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Über dieses Buch

A unique study of four major post-war European films by four key 'auteurs', which argues that these films exemplify film modernism at the peak of its philosophical reflection and aesthetic experimentation.

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Frontmatter

Introduction

Introduction

Abstract
Summarising the importance for modern philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche’s ‘genealogical challenge’, Michel Foucault writes in 1971:
[I]f the genealogist refuses to extend his faith in metaphysics, if he listens to history, he finds that there is something ‘altogether different’ behind things: not a timeless and essential secret but the secret that they have no essence, or that their essence was fabricated in a piecemeal fashion from alien forms.
(1998, p. 371)
Hamish Ford

The Negative Impression

Frontmatter

1. Cinema’s Ontological Challenge

Abstract
In very different ways, Persona and Two or Three Things I Know About Her render and confront the ontological violence of both cinema and modernity — that of the films’ contemporary real but also, in refractory fashion, the much ‘later’ stage at which we watch them today. Chapter 1 sets out to historically, philosophically, and filmically put into context cinema’s potential foregrounding of negativity through these two select case studies. Thereafter, Chapter 2 can develop a more direct analysis of exactly how all this plays out through the formal seams of these two films, which from five decades later appear so exemplary of post-war cinema’s modernist peak.
Hamish Ford

2. Formal Violence

Abstract
This chapter begins by detailing how the negativity that was framed conceptually and philosophically in Chapter 1 makes itself felt through the formal, stylistic and aesthetic seams of Persona and Two or Three Things. Following an examination of the role of authorship and ‘auto-critique’ in this process, I address negativity’s role in the very particular and ‘autonomous’ presentations of the moving image offered in these two films and the difficult but very rewarding relationships forged between on-screen and spectatorial bodies. The chapter then brings Part I of this book to a close by asking what kinds of bodies, faces, and subjects these ontologically violent films ultimately leave us with in light of the negative impression.
Hamish Ford

An Anxious Pause

Frontmatter

3. Dangerous Temporalities

Abstract
In the epilogue of Martin Heidegger’s famous 1936 essay ‘The Origin of the Work of Art’, he addresses how the aesthetic object’s conjectural essence — the question of ‘what it is’ — will always be bound up with how it is engaged with and consumed. Heidegger highlights the effect and implications of the relationship between a particular artwork’s aesthetic form and its reception:
Aesthetics takes the work of art as an object, the object of aisthesis, of sensuous apprehension in the wide sense. Today we call this apprehension lived experience. The way in which man experiences art is supposed to give information about its Essence.
(1993, p. 204)
Hamish Ford

4. The New World

Abstract
This final chapter extends Part II’s discussion of time’s ontological impact in 1960s modernist European cinema through a more formally detailed and philosophically conclusive account of L’eclisse and Last Year in Marienbad. It begins by examining the gaze resulting from temporal stretching and ellipses, then moves to delineate the spatial and perceptual ingredients of an interior crisis at the epicentre of which lies time. This is followed by a close analysis of the films’ rendering of a space-time potentially characterised by the post-human (which is in fact anything but an escape from human-forged space) and the new, yet also the always present alien world that may lie in wait. The chapter then pulls together Part II’s philosophical account of temporality in seeking to better define the ambiguous consequences of the time-image for the subject, before concluding with a close-up on the time-image’s affect on and ultimate challenges to thought.
Hamish Ford

Conclusion

Abstract
Western discourses of history, politics, philosophy, and film studies have traditionally positioned dangerous negativity and time as outside the subject, thereby enabling the human being’s continuing affirmation and that of its anthropocentric world. This book has suggested that the film medium potentially renders and engages such forces in radical ways as seen in post-war modernist cinema examined through four exemplary feature films. I have argued the necessity of the violence committed by negativity and time charted in the preceding chapters as an imperative to doubt both ontological and post-ontological formulations.
Hamish Ford

Backmatter

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