therefore demonstrates an encounter with the bodily
determinism reminiscent of stoicism and a discovery of a modus vivendi based on
compatibilism. There is a recognition of Bill's part that we are determined yet that we can
live in such a way that we nonetheless experience our decisions as willed. PF Strawson's
work on determinism illustrates how the theory would destroy all relationships
between people and that the only response is to form a relationship in defiance of the
nihilistic implications.

In this way the film not only follows a philosophical thesis but also dramatises its
consequences so that it constructs a rhetorical case for its final conclusion based on the
viewer's own emotional involvement in the story.

Phenomenology and Film: Gaston Bachelard’s Poetics of Space and Othello
on Screen
Dr. Eleni Pilla, University of Cyprus (Cyprus)
This paper derives from my completed interdisciplinary PhD on The Renegotiation of Space
in Screen Versions of Othello which develops a methodology of spatial reading and employs
theories of space developed outside the realm of English Studies to interpret screen
adaptations of Shakespearean plays. The paper utilizes Gaston Bachelard’s The Poetics of
Space: The Classic Look at How We Experience Intimate Places in order to demonstrate that
three screen versions of Shakespeare’s well-known domestic tragedy of Othello as directed
by Orson Welles (1952), Oliver Parker (1995) and Geoffrey Sax/ Andrew Davies (2001)
display a negative poetics of domestic space. The discussion will centre on the configuration
of the bedroom in the three films and how this depiction differs from the Bachelardian
vision of space whereby positive values are attached to domestic space.

Throughout the analysis there will be references to Shakespeare’s play and the film genre of
the respective screen version of Othello. The investigation of the representation of intimate
space is particularly interesting in light of how it coincides with the cinematic techniques
and conventions of the different genres that the three films employ such as: film noir, erotic
thriller and television drama. Welles’s Othello uses chiaroscuro in the depiction of the
marital couple in the bedroom and the bedroom is portrayed as a space of imprisonment
and death throughout the film. Parker’s erotic thriller inserts scenes of the couple making
love and sequences of Desdemona’s supposed infidelity with Cassio in the bedroom not
found in Shakespeare’s play in order to construct a narrative of excessive passion. Davies’
updating of Shakespeare’s play into a police drama makes Othello the first black
commissioner of the Metropolitan police and in addition to depicting the interracial love of
John Othello (Othello) and Dessie Brabant (Desdemona) in their bedroom, the film also
incorporates the domestic space of Billy Coates who is murdered in his home by racist police
officers. This interpolation of Billy Coates has contemporary relevance because it alludes to
the racist killing of Stephen Lawrence in Feltham in 1993.

A wealth of material from my archival research at the BFI will be invoked in the presentation
such as: production notes, interviews, private correspondence with directors and an
unpublished script of the Sax/ Davies Othello. The paper concludes with possible reasons as
to why the filmmakers may have chosen to give this mode of representation of intimate
space. The presentation by establishing a dialogue between phenomenology, Shakespeare
and film, highlights the potentialities which open up through the cross-fertilisation of

Image and emancipation, between the political and the cinematic in the work
of Jacques Rancière
Manuel Ramos, Goldsmiths, University of London (UK)
The work of French philosopher Jacques Rancière is a paradigmatic case of the
contemporary conjunction between film theory and philosophy. This paper identifies the
conceptual devices that interrelate the political and the cinematic in his corpus using as an
instance the cinema of the Medvedkine Group. Rancière conceives his theoretical work on
cinema as a contact zone between film and political theory. It is a strategy not to translate
or explain one field with the other, but rather to create a common ground where film and
politics have reciprocal effects. I consider the possibilities offered by this methodology to
open up a political and interdisciplinary discussion.

This paper focuses on the question “How is the sensible distributed?” and its relevance,
according to Rancière, for political and film theory. I analyze his concept of distribution and
its role on how Rancière rethinks the notions of emancipation and image. Both notions are
understood as operations reconfiguring the sensible and therefore as processes capable of
invalidating dominant distributions. The Medvedkine Group provides this paper with an
exemplar practice of cinema as transgression. I explore the consequences of a redistributing
transgression for the redefinition of political cinema and the aesthetics of the political.

Identification required: reclaiming spectatorial engagement from
Dr Allen H Redmon, University of Arkansas at Monticello (USA)
The concept of identification has endured one of the more unfortunate experiences of any
philosophical term in film studies. Pushed to its logical and utilitarian extremes by the likes
of Noel Carroll, Murray Smith, and Gregory Currie, among others, the term Hugo
Munsterberg introduces in his seminal work The Photoplay (1916) to describe the unique
connection enjoyed by spectators and filmic characters has become little more than the
starting point for the pursuit of new descriptors. Carroll (2007), for instance, contends in a
recent book chapter on emotional relationships between spectators and characters that his
notion of solidarity, which consists of sympathy for a protagonist plus antipathy for an
antagonist, best describes the relational bonds films create. Solidarity tolerates if not
depends on the very asymmetries Carroll uses to discount the leading versions of
identification and it operates at a more general emotive level than identification can accept.
For these reasons, Carroll concludes philosophers would do well to abandon discussion of
identification entirely.

As compelling as Carroll’s demolition of the notion of identification and discussion of his
own counter term are, his suggestion to eliminate identification from the philosophical
lexicon creates a number of disturbing consequences. For one, the term has a longstanding,
albeit befuddled, existence beginning with the discourses of Plato and especially Aristotle in
antiquity and more recently Munsterberg. A second result follows the first. By creating new
terms to account for the emotive affect of film, philosophers abandon too quickly the
historical depth a reconstituted notion of identification would have, which, among other
things, overly limits the scope of the discussion to but one aspect of an otherwise robust
historical term. Finally, philosophers create unnecessary distance between mainstream and
philosophical discussions when the latter denies the expediency of the terms popular and
philosophical discussions use to describe the same phenomenon.

In order to avoid these unnecessary shortcomings, my paper works to articulate a notion of
identification connected to the historical uses of the term but resistant to the shortcomings
with which Carroll and others burdened it. I achieve this definition by first noting the
strengths of the existing objections and counter-proposals to identification. I then knot the
most useful aspects of these divergent projects into a one coherent portrait framed by the
critical insights of Rene Girard’s Mimetic Theory in order to name both the initial impulse to
identify and explain the popular appeal of cinematic identification. I contend, ultimately,
that once recognized, the sorts of identification described in this paper provides spectators
the opportunity to imitate some model without suffering the violence such imitation creates
in real life.

Ruizian bricolage as philosophical approximation
Dr Alejandra Rodriguez-Remedi
At last year’s RomeFilmFest, the Chilean filmmaker Raúl Ruiz declared himself surprised to
be receiving a Masters of Cinema award - a distinction previously bestowed by the capital’s
critics on luminaries such as Hitchcock, Scorsese and Polanski. Ruiz went on to avow that he
sees himself as an artisan expert in bricolage rather than as an auteur of film masterpieces.
For Ruiz, the prize was more an homage to bricolage than to cinema itself.

This paper will argue that Ruiz’s conceptualisation of bricolage as filming method
constitutes a radical tool for approximating contemporary filmmaking’s facilitation of a
polysemia of possibilities for new images of the world. Conscious of the hegemonic and
counter-hegemonic interactive potential of cinema, Ruiz here adopts a critical position with
political implications. His hypothesis: that cinema reflects societies’ thought processes; that
this ars combinatoria par excellence (“the totality of all the arts connected by poetry”) is
essentially analytic and documentary as it holds a “deforming mirror” up to normally elusive
behavioural mechanisms. To stimulate debate about Ruizian bricolage’s contribution to the
constitution of plural subjectivities in the context of industrial filmmaking norms, the paper
will draw on the work of contemporary thinkers (Badiou, Rancière, Mouffe) as well as Ruiz’s
own recent audiovisual production and his reflection on diverse philosophers (Llull, Bruno,
Spinoza, Whitehead, Wittgenstein, Croce, etc) in the first two volumes of his Poetics of

Monstrosity philosophy in Woody Allen’s Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989),
and Fred Zinnemann’s A Man for All Seasons (1966)
Prof Dennis Rothermel, California State University, Chico (USA)
Woody Allen’s Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989), and Fred Zinneman’s A Man for All
Seasons (1966) present the story of a philosopher confronting monstrosity without
triumphing over it, particularly in the characterizations of Louis Levy and Sir Thomas More.
Ralph Waldo Emerson advises that the true art in living life consists in learning to skate well
on the impenetrable surfaces that our world puts upon us. Even monstrous conditions can
be the occasion for creative flight. The philosopher is inspired by a freely imaginative vision
of the world as different from how it is. This depicts a kind of perfectionism, just as that
term derives from an indefinable conceptual gesture – Whim.

The lessons discovered in encounter with monstrosity bear an importance independent of
their origins in particular personality. In the dramatic depiction, there is greater honesty in
the presentation of the lessons if the connection with a perfectly pleasing heroic character is
eschewed. Louis Levy’s suicide does not contradict how he explains what keeps us in life.
More’s perfectionism of soul will not be dependent upon his catholic faith.
The divergent tales of the philosopher in a world of monstrosity fit into contrasting
cinematic constructions in these two films. Allen’s bleeding commentative elements into
the diegesis and his intertwined metaphors of vision and cinema for the soul construct a
viewed world tingling in expectation of the presence and purpose of divinity. Zinnemann’s
unpronounced, serene style and seamless interleaving of significant imagery into the
functional narrative offers nothing in the world depicted other than the people who fill it
with worry and anguish.

Stanley Cavell explains how a reading of a film will have the same intense “plain you and
me” that Emerson detects as common in friendship and the encounter with great art. For
Cavell, this means explorations that are unapologetically personal discoveries, yet without
capitulation to the common expectation of aesthetic subjectivism. If the discoveries are
sufficiently earnest, unswerving and intense, one aspires to persevere all the way through to
the end of a completed comprehension.

The bold declaration – made by Cavell and Deleuze both – that, in some difficult to explicate
but very important way, cinema is philosophy endures as a radical standpoint within the
growing panoply of philosophical treatments of the medium. This declaration stands in
contrast to: understanding cinema as capable of exemplification of topics, concepts, issues,
and even arguments that find currency in established philosophical discourse;
understanding important philosophical content as skimmed off the surface of cinema or
extracted pure by itself from the mixture; directing philosophy’s methodologies of analysis,
phenomenology, or cognitivism towards the cinema; and finding demonstration in cinema
of the favored ploy of philosophical thought experiments.

In the delicate and very difficult composition of succinct linguistic capture of the visual and
temporal aesthetic fabric of meaning and content in the art of cinema, saying what is not
said but shown lies at the heart of inspired commentary. The essential visual composition of
significance in cinema will in the same way make it possible to understand what has to be
understood as a complicating issue regarding intention. Mozart thought musically, and
filmmakers think cinematically.

The context of monstrosity facilitates comprehending living life philosophizing, as well as
comprehending cinema philosophically through to the end, not so much for its
reconciliation with the heroization of moral ideals but with the grappling with intransigent

Curating canons: philosophical implications of film archiving
Patrick Russell, Senior Curator (Non-Fiction), British Film Institute National Archive (UK)
This presentation will explore certain theoretical issues raised by differing professional
practices applied to moving image heritage. The presentation will not, itself, be a
contribution to scholarly philosophy. Rather it will consist of observations by a film archivist
of questions raised by archiving, in the hope that philosophers can shed new light on them.

I will argue that film archivists and film historians have evolved slightly dissimilar ‘maps’ of
film history. That of the historians is principally the product of academic discourse informed
by research and teaching. That of the archivists is principally the product of physical
interactions with the collections they manage and interpret (and with their users, many of
them not film historians).

In effect, then, each profession possesses a different communal canon, both with merits the
other lacks, both resting partly on unexamined assumptions.

These points will be illustrated using a case study: the presence of British Documentary
within ‘standard’ histories of International Documentary and British Cinema. These neglect
significant bodies of work physically present in archives. Some twenty-five years of factual
film production up to 1929 has received scant attention. The existence of other traditions
thriving at the same time as the British Documentary Movement in the 1930s is usually
ignored. And virtually no serious attention is given to the continuation, for some three
decades after World War Two, of film-making strongly rooted in the 1930s Movement.
Many hundreds of such works are preserved in the BFI National Archive’s collection.

I will further examine the likely impact of mass-digitisation and online availability of archive
collections. They will greatly ease access to raw materials for canon revision. However, I will
argue that they leave many cultural problems of archiving intact. There will remain much
unfinished archival business in the analogue domain. Moreover, online availability doesn’t
automatically prompt canon modification.

This cluster of issues can fruitfully be examined from two philosophical perspectives. First,
they raise large themes such as: the ontological and epistemological status of canons; rival
aesthetics of documentary; archival ethics.

More modestly, but perhaps more productively, analytical philosophy’s methodology can
selectively be applied to clarify the issues involved. Archivists and academics might use
logical tools to expose one another’s, and their own, basic assumptions then derive
unexpected logical consequences for canon-formation.

Moreover, there is an urgent necessity that the ambiguous meaning of the word
‘digitisation’ (now a buzz-word among archives’ funders as well as in modern culture
generally) be subjected to analysis. The suppressed assumption that this refers to a single
definable technical process is false. It follows that its cultural consequences will be more
complex than usually suspected.

Film analysis and film philosophy
Philipp Schmerheim, Universiteit van Amsterdam (Netherland)
There is a need for more thorough reflection on the role of film analysis for film-
philosophical inquiries. How exactly should one talk and write about films from a
philosophical perspective? How does a film scholar best involve philosophical issues? Is it
sufficient to analyse a film from a philosophical perspective just as one would analyse any
other film, or does film-philosophical analysis require the application of special methods of
In particular, film philosophers must pay more attention to the methods of analysis they
apply to films. Philosophers often are not familiar with established analytic approaches in
film studies, and a number of film philosophers simply seem to adapt the toolkit of
literature scholars. In this respect, Daniel Frampton is right in calling for more attention to
‘cinematic’ aspects in film criticism. Unfortunately, Frampton’s own ‘filmosophical’
approach does not deliver an attractive alternative route. His film analyses remain too
vague and imprecise.

For a proper philosophical analysis of film, two key components need to be addressed: first,
methods of film-philosophical analysis must take into account the medium-specific
peculiarities of the film medium – a film is, after all, not literature by other means. Second,
film analysis is not film criticism. Consequently, analysis should proceed systematically and
comprehensively, i.e. they need to take into account the whole film. A proper film-
philosophical analysis should pay attention to a film’s peculiarly complex structure and
interplay between audiovisual features, narrative as well as stylistic conventions, reception
conditions and economic necessities – all of which usually are carefully orchestrated by
filmmakers. This complex melange calls for specifically developed analytic methods, which
are already available in film studies.

In this presentation I introduce the tools of systematic film analysis as an example for the
application of analytic methods in film-philosophical research. Systematic film analysis is a
well-established quantitative-qualitative approach developed by German film scholar
Helmut Korte, which is particularly useful for visualizing interrelations between stylistic and
narrational features of a given film. The visualisations allow, for instance, tracking the use of
specific camera movements, or interrelations between sound and image track. Using Peter
Weir’s The Truman Show (1998) as an example, I examine the usefulness of such tools for
philosophical investigations into film.

Cavell and the film philosophy of entertainment
Herbert Schwaab, Ruhr-University Bochum (Germany)
This paper regards the film philosophical work of Stanley Cavell, on which this contribution
is based, mainly as a film philosophy of entertainment. In Pursuits of Happiness and
Contesting Tears, his studies of the 1930s and 1940s Hollywood romantic comedy and
melodrama, Cavell tries to establish a relation between his philosophical interest in films
and the pleasure derived from them. Trained in ordinary language philosophy, Cavell
explores ways to find words for the experience of film, encouraging readers to communicate
the pleasures found in them. It is a theory of cinematic experience which foregrounds the
proximity between the significance of film and the everydayness of popular culture. Cavell
refers to transgressive moments in melodramas and comedies such as Stella Dallas and The
Awful Truth which stimulate the imagination of their viewers and invite philosophical
thoughts on the conditions of our existence. The characters address explicitly their viewers,
as if they were leaving the screen, and comment on the conditions of film viewing and the
nature of cinematic experience.

This paper points to the transgressiveness of popular cinema as an important concept of
film philosophy that remains to be explored. As is shown in the works of Cavell, popular
films philosophize in their own terms. The paper will apply this notion on two different
objects of study. In a first step it will be shown that the focus on popular cinema and the
interest in the experience of film stand in sharp contrast to the film philosophy of Gilles
Deleuze. This contrast will be worked out in a reading of the films of Alain Resnais which
contests the readings by Gilles Deleuze in L’image temps. Using concepts by Cavell, the films
are read as philosophical explorations of the popular and of entertainment. Beginning with
Muriel, Resnais is continuously intensifying his interest in popular culture, creating highly
entertaining, imaginative and transgressive works like Providence, Mon Oncle, On Connaît la
Chanson. Resnais himself refers to his most recent film Public Fears in Private Places as
owing much to television and its forms of entertainment. These contributions of Resnais to
the study of the popular can best be understood when they are read along the lines of
Cavell’s film philosophy.

In a second step, this paper will transfer notions of Cavell’s film philosophy to the study of
popular cinema of the 1990s and the 2000s, taking as an example the comedies by Peter
and Bobby Farrelly. Reading films such as Stuck on You or King Pin within the frameworks of
Cavell’s work will help to understand the intensive pleasure they give their viewers. Mostly
disregarded as ‘gross-out comedies’, they will be read as philosophical contributions to our
understanding of films and of human nature. The transgressive effect of being extremely
entertained by the films becomes a transforming experience that allows for new
perspectives on the world.

Picnolepsis: cinematic blinking, immediacy and the absence of time
Dr Niall Scott, University of Central Lancashire (UK)
In this paper I wish to explore the influence of cinema on the removal of time and how this
provides an opportunity to reframe the human as politically static. Paul Virillio (1991) in the
Aesthetics of Disappearance introduces the notion of picnolepsis- taken from the
phenomenon of childhood absence epilepsy- a form of petit mal, and defines it as ‘the
absence of the unawareness of missing things’. I will argue that this is a central component
of the cinematic experience, an experience where time goes missing without one’s
awareness of it having disappeared. The relationship between absence and presence has
resonances with Deleuze’s characterisation of Bachelard’s mutual images, where an
indiscernible exchange between the virtual and the real and the past and present takes
place (Delueze, G. 1989).

Not only does this happen in the mechanics of the stroboscopic effect of the projection, but
also in the totality of the cinematic event. There is an opportunity here where in darkness of
the unaware moment, a narrative can be added to human experience such that one’s
experience appears seamless. Not only any narrative, but also the idea that time has gone
missing, so that one no longer experiences past and future, but only the immediate When
these narratives are authored from outside, imposed on oneself by another, I eventually aim
to show that this has a radical effect on the identity and the capacity for a political
independence of the self.

The motif of hands in Jean-Luc Godard’s Histoire(s) du cinema
Sheena Scott, University College London (UK)
Hands which cover the face, hands over someone’s mouth, someone’s ears, a hand which
reaches for another, a hand caressing someone’s back, someone’s face, a hand holding a
rifle, a gun, a knife, a hand drawing a heart on a wall, a hand cutting a woman’s eye, a hand
holding a camera… The motif of hands is recurrent in Jean-Luc Godard’s Histoire(s) du
cinéma. This paper explores in which way hands, and thus by extension the sense of touch,
take part in the making and in the experience of cinema. However, the cinema first appeals
to our eyes and our ears as it is made of images and sound. Touch is one of the senses, a
priori, which is not part of the experience of the cinema. Hands, though, are very much part
of the cinema: they have a predominant part onscreen as well as off screen.

My paper will first consider the way Histoire(s) du cinéma compares the motif of hands with
the motif of eyes. I will secondly look at how Histoire(s) du cinéma connects the motif of the
hand to emotions and contact in cinema. As Godard observes himself , ‘a film is only a
companion through thought. One must go to it and go through a machine.’ In the final part
of this paper, I will examine the way Histoire(s) also explores the involvement of hands in
cinema compared to other art forms. As Godard points out, ‘books are all around us, we can
touch them’. Hands thus stand for creativity when we think with our hands. However, hands
also signify labour. The motif of the hand is only visual, and sometimes implied in the words
or images in Histoire(s). The sound that hands can make is only heard once in all the
episodes, in 2B applause can be heard. This paper will thus focus on the image of hands, and
its oral or written reference. The motif of hands in Histoire(s) du cinéma shows how the
hand, and thus the sense of touch, affects the cinema and our experience of it.

The conquest of film: anarchism, propaganda and transvaluative film
Ariel Sheen, South Broward High School (USA)
Hollywood films consistently endorse anti-authoritarian philosophies within their plots:
despite pressure from the department a teacher defies a schools' rules and traditions to get
noticeable learning gains from her students, a person is wrongly sent to jail and the cruelty
of the guards is contrasted with the virtues of the incarcerated, a lawyer who discovers their
client has been harming a community for decades decides to share this evidence with the
public. Such narratives have a particular goal: they wish not only to resolve the conflict
within the various characters but also to exempt from criticism the entirety of the super
structure from which such conflict emerges and propagate the idea that positively reforming
tendencies are always expressing themselves within and thus not radical change is needed.

By particularizing the failures of social institutions and turning endemic social maladies into
exceptional circumstances that can be overcome if only a person with the right balance of
defiance and deference to authority is inserted into the dysfunctional dynamics, Hollywood
films propound a profound conservatism even when seeming to pose a different stance. A
film containing characters espousing a systematic critique of such failings of American
socioeconomic institutions with a concomitant affirmation of an alternative is significantly
absent in the recent history of American film. Characters that should be invested with such
analysis and alternatives due to the explicit politicization of their identity are currently
turned into benign or malignant caricatures.

The distortion of the historical projects of various political philosophies and their adherents
in mass-market films traces it's origins to anti-Communist movies. The purposes of such
films were to cryptically and overtly indoctrinate the populace against communism and thus
assist in the delegitimization of viable public discourses for addressing institutional
grievances. While film reels depicting the evilness of Communists were sent out to theaters
across the country for people to watch, the House Un-American Activities Committees
worked to purge the Communist influence. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union and the
liberalization of their economy a new domestic political enemy has emerged with a different
political philosophy. This new enemy requires that the tropes informing the previous
depiction of Communists as chain-smoking, beady eyed enemies to civilization that are
instructed by Moscow are unable to be maintained given the particular ideology of this new
antagonist and the geopolitical circumstances.

As anarchism gains ascendancy within anti globalization circles it has taken the space left by
the communists for opprobrium in cinema. Hollywood films made since the watershed 1999
anti-WTO riots in Seattle has spotlighted this new wave of American anarchist-inspired anti-
capitalist activism. Since this time, American films with characters claiming an anarchist
social philosophy or films containing quasi-anarchists illustrate their choice of political
intervention with an investment of hegemonic rather than revolutionary interest. The
tropes of these films show three potential roles and modes of action for contemporary
anarchism: either it is depicted as a synonym for terrorism and a cause for hysteria such as
in the film xXx, it is shown to be the domain of a debilitating adolescence in films such as SLC
Punk and The Anarchist Cookbook and in the films V for Vendetta and Fight Club it is an
quixotic, insurrectionary pseudo-philosophy. However, while some of the depictions and
corresponding criticisms of the various American social movements that claim anarchist
inspiration contained within these films are valid - the essentialist framing of anarchism as a
stillborn approach to social change deracinates potentially viable discourse and praxis for
institutional change and encourages reactionary attitudes in viewers uninformed to it’s rich
philosophy and history. Comparing these tropes with their relationship to both social justice
movements and anarchist/anarcho-syndicalist philosophy further illustrates these films
facile character.

An effort to counter this mode of spectacular depiction of anarchists requires not only
vigilance on the part of cultural critics in general and anarchists in specific, but a distinctly
anarchist film aesthetic. Such an aesthetic could be based upon, but not limited to, anarchist
and Situationist writing and practice. Presupposing that transvaluative film production is
possible within a capitalist society, such an aesthetic would combine destructive and
creative forces into an energy harvested by the audience and has the potential to inculcate
practices of anarchistic solidarity.While the potentials for such an aesthetic are broad, there
are specific elements that would be in a film that could be defined as encouraging
anarchism, just as films such as The Fountainhead could be defined as supporting capitalism.

Metaphysics and the feature screenplay
Sarah Simpson, Macquarie University (Australia)
The debate concerning whether film can constitute a legitimate form of philosophy is rife. However,
the feature screenplay’s specific, integral role in the creation of philosophical effects in film is
frequently overlooked. This paper argues that the feature screenplay can and has functioned as
genuine philosophy, in the sense which Stephen Mulhall credits to film. As such, the screenplay can
systematically, thoroughly reflect upon and assess a variety of concepts, issues and arguments in a
process analogous to those adopted by philosophers. Prolific screenwriter Jean-Claude Carrière
asserts that the screenplay is founded upon a requisite metamorphosis into its final form- the
completed film. The screenplay is not designed for direct audience consumption, but rather succeeds
via its disappearance once the film is created. Therefore, the screenplay is a uniquely metaphysical,
intangible text. The screenplay occupies a conceptual and imaginative realm, interstitial space
between story and film, rendering it an apt conduit for philosophical conceptualisation and analysis.

Jerry Goodenough conceives of three central models for the potential, direct relationships between
film and philosophy: 1) Film as illustration of pre-existing philosophical concepts and arguments, 2)
Film ‘about’ philosophy (for example, films concerning actual philosophers, like Derek Jarman’s 1993
film Wittgenstein), 3) Film as philosophy i.e. film ‘doing’ hence being philosophy. This paper
discusses and demonstrates how the feature screenplay can similarly accord with the first and third
models. The paper conducts case studies of feature screenplays to compare and contrast the
methods screenwriters have employed to illustrate or reaffirm pre-existing philosophical thought
with those adopted by screenwriters conducting original philosophy. What unique capacities and
mechanisms (for instance specialised tools for creating structure, narrative, character, dialogue,
setting and tone) does the screenplay medium possess to engage in both philosophical illustration
and sophisticated investigation/argumentation?

Specifically, this paper focuses upon the screenplay’s connections with metaphysics. Illustrations of
pre-existing metaphysical issues are often utilised in feature screenplays. Examples include
existentialist metaphysics’ pervasion of film noir screenwriting and the ‘cyberpunk’ science fiction
screenplay’s common employment of Plato’s Cave allegory to explore fallibilities of human
perception and the notion of mind-independent reality. However, this paper explores not only how
such metaphysical thought has influenced and driven feature screenplays, but additionally how the
screenplay has informed metaphysics by making original contributions to key metaphysical issues and
debates. Furthermore, the paper considers how postmodernism’s contributions/challenges to
traditional metaphysical concerns (for example, the notion of identity as social construct, and Jean
Baudrillard’s conception of the ‘hyperreal’) have been incorporated into the screenplay, the latter
hence exhibiting awareness of contemporary metaphysical issues.

Stanley Cavell notes that legitimate philosophy requires self-questioning/reflection distinct to its
discipline, which constitutes a philosophical practice itself. This paper examines how likewise the
screenplay can self-reflexively consider the conditions and context of its creation, even subvert its
intangible, metaphysical nature, whilst forging its philosophical views/arguments, thereby completing
a thorough philosophical process. For instance, Charlie Kaufman’s 2002 screenplay Adaptation.
explores several metaphysical issues, including the nature of personal identity and objectivity.
However, the screenplay also incorporates a self-conscious analysis of its own creative process, which
is interwoven and inextricably linked with its metaphysical investigations. Thus Kaufman also
evidences philosophical self-reflection on the screenplay form and its capacities for conducting

Filmic Paratexts: emotional objects and affective responses in the world of
the film
Dr Greg Singh, Buckinghamshire New University/University of Reading (UK)
 What constitutes the world of the film? This is a very basic question that often goes
unasked beyond elementary film studies, as popular film scholarship often relegates it to
subsidiary conditions of diegesis, screened-text object, and/or mise-en-scene. Whereas
analytical methods involving these elements can prove productive in terms of close textual
readings, forming interpretive strategies to map out meaning, they very often elide the
manner in which audiences engage film on a day-to-day basis. Conversely, empirical
approaches, and those approaches that utilise historical reception and economic models,
such as those found in the Wisconsin School, address the practical implications of producing
and consuming filmic worlds.

Again useful in terms of grounding filmic objects in their industrial settings, these kinds of
approaches, out of practical necessity, tend to leave out the epistemological spaces within
(and sometimes for) which, we get to know the world of the film. Furthermore, from a
critical practice perspective, the question is sometimes limited to patterns of narrative that
exist in storytelling traditions that pre-exist film as a medium: the use of Propp, Vogler and
Jung to engage production students in structural models of scriptwriting testify to this.
However, rarely addressed in these applications of film analysis, an array of commodities
situated just beyond the feature film itself, informing the story world, pre-interpreting it,
selling it, informing it, somehow form an inseparable part of it.

Referring to Gerard Genette's model of literary paratexts, I intend to discuss these
peripheral elements of film (trailers, video covers, poster design, DVD commentaries and
extras and sequelisation) as hypo- and hyper-textual extensions of storytelling through the
medium of film. This extension of narrative is not necessarily an expansion of meaning, nor
a means of negotiating interpretative gestures on the part of the spectator, but constitutes
a metaliteral strategy that engages foreclosure AND plenitude of narrative at the same time.
This is, fundamentally, the way that contemporary popular US film in particular is
negotiated in mainstream film cultures, and is employed as a marketable commodity in its
own right. These filmic paratexts are pleasurably consumable themselves, but
also elaborate the world of the film as a whole, commodifying those associated processes
and practices in a proliferation of the film world that moves beyond diegesis to incorporate
pre- and pro-filmic entities in ironic, comic, kitsch, and sometimes deeply affective ways.

This paper will seek to engage this filmic paratextuality by evaluating the differences
between emotional object (e.g. desire) and affective response (e.g. pleasure), using recent
examples of popular US cinema, and will draw from contemporary film phenomenology to
examine the 'experience' of film in relation to this difference. It strikes me that, in this
sense, the filmic paratext is remarkably similar to Derrida’s take on the Kantian notion of the
parergon – supplementary or incidental objects that frame the original filmic object, being
both part of and other to it. The supplement in this deconstructive framework destroys the
unified, differentiated object (the hypotext), but I argue that, following Metz’s classical
concept of the trucage, this is a distraction from the actual constitution of the world of the
film: it always-already extended beyond named boundaries, reflecting the dialectic
suspension of foreclosure and plenitude present in the object itself, and the ways we
encounter it.

Skepticism on film: a Cavellian reading of Alien and Blade runner
Mario Slugan, Duke University (USA)
In this graduate paper, I present an application of Cavell’s ideas, such as human reaction to
horror and (in)human reaction to one’s doubts about the humanity of the other, to film, in
particular to Blade Runner (with a brief look at Alien). I present a novel reading of the film,
differing substantially from Mulhall’s readings as described in On film, drawing also from
Moi’s understanding of theatralicization as presented in her book Henrik Ibsen and the Birth
of Modernism. First, I introduce the problem of the other minds as told by Cavell in Claim of
Reason and show how ordinary language philosophy can be applied to them in spite of them
being set in not so ordinary world situations. I look at Ash’s character from Alien, as one
whose humanity is questioned on the ethical grounds only to be found that he is literally not
human, providing an overture to the reading of Blade Runner. In it, I explore key Cavellian
concepts of acknowledgement and intervention i.e. how the problem of the other minds has
mistakenly been taken for an epistemological issue instead of what it really is; a question of
ethics. My main topics include; the relationship between Rachel and Deckard through which
she learns how to give voice to her own passions (how to utter passionate utterances) and
he how to give voice to her and single her out as a particular other; Batty’s quest for more
life which isn’t motivated by becoming human but with acquiring more time to accept one’s
mortality and finitude; explanation of Batty saving Deckard’s life as an act of putting a stop
to thetricalization of oneself and the other and as an act of intervention; and finally, the
implications of the director’s cut which suggests Deckard is a replicant – in that case it is
only the replicants who intervene, not a single human does it, and Tyrell’s motto: “more
human than human” becomes literally true.

Deleuzean sense and Leconte’s Le Mari de la coiffeuse
Dr Chris L. Smith, University of Sydney (Australia)
In the preface to Logique du sens (1969) [The Logic of Sense] Gilles Deleuze suggests that,
“*w+e present here a series of paradoxes which form the theory of sense. It is easy to explain
why this theory is inseparable from paradoxes: sense is a nonexistent entity, and, in fact,
maintains very special relations with nonsense”.

The paper explores Deleuze’s complex notion of sense as articulated in Logique du sens and
the one of his earliest writings, a 1954 review of Jean Hyppolite's Logic and Existence, in
respect to the film Le Mari de la coiffeuse (1990) [The Hairdresser's Husband] written by
Patrice Leconte and Claude Klotz, and directed by Leconte. The film provides glimpses into
the life of Antoine (Jean Rochefort) and his fascination for hairdressers. It is a fascination
that leads Antoine to the barbershop of Mathilde (Anna Galiena). The narrative and visual
presence of the film is far from rich. We are only given ‘glimpses’ of Antoine’s life and rarely
does the eye of the camera leave Mathilde’s barbershop. This narrative and cinematic
simplicity paradoxically produces the most intense of affects.

This paradoxical intensity is the subject matter (and point of contention) of many written
critiques of Le Mari de la coiffeuse. Though there is much focus in film studies on Deleuze’s
Cinéma 1 (1983) and Cinéma 2 (1985) texts, it is the contention of the present paper that
tracing the concept of sense in Deleuze’s earlier works helps to articulate the complex and
paradoxical intensities of films like those of Leconte. The present paper considers the
critiques of Leconte’s film and the paradox itself in respect to Deleuze’s logic of sense.

The expanded animated portrait: process and participation in the lightning
Vicky Smith, UWE (UK)
With its three essential components, ‘ a single screen video projection, with soundtrack and
a series of drawings’ (Goodwin, 2000) it is productive to consider Dryden Goodwin’s film
Reveal (2000) as a contemporary development of the lightning sketch tradition. In the early
1900s the lightning sketch, a performance in which the artist drew an image and remarked
upon its development, migrated from stage to cinema. Film made possible the incremental
recording of these live to audience events resulting in what has come to be understood as
early animation. Donald Crafton elaborates ‘ by depicting themselves at work on the screen
engaged in their business of making magic moving drawings, the artist showed themselves
imparting the anima – the breath of life’ (Crafton, 1982). The lightning sketchers are part of
a tradition of artists, such as Velasquez, commenting on their profession by portraying
themselves employed in their trade.

Foucault uses Velasquez’ ‘Las Meninas’ to describe the role of audience in the discourse of
looking. This paper develops Foucault’s theories around representation and the subject. It
proposes that, through reflexive practice and by representing the process of representation
itself, discursive operations are activated and that meaning is not fixed or final. In Reveal’
we see the artist’s hesitating hand holding the pencil, tracing its preliminary gestures across
the blank page. The artist represents not the hand alone as source of magic but relations
between hand and mind. The hand as presence offers the viewer more than one position of
looking. Through participation in the artists’ decision making the audience is involved
actively in consideration of its own role in making meaning.

Animated film, with its evident craftsmanship, carries the potential to inspire in audiences
the ‘deepest pleasure because we are confronted with a control…an objectification of our
own desire for omnipotence ’ (O’ Pray, 1995). The power to control the image is fully
realised by the lightning sketch because here the morphing ‘trick’ of animation is shared
with us as the image materialises before our eyes. V. Sobchack (2000) identifies the
liberating possibilities of morphing which, like the transformations in Reveal dramatise the
process of becoming. I argue that, as embodiment itself is unstable, a portrait executed by
lightning sketch is analogous to the flux of self. Reveal’s candid transaction between sitter,
artist and beholder implicates the audience in its reflexive strategies allowing
transformation to occur in the unending dialogue and flux of representational activity. By
moving the focus of the sketch away from the hand and towards the mental plane, we are
invited to understand that drawing is no mystery of materials conjured into recognisable
forms, but a discipline which can be learnt. The expanded animated portrait allows drawing
itself to be the subject. Form, thought and reflection are dramatised and shown as practice,
a reinvigoration of artists’ representing themselves in their artwork in order to raise the
status of their profession from craft to philosophy.

Contemplating an absence to produce a presence: the case of Jaime, by
António Reis
Dr Ana Isabel Soares, Universidade do Algarve (Portugal)
Portuguese filmmaker António Reis produced no more than four films, but left an oeuvre
charged with poetic intensity. His first feature, Jaime (1974), is about the graphic work of a
patient who lived half of his life at a mental institution in Lisbon. The film stresses the
parallel between inside and outside, incarceration and freedom, sanity and insanity, while it
inspects the contemplative drive of humans as they are confronted with their own limits.
In this paper I intend to look into stylistic, as well as narrative features of the film, to try to
understand how it produces the presence of its subject: Jaime Fernandes, a Portuguese
rural worker turned mental patient, who died in 1969 in the asylum where he drew and
painted using mostly ballpoint pens. The director achieves a human presence via the filming
of the space of the asylum – charged with the absent figure of Jaime – as well as by showing
the countryside where Jaime lived with his wife and children before agonizing as a paranoid
schizophrenic at the Lisbon institution.

In one of the traditional theoretical lines of documentary studies, a fundamental
presupposition is that the documentarist should in no way interfere with his/her personal
view on the subject portrayed; this is hardly the attitude of António Reis in Jaime and in his
other films. It is my belief that a crossing between documentary film and poetry may work
for the documental quality of the film, rather than against it.

Superegos and eggs: repetition in Funny Games (1997, 2007)
Dr David Sorfa, Liverpool John Moores University (UK)
Journalistic accounts of Michael Haneke’s intentions in his two Funny Games films seem
very close to Slavoj Žižek’s description of the Lacanian superego as “the cruel and insatiable
agency that bombards me with impossible demands and then mocks my botched attempts
to meet them” (2006, p. 80). The hapless bourgeois families in the films are in just such a
position in relation to their tormenters – desperate to give them what they want (eggs?) in
order to satisfy their demands but never quite able to appease them. And of course, as has
become a cliché of writing about the films, it is the audience that is also similarly tortured in
both versions. Neither the families nor the cinema audiences can quite live up to the
expectations of the boys in white or Haneke himself (are we staying in the cinema or are we
leaving? Which is the correct response?).

In this paper, I wish to examine the ways in which Žižek’s understanding of the superego
might inform our understanding of the Funny Games films and of Haneke’s work more
generally. I am particularly interested in Žižek’s enigmatic claim that “superego pressure
demonstrates that we effectively are guilty of betraying our desire” (p. 81). What is the
desire that is being betrayed?

I would also like to address the problem of repetition in the shot-for-shot remake. I am not
particularly interested in what has remained the same or what has changed in the two
versions, but rather would like to tease out the structure of repetition that informs the films
in the first place. Every element in Funny Games is something that has happened before and
will happen again – there is an absolute and ritualised inevitability in the dialogue, the mise-
en-scène and the plot itself, both within and between the two films. What is happening in
1997 has happened many times before and is happening again ten years later and will
presumably continue to do so. In this sense, the films are enthralled by a certain gothic
romance of evil triumphant. However, this evil is specifically fictional. It is the illusionary
status of the antagonists that gives them their omnipotence – they are able to function on a
different diegetic level to their victims and therefore are not bound by the same rules.

I wish to conclude with an exploration of the ways in which Žižek discusses repetition in
Enjoy Your Symptom! (1992) particularly the chapter “Why is Reality always Multiple?”
where he explicity discusses the “ideal remake” and Gus van Sant’s shot-for-shot remake of

My overall question will be: what do the Funny Games films themselves finally teach us
about repetition and meaning?

Lacuna incorporated: cinematic imagination and Eternal Sunshine of the
Spotless Mind
Dr Jane Stadler, University of Queensland (Australia)
Using Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (Gondry, 2004) as a case study, this paper
investigates the cognitive and affective processes of film spectatorship in light of
philosophical accounts of imagination. Philosophers from Plato through Descartes theorised
imagination in terms of imagery and ‘seeing with the mind’s eye’. In Greek thought one
component of imagination, mimesis, is associated with imitation, mimicry, and forgery. The
other, phantasia, is ‘a state of being appeared to’, which amounts to being deceived or
perceiving illusions. This link between images and deception carries through attitudes to
visual media expressed by theorists such as Baudry, Baudrillard and Currie in their
discussions of simulation, spectatorship, and the deceptive power of images. In relation to
the cinematic imagination, I argue imagination is creative and productive, with levels of
complexity that often include, but certainly exceed image formation alone as different
modes of imagination work in conjunction with cognition, affect, and perception to advance

Kant’s account of the faculty of imagination in The Critique of Pure Reason and The Critique
of Judgment encompasses and distinguishes between the productive imagination, the
reproductive imagination, and the transcendental imagination. Kant believed that the
mediating function of imagination, which includes imaging and representation, is so crucial
to understanding that it underpins the very possibility of conceptual thinking, rendering
sensory phenomena intelligible. The imagination, according to Kant, also fulfils a
synthesising, schematising role.

Recognition of the active, productive aspects of imagination as well as its more receptive,
reproductive elements avoids collapsing the distinctions between imagination and false
belief that the term ‘imagery’ has traditionally been associated with. This, in turn, reframes
understandings of film spectatorship. In particular, imagination is important in furthering
understanding by means of inductive reasoning and the exploration of possibilities,
constructing a story from a film’s plot points, forging new understandings metaphorically,
symbolically, or allegorically and drawing associations between terms to create a whole
greater than the sum of its parts.

In addition, I analyse the ways in which Eternal Sunshine evokes experiential, affective forms
of imagination that entail ‘feeling with’ screen characters, and synaesthetic imagination
which involves translating sound and image into touch, affect, and empathy to generate
understanding on different levels. In sum, this paper questions how these aspects of the
cinematic imagination bridge the lacunae existing between different spheres of experience,
mediating between the story world of the film and the world of its audience, between
sensation and understanding, and between subjectivity and external reality.
There is more than meets the eye: film acting and spectatorship
Dr Joerg Sternagel, Potsdam Universität (Germany)
Watching films, the spectator consciously and subconsciously knows of specific effects the
motion picture as a whole and moving images in particular provide for him due to the
specific stylistic organization of each film. Identifying this overall knowledge and experience,
another particular knowledge and experience can be assumed: We, as spectators, are
moved, and more often than not, we know why we are moved – the film actor or the film
actress teaches us to be moved. We watch and become involved under impression of our
bodily knowledge and become part of an energetic experience.
The paper maintains stylistic elements in film and aesthetic effects of film to be
acknowledged in a system of bodily knowledge and energetic experience. Within this
system, actor and spectator meet in a close interrelation: The performance of an actor as
staged and set in scene for the screen correlates with the event of watching the
performance as experienced by the spectator in front of the screen. The spectator faces the
image of a dynamic film creation reaching him through the representation of the moving
body of the actor.

Shifting towards the analysis of the actor, his voice, body, rhythm, movement, and gesture,
the significance of them, represents the basis for the realization of the process of watching
and understanding film and its acting cast as one of resonance and affect. Watching the
actor himself and his performance attain affects on and resonances of us, the spectators, as
they are outwardly expressed. The film actor significantly guides us through the film and
simultaneously enables us to think through his body as well as through our own bodies.
While making sense with the film actor, we additionally make meaning out of bodily sense
and affectively reconsider our own bodily being. We recognize the circulation of bodily
affect between the actors and us.

Assuming performance modes as eliciting sensory responses from the spectators leads to
the acknowledgement of sense as the organisational control of film. The analysis of making
sense with the film actor therefore introduces an approach that does not acknowledge
narrative as the organisational control of film. It maintains communication and
comprehension in the film experience to originate in the mutual exchange of the personal
intentions of the viewer and the movements of others, including the actors on the screen.
The project of defining a system of bodily knowledge and energetic experience between
actor and spectator closely operates with the (ac)knowledge(ment) of perception on both
sides of the screen. Analyzing the experience of acting: Maurice Merleau-Ponty, film, and
the actor, the paper predominantly draws on two lectures of the philosopher, »Le cinéma et
la nouvelle psychologie: que veut dire le film? - The Film and the New Psychology« (1945)
and »L'expérience d'autrui - The Experience of Others« (1951-1952). As Merleau-Ponty
elaborates in the former lecture, »[films] directly present to us that special way of being in
the world, of dealing with things and other people«: films are perceived in an experience
that is permanently accompanied by the perception of the own lived-body. The experience
is also accompanied by the the perception of the other lived-body: As Merleau-Ponty
stresses in the latter lecture, movement, rhythm, and gestures of the actor are experienced
as a possibility for the own lived-body. While he claimed that possibility to be relevant
regarding the stage actor, the paper links both his approaches to film and theater and points
out this possibility to be also relevant regarding the film actor.

Adorno, modernism and film music
Richard Stopford, Durham University (UK)
In this paper I will focus on Theodor Adorno's engagement with music in film. During his
exile in America he developed his theory of the 'culture industry'. When culture becomes
an expression of the machinations of a capitalist economics, consumer taste is actually
constructed by the culture industry. Of Adorno's writings concerning the culture industry,
his study of film music with Hanns Eisler is possibly least well known. The work expresses
Adorno's anti-populism; the two writers bring into question the artistic and political
integrity of film music both in terms of its own merits and relative to the artistic aims of film
itself. They argue that the economic and political structure of the film industry coupled with
the function of films within the culture industry present severe problems to the creation of
artistically valid film scores.

The purpose of the paper will be twofold. Firstly I wish to underline the deeply complex
aesthetics which underpins Adorno's claims and motivate his critique of film music in terms
of the question of the autonomy of art. As music and film are independently valid art-forms
their conjunction within movies may entail a necessary compromise of their individual
autonomy. I will revisit Adorno's claims concerning the requirements of autonomy in film
music from within contemporary mainstream cinema. In particular, I will focus on examples
of archetypal scores by composers such as Ennio Morricone, John Williams, Nino Rota, Hans
Zimmer, Michael Nyman, and the cases of 2001: A Space Odyssey and Quentin Tarantino's
Pulp Fiction.

In the context of these celebrated scores, I will assess Adorno and Eisler's own position that
film music must be modernist. I will argue that there is a tension in their position which
leads to two possible outcomes; I will broach both possibilities. On the one hand, influenced
by Eisler's Brechtian position, they argued not only that audiences could accept modernist
music in films but also that it was necessary to maintain the artistic integrity of both the
music and the movie. I will assess this position with reference to the use of avant-garde
music in films such as Kubrick's The Shining which I will contrast with Johnny Greenwood's
score for There Will Be Blood.

I will suggest that the Modernist music in film carries with it its own problems for the artistic
autonomy of both music and film. However, I will suggest that there is a further possibility
which may be more a result of Adorno's aesthetics than Eisler's: the requirement for
autonomy, as a prerequisite for artistic integrity, precludes the use of music in film except in
diegetic or critical cases. I will discuss this possibility in relation to the work of Michael
Haneke's The Piano Teacher, Funny Games and Time of the Wolf and also through the
concept of Dogma films.

Mutual images: Kantian reflections in Deleuze’s transcendental cine-
Dr Melinda Szaloky, University of California, Santa Barbara (USA)
This paper will trace significant conceptual connections between Immanuel Kant’s
transcendental method, crystallizing in Kant’s rationale of aesthetic reflection, and Gilles
Deleuze’s cinematic philosophy, culminating in the notion of the time-image, as developed
in the Cinema books.

I will begin by demonstrating the affinity between the positions that these philosophers
occupy, and the problems that they face, within what Deleuze has called the stratigraphic
time of philosophy. Kant’s effort to resolve the impasse between materialism and idealism
and to reinvigorate metaphysics by opening up a speculative transcendental reflexive
sphere is measurable to Deleuze’s intervention, which, I will argue, follows the Kantian
transcendental move (renamed as transcendental empiricism) in order to find a way out of
the entrapment of a self-referential thought within its own creation, and to rekindle belief in
something possible, to wit, the possibility of salvaging, if not ontology, at least distinction.

I will argue that Deleuze’s claim that the cinematic shot -- a bi-referential, semi-subjective
camera consciousness -- “immediately gives us a movement-image” as well as an immanent
time-image is fully comparable to Kant’s conception of transcendental subjectivity as the
imaginary focus of a unifying consciousness operating beyond, as well as within, sensible
experience. This analogy will prompt me to consider Deleuze’s cine-philosophy as an
exercise in transcendental logic, based on the structure of disavowal, which suspends
knowledge in order to make room for invention through the power of imagination.

 I will show how in Deleuze’s view cinema has succeeded in reproducing this transcendental
scenario, as well as following Kant’s lead to release time, the ultimate medium and
organizer of thought, from its subordination to (apparent) movement. For Deleuze, the
aberrant (i.e., center-less, non-localizable) movement of mental relation is inherent to
cinema, and thus the direct time-image has always been there as a phantom in cinema, as a
suppressed possibility waiting to be articulated. A similar story, Deleuze claims, can be
traced in philosophy, where we have to wait for Kant to carry out the great reversal, that is,
to convert aberrant movement into the most everyday kind, and to free time from its
dependence on movement. Through these comparisons, Deleuze establishes what may
seem to be an absurdly close connection between the Kantian reversal and time-image
cinema. That this is indeed what Deleuze has in mind is confirmed at the end of Cinema 2,
where he calls the modern cinema of the time-image “‘transcendental’ in the sense Kant
gives this word: time is out of joint and presents itself in the pure state.”

Finally, I will pay special attention to the “time-image,” the cinematic expression of
Deleuze’s new concept of thought, comparable to the Kantian “I think,” which, on a par with
Kant, Deleuze will conceive in aesthetic reflective terms. I will argue that Deleuze’s
ostensibly Bergsonian notion of an intermediary, bi-referential cinematic movement-image,
complete with an aberrant interstitial moment waiting to be set free as time’s infinite
opening, constitutes an inspired re-elaboration of the baffling balance of Kant’s
transcendental inquiry, played out in the Critique of Judgment between the beautiful and
the sublime.

Peirce's semiotic self and its relevance to documentary film
Dr Hing Tsang, University of Lincoln (UK)
This paper is an attempt to reconsider the relevance of C.S. Peirce's semeiotic to film studies
with a particular emphasis on documentary. We argue that the usual notion of indexicality
has to be reconsidered not so much as a forerunner for photographic realism but as a
unique vehicle for linking subjective inner worlds with the wider external objective world. It
is Peirce's notion of the index which is the most unique but often misunderstood part of his
notion of the sign. A basic understanding of this would enable us to understand that, in
contrast to a Saussurean account of the sign, Peirce's semeiotic is above all an account of
intentionality and therefore is a theory of the self.

C.S. Peirce is a figure that has often been quoted within the realm of Film Studies in the
context of what has come to be known as 'indexicality'. 'Photographs, especially
instantaneous photographs, are very instructive, because we know that they are in certin
respects exactly like the objects that they represent' This has been quoted ad infinitum in
many well-known film theory texts with little acknowledgement of the context in which
Peirce made these observations.

We are attempting to return to the ideas of the original essay What is a Sign? in order to
understand a few very basic ideas contained within Peirce's sign theory. By doing so we
argue that it is entirely different from more linguistic accounts of the sign. It is both time
based and embodied. Because it is not purely rational or symbolic in either a Cartesian or
Saussurean sense, it has much to offer to both practitioners and theoreticians alike. Above
all it is a communicative model which is participatory and dialogic in nature.

We emphasise both the importance of the neuralgic body, which is the way in which Peirce
contextualises his attempt to introduce his notion of the sign, as well as considering the role
of gesture and icons in the essay. By doing this we are questioning the many attempts to
equate film with Saussurean 'langue'.

Cinema’s infancy: event and intimacy
Dr Pasi Valiaho, University of Turku (Finland)
What is it in the medium of film that promises to bridge the gap between the world and our
perception? Several philosophers have taken up the issue of how the cinema automatically
restores the world in its immanence. Stanley Cavell, for one, argues in The World Viewed
that “*f+ilm takes our very distance and powerlessness over the world as the condition of
the world’s natural appearance. It promises the exhibition of the world in itself.” For Cavell,
film implements the metaphysical condition of the modern sceptical subject, while at the
same time it encourages us – especially in casting the human being and the rest of nature
on the same plane – to overcome this condition and to reconsider the world as such. From a
different angle, Gilles Deleuze has approached a similar problematic in observing how the
task of modern cinema is to film, not the world (due to the break of a natural connection
between perception and the world), but our belief in this world. The task of cinema
becomes that of restoring the link between ourselves and events taking place independently
of us by reaching, as Deleuze puts it, “the body before discourses, before words, before
things are named.”

Based on both Cavell and Deleuze, one can then distinguish the moment of candour and
immanence in the cinema: the moving image lets us view the world in the absence of the
subject but in the presence of the world’s eventing itself, it reaches the world before or in
the absence of language and the act of naming but in the presence of a body that
“prehends” the event. In this paper, “cinema’s infancy” refers to this fundamental moment
and in particular to the medium’s incapacity to speak as its basic condition. In its
“speechless” origins, cinematic perception approximates to what Giorgio Agamben
describes in The Idea of Prose as the infant’s “condition of being able to pay attention
precisely to what has not been written, to somatic possibilities that are arbitrary and

On this basis, the paper addresses the ontology of film and focuses on the problem of the
event, immanence and the moving image. This ontological questioning, on the other hand,
is supplemented with a treatment of the aesthetics of film in terms of movement, intimacy
and touch. The paper proposes that in the cinema, our relation with the world is based on
an intimate bond with the event that incorporates a metaphysical union of the human being
and nature.

Memento and self-deception
Dr David Wall, UWE (UK)
Leonard Shelby, the protagonist in Memento (2000, Nolan, USA) lies to himself. However,
contrary to the opinion of most commentators, he is not self-deceived. Leonard suffers from
short-term amnesia which creates a form of psychological and temporal partitioning
between the individual who initiates the deception and the individual who is deceived.
Consequently Leonard has none of the tensions and tendencies that characterize self-
deception, and we should deny that he is self-deceived. This has important implications for
how we understand self-deception. According to a traditional view, ‘Intentionalism’, self-
deception should be modelled on interpersonal deception, in that the deception must result
from the agent having an intention to bring herself to have a false belief. But to avoid
paradox, intentionalism must appeal to just the kind of partitioning we see in Leonard
Shelby. If, as I argue, this partitioning is incompatible with self-deception then we should
reject intentionalism as it cannot provide a non-paradoxical account of self-deception.

Film affect and the time of the cut
Dr Maria Walsh, Chelsea College of Art (UK)
Film affect, i.e. the capacity of a film image to move the spectator beside him or herself,
received much attention in Sergei Eisenstein’s film theories. It was also mentioned by early
film analysts such as Béla Belázs and Jean Epstein.

The emphasis in Eisenstein was on the cognitive aspects of affect and in his theories he
proposed using specific film form to generate particular affects that would in turn enable
the spectator to make predetermined (by Eistenstein) connections between ideas and so
engender a revolutionary consciousness. Largely Eisenstein’s affective strategies were
mapped unto the cut or montage. By means of montage, associations between particular
images would be created and ultimately transformed into intellectual ideas that would
result in the proletariat’s becoming conscious of their oppression. The paradox in
Eisenstein’s theories is that, on the one hand, affect was seen as an important tool towards
cognition, while, on the other hand, this idealism was somewhat circumscribed by the
unconsciously mimetic qualities of film affect. (For example, Eisenstein laughs at the sight of
the audience swaying hypnotically to the motion of haymaking in The General Line).

For theorists such as Belázs and Epstein, affect was more abstract, less a route towards
cognition and more an entity or experience in itself bound up with the temporal rhythms
and light effects of film. Although, Eisenstein’s theories receive a somewhat renewed
emphasis in contemporary cognitive film theory, Eisenstein’s linking of affect and montage
to generate predetermined cognitive meaning has transmogrified into the tenets of
advertising, whereby fast and dramatic cutting between images is used to create mental
associations that transform into a desire for products – consumer consciousness rather than
revolutionary consciousness.

Interestingly, Gilles Deleuze in his cinema books reunites Eisenstein’s literary approach to
affect and the more phenomenological one of Belázs and Epstein to invent an approach to
film affect whereby the sensation of being moving beside oneself becomes one of being
moved in and by time. In Deleuze’s concept of the affection-image, narrative goals are
suspended and the spectator’s desire is dispersed in an ambiguous, multi-directional,
manner. (Needless to say, this is the antithesis of consumer desire). The spectator “I” finds
itself stranded on the qualitative movements of time. Strangely enough, Deleuze’s affection-
image can also be mapped onto the cut, but rather than this being purely a cut between one
image and another, this cut happens within the frame of the image, i.e. internal montage, a
phenomenon that was also mentioned by Eisenstein. In internal montage, the image
bifurcates so that its virtual potential resonates in the spectator.

The links the spectator registers, but cannot interpret as this is not a theory of cognition, are
between the appearance and disappearance of sensation as it impinges on the body. In this
paper, I propose to examine these filmic affects in relation to avant-garde filmmaker
Chantal Akerman’s News From Home, 1976, and artist filmmaker Tacita Dean’s
Disappearance at Sea, 2000. I shall propose that these films engage in a different mode of
cutting that bypasses the ultimate cut of cognition (Eisenstein) which removes the spectator
from the image and instead releases a continuous inter-cutting whereby the spectator is
affected by the sensation of time itself as it directly touches the body. My argument will
transverse early film theory with Deleuze.

On the possibility of cinematic philosophy
Thomas E. Wartenberg, Mount Holyoke College (USA)
One source of the amazing outpouring of philosophical interest in film, and popular culture
more generally, is the perception that films are a useful tool for the philosopher to employ.
Nonetheless, there has been serious debate about what films are actually good for,
philosophically speaking. Some hold that films are, at most, of heuristic value to the
philosopher, while others assert that films do philosophy in just the same way that written
texts do and, hence, make an actual contribution to the discipline.

In my presentation, I will assess this debate. I begin by presenting a typology of the four
positions that have developed in regard to the issue of films-as-philosophy. I will then show
why I support the qualifiedly pro-position on cinematic philosophy, using Eternal Sunshine of
the Spotless Mind to support my argument.
Here is a brief overview of the typology: First, there is the unqualifiedly pro-position in
regard to cinematic philosophy. Stanley Cavell and Stephen Mulhall advocate this position.
While the readings of individual films that both Mulhall and Cavell have produced, the
weakness of this position is that it does not address the precise way in which films actually
do philosophy.

The unqualifiedly anti-position on cinematic philosophy holds that films, although perhaps
extremely suggestive for doing philosophy, are not by themselves capable of doing
philosophy in any way. Murray Smith and Paisley Livingston have recently embraced this
viewpoint. From this point of view, although films can be of heuristic and pedagogical use
for philosophers, they cannot make a contribution to philosophy on their own. My problem
with this position is that its proponents have not confronted the claims made by
philosophers to have found philosophy being done in films in more than a cursory manner.
The qualifiedly anti-cinematic philosophy takes account of the claim that films can do
philosophy, but limits the philosophical potential of film. Bruce Russell has developed this
view in a series of articles.

My disagreement with this position is only on the extent of the philosophical contributions
that films can make. I argue that the limits placed on film’s contributions to philosophy by
this position are arbitrary, although no one, I think, would contend that films can do
everything that philosophers have through written texts.
The qualifiedly pro-cinematic philosophy position that I endorse admits, then, that there are
some aspects of philosophy that cannot be replaced cinematically, but asserts that,
nonetheless, there are central philosophical techniques that cinema can replicate, most
centrally that of the thought experiment. To support this view, I will present an
interpretation of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind according to which the film presents
a thought experiment that shows that memory plays a crucial role in what I call the
“education of desire.”

On film, Dick, and philosophy
Dr Dennis M. Weiss, York College of Pennsylvania (USA)
To a professor of philosophy with an abiding appreciation of film and whose teaching and
scholarship has relied, sometimes heavily, on film, Stephen Mulhall’s On Film presents a
challenge to think more deeply both about film as philosophy and about how to read film.
His readings of the Alien Quadrilogy are illuminating and astute and model the philosophical
exploration of film. Yet tucked into the interstices of these readings are other readings that
are more problematic, including his treatment of Blade Runner, which ultimately complicate
Mulhall’s thesis regarding film as philosophy.

While Mulhall’s treatment of Blade Runner serves largely to highlight themes of Ridley
Scott’s films, it is not brief, running to 20 pages, the same number of pages devoted to Alien,
and it does offer fresh insight into the film. It is odd, though, that in these 20 pages no
reference is made of Philip K. Dick—despite a number of intriguing points for the film and
philosophy enthusiast. More films have been made of Dick’s novels and short stories than
any other 20th century science fiction writer. Dick’s oeuvre makes a strong case for the close
ties between philosophy and literature and probably has generated more critical attention
than any other science fiction writer. And importantly, Dick explores philosophical themes
identical to those that attracted Mulhall’s attention.

So it seems odd that Dick receives not even a passing mention. Of course On Film is on film,
not literature, but this absence of Dick is nonetheless intriguing and raises some troubling
questions for Mulhall’s treatment of philosophy and film, particularly his a-contextual and
internalist approach to film. In his reading of Blade Runner, Mulhall keeps a number of
issues at bay: the film’s relationship to Dick’s novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, the
theatrical release’s relationship to the director’s cut, and the film’s relationship to broader
developments in our technoculture. Furthermore, Mulhall’s Heideggerian treatment of film
technology as enframing suggests a problematic approach to technology that ultimately
weakens his thesis regarding film as philosophy.

To substantiate these points I draw on two sources. First, I argue that Mulhall’s thesis
regarding film as philosophy can find support outside the realm of philosophy in the area of
visual rhetoric, where the notion of visual argument is already well developed. On Film
sometimes seems overly concerned with policing the boundaries between philosophy and
film studies and related disciplines. A more interdisciplinary approach to the question of
whether film can argue and can argue philosophically would be more fruitful. Such an
interdisciplinary approach would also temper the overly naïve assessment of technology in
On Film. These claims are further developed in a reading of the Richard Linklater film A
Scanner Darkly (2006), also based on a Dick novel. Reading Blade Runner through A Scanner
Darkly helps to clarify issues about film, philosophy, and technology.

‘What ought you to be watching?’ Michael Haneke and the ethics of
Dr Catherine Wheatley, Southampton University (UK)
That the subject of ethics should arise in connection to Haneke’s cinema is hardly surprising.
Each of Haneke’s films presents an ethical problem within its narrative.: suicide, murder,
conspiracy and rape are recurring themes, for example. But more significantly, within their
treatment of these subjects, the films all demonstrate an underlying concern with questions
of guilt and responsibility. This concern takes place on a narrative level – as characters
struggle with and against their responsibility for past and present actions – but it is also
demonstrated on an extra-diegetic level. For the content of each of these films presents us
with a series of ethical problems which echo or mirror a set of ethical problems inherent to
the viewing situation.

These problems revolve around the spectator’s complicity with the cinematic apparatus,
and his tacit acceptance or denial of this complicity, and the key focus of Haneke’s films is
on the spectator’s responsibility for his own involvement in the spectator-screen
relationship. While questions of responsibility, guilt and complicity are raised within the
narratives of Haneke’s films then – and provide in themselves ample material for
consideration – they also analogise Haneke’s concerns with the acts of film-going and film-
viewing. On an implicit level, the films prompt their spectators to ask: How are we complicit
with the film? What are the moral consequences of this? Why, upon watching Haneke’s
films, do so often we feel irritated, cross, even guilty?
Existing critical traditions, however, fail to fully account for the impact of Haneke’s oeuvre,
situated as it is between intellectualised philosophy and populist entertainment. Previous
approaches to the subject of ethics and film have tended to focus on the morality of the
diegetic universe within a film, using film to illustrate philosophical concepts (Carney, 1986;
Brill, 1988) or to raise questions of ideology and film form, bringing ethics to bear primarily
in service of political concerns (Mulvey, 1973; Wollen, 1979). In order to discuss Haneke’s
films then, and to understand the peculiar impact they have upon their audiences, a new
critical framework is needed; one which straddles, but also moves beyond, existing

Drawing on the moral philosophy of Immanuel Kant and Stanley Cavell, this paper explicitly
examines the ethics of the film-viewing experience. Taking Haneke’s films as the object of
empirical inquiry, it posits the theory that by foregrounding a conflict between activity and
passivity, reason and emotion that is implicit in the great majority of spectatorship theory,
Haneke is able to offer the spectator a film-viewing position that is radically different to that
in which other models of filmmaking place him. Rationally aware of his subjective position
but nonetheless engaged with the film’s events, the spectator of Haneke’s films is forced to
negotiate his relationship to the film autonomously – the unprecedented freedom that
Haneke’s films accord him thus carries with it a considerable burden of responsibility which
refuses him any possibility of seeking refuge from the world in the darkness of the cinema.
This refusal of flight from one’s ethical position in the world is precisely, I will argue, the
endpoint that Haneke’s films have in sight.

Michel Gondry and the phenomenology of visual perception
Dr Stephen White, Tufts University (USA)
The classical film theory of Andre Bazin and the theories of such important successors as
Christian Metz and Noel Burch presuppose a transparent and direct relation between the
photographic image and the physical reality it depicts. According to these theories, the
image is a mechanical and uninterpreted trace of the external world. It is, in this respect,
more like a death mask or a footprint than a painted portrait, between whose image and
the external world the artist’s interpretations are necessarily interposed. This
presupposition also runs through such writings on still photography as those of Susan
Sontag and Roland Barthes. Moreover, because of the obvious analogy between the retinal
image and the film image, there is a strong analogy between such views and classical
empiricist and sense-datum theories of the given in visual perception.

I argue that what we are given in visual perception is far richer than empiricist and sense-
datum theories allow and that the films of Michel Gondry serve as explicit reminders of this
fact. Gondry’s films call attention to the rich phenomenology of visual experience by
reversing, and otherwise calling attention to, relations and distinctions that are normally
given directly and unproblematically in visual experience—particularly causal, temporal, and
agential relations and such functionally relevant and salient distinctions as inside/outside,
public/private, and self/other.

Gondry’s techniques involve, focus on, or foreground all of those ways in which the image
inside the frame may fail to be a mechanical and unmediated reproduction of physical
objects and events: multiple exposures, multiple reproductions of the same image, and a
variety of other optical and digital techniques, as well as the techniques of animation. In
addition to using such techniques, Gondry calls our attention to them by recreating the
images to which they give rise through radically different means. This he does—with great
ingenuity and often at considerable expense—when he recreates the two-dimensional
images typically associated with such optical and digital manipulation by photographing real
physical objects in three-dimensional space.

In emphasizing the techniques that classical film theory ignores or calls into doubt, Gondry’s
films point up an important failing in the theory and its successors: their marginalization of
such major film categories as German expressionist film, the avant-garde tradition as
exemplified by Leger, Duchamp, Man Ray, Norman McLaren, Kenneth Anger, Stan Brakage,
and Robert Breer, and animation—categories whose importance to Gondry’s films I
demonstrate in detail. Finally I argue that the techniques that Gondry uses constantly in his
short films and music videos, as well as in his feature length film The Science of Sleep, shed
an important light on his ostensibly more realistic film, The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless

On film worlds
Dr. Daniel Yacavone, University of Edinburgh (UK)
To speak of a narrative film’s ‘world’ as something more than a set of fictional characters,
settings, and events, or of a film as a world, is to stress both the transformational nature of
filmmaking and the immersive aspect of film viewing. Yet with some exceptions (including
Daniel Frampton’s recent Filmosophy) the worlds of films have seldom been discussed, or
systematically theorised, with this dual emphasis.

This paper argues that the worlds that narrative films create and present are object-
experiences with both cognitive and affective dimensions. They may, however, be viewed in
two ways, corresponding to two different but largely complimentary perspectives. Firstly,
film worlds may be viewed from an ‘external,’ objective, and ontological perspective,
focused on representation as a formal process of (re)organising and transforming visual-
acoustic realities against the background of existing films and art works (and the
conventions they have established). Secondly, they may be viewed from an ‘internal,’
subjective, and first-person or phenomenological perspective, focused on intuited
expression and the unique (aesthetic) space and time they create for, and with, film viewers.

Nelson Goodman’s theory of the creation and cognition of symbolic art worlds (Ways of
Worldmaking) helps to provide a convincing model of film worlds in the first sense, whereas
Mikel Dufrenne’s concept of the represented and expressed worlds of aesthetic objects
(The Phenomenology of Aesthetic Experience) aids in accounting for them in the second
sense. More specifically, Goodman’s five symbolic processes through which new artistic
worlds and the singular perceptual orders they establish are made, or “re-made,” from
existing ones, are provisionally applied to filmmaking (with some conceptual modification
necessitated by relevant properties of the cinematic medium).

These processes, as well as Goodman’s larger category of “exemplification,” whereby an art
work functions as a “world sample” of itself, illuminate the nature of a cinematic world as a
fixed perceptual entity empirically defined in oppositional relation to other filmic, artistic,
and ‘everyday’ worlds. Dufrenne’s phenomenological description, in contrast, addresses the
pronounced affective/expressive and temporal dimensions of film worlds as experienced
and evaluated ‘in-themselves’ (for which Goodman’s notion of ‘world-making’ provides no
comprehensive account). Following Dufrenne, film worlds as experienced are conceived as
durational aesthetic objects with a “quasi-subjective” interiority expressing a singular
“world feeling.”

These general features of the creation, objective existence, and subjective experience of
film worlds are elucidated with reference to two meta-cinematic films - Lars von Trier’s The
Five Obstructions and David Lynch’s Inland Empire - thereby grounding the proposed
theoretical account in contemporary cinematic practice. Other salient issues that are briefly
noted, as a prelude to future research, include the relation between cinematic rhythm and
the expressed or ‘lived’ time of film worlds, their self-reflexive dimension, and the status of
filmmakers as film world creators.

Case, example, and illustration
Dr Agustin Zarzosa, SUNY (USA)
This presentation explores one of the fundamental problems of film theory, namely, the
question about how, through the analysis and interpretation of specific films, film theory
creates concepts. To tackle this problem, I theorize the distinction between case, example,
and illustration. I use the term illustration to refer to films that remain external to the
concept they explicate. The relationship between concept and illustration is completely
extrinsic, as the film does not generate or include the concept in any way.

Films function as examples or cases when the concept inheres in the film. What
distinguishes an example from a case is the way in which the concept inheres in each of
them. Through examples, theorists generate, develop and refine concepts. In other words,
examples provide concepts with a temporary body. Insofar as the concept may be
exemplified by any number of films, examples are inessential. Cases differ from examples to
the extent that the concept would not be possible without the specific case that explicates
the concept. In this sense, cases constitute the definite body of the concept they create.

Besides theorizing these distinctions, I also intend to draw rhetorical and methodological
continuities among theoretical approaches that appear to be irreconcilable. The concept
under scrutiny will be the classical Hollywood film. The three models and respective
methodologies I examine are the following: first, Raymond Bellour’s analysis of a few
exemplary films that stand for the whole of American cinema; second, David Bordwell,
Kristen Thompson, and Janet Staiger’s model of an empirical and asymptotic approximation
to the concept of a mode of film practice, which they understand as a theoretical construct
that should be judged by criteria of logical rigor and instrumental value; and third, Gilles
Deleuze’s account of classical Hollywood cinema as the action-image, model that inscribes
classical Hollywood cinema in a theoretical classification of images conceived of as a natural
history. The guiding question will be, to what extent methodologies and films discussed
determine each of these models?

The paper attempts to contribute to the discussion between methodological approaches
that privilege the examination of an exemplary film (in this case, Bellour) and those that
privilege a more representative sample of the whole universe (in this case, Bordwell,
Thompson, and Staiger). I engage with Slavoj Žižek’s defense of the tradition that privileges
a single exemplary film. In The Fright of Real Tears, he argues that not all films entertain the
same relation to the universal and that the art of dialectical analysis consists in selecting the
exceptional film the guarantees access to universality.

Deleuze provides a contrasting approach to this problem. He also belongs to the
philosophical tradition that theorizes from specific exceptional cases. However, unlike
Žižek, he does not think of the relation between an individual film and the concept it
informs as dialectical. Deleuze discusses the relationship between the case and the concept
explicitly in Difference and Repetition. He contrasts the Hegelian system, according to which
the essential contains the unessential in the concept, and the Leibnizian system, according
to which the case includes the essential. I examine Deleuze’s argument and ask if his
practice of film theory and criticism follows his own Leibnizian principles and if his
understanding of the relationship between the case and the concept may help us theorize
the practice of film theory.

The cinema of Sarunas Bartas
Aija Zivitere, ISM Institute (Latvia)
This paper examines the cinema of Sarunas Bartas, a Lithuanian author and filmmaker, and
problematises not only his status as a master auteur of East European film but the very
concept of East European film. This is done within the theoretical framework of
nonmodernism proposed by Bruno Latour, where common and differing features of
practices with the moderns, the postmoderns and the premoderns are traced, and the
nonmoderns emerge.

Multiple and contradictory locations that mark the curriculum vitae of Sarunas Bartas -
Soviet Lithuania (where he was born and raised), Moscow during the collapse of the Soviet
Union (where he studied film directing), the independent Lithuania (where he established
his own film company ‘Kinema’), Lisbon and Paris (where one of his main producers Paulo
Branco’s companies ‘Madragoa Filmes’ and ‘Gemini Films’ are located), Vilnius and
Rotterdam (both places where he currently lives) and so on - are approached not only as
geo-political but also as time-zones related to language and memory.
The case of Sarunas Bartas is examined as that of in-between zone between (artistic)
possibilities opened up by wars, migrations and states such as that of the Lithuanian –
American avant-garde of Jurgis (George) Maciunas and Jonas Mekas, and by differences
between individuals and collective (national) cinema cultures as exemplified by the exile of
Andrei Tarkovsky or Bela Tarr. In doing this, the figure of artist as nomad is opposed to that
of migrant and that of exile.

A Deleuzian model of inter-relations and inter-dependency serves as a starting point to
discuss the films of Bartas and his practice of filmmaking from the technological, the sonic,
the economic, and the aesthetic aspects. Special attention is paid to the Deleuzian concepts
of duration and voyage, and to the possibilities opened up by these concepts in relation to
the cinema of Sarunas Bartas.
This paper forms a part of the ongoing research on cinema authors, which follows the case
study strategy. This strategy allows the author to kayak (here the author adapts the
kayaking metaphor of Latour instead of the metaphor of bridge building) the institutional
divide between the field of visual arts and the film industry and to analyse the artworks
made within each and the processes influencing both and particularly those going on in
between. The findings from the cases researched are put within the context of the
continuing debate on mass art/ art cinema and auteur cinema on the one hand and tertiary
cinema and gestural cinema on the other.

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