Simone de Beauvoir's work has not often been associated with film studies, which appears paradoxical when it is recognized that she was the first feminist thinker to inaugurate the concept of the gendered 'othering' gaze. This book is an attempt to redress this balance and reopen the dialogue between Beauvoir's writings and film studies. The authors analyse a range of films, from directors including Claire Denis, Michael Haneke, Lucille Hadzihalilovic, Sam Mendes, and Sally Potter, by drawing from Beauvoir's key works such as The Second Sex (1949), The Ethics of Ambiguity (1947) and Old Age (1970).
At the heart of this volume is the assertion that Sartrean existentialism, most prominent in the 1940s, particularly in France, is still relevant as a way of interpreting the world today. Film, by reflecting philosophical concerns in the actions and choices of characters, continues and extends a tradition in which art exemplifies the understanding of existentialist philosophy. In a scholarly yet accessible style, the contributors exploit the rich interplay between Sartre’s philosophy, plays and novels, and a number of contemporary films including No Country for Old Men, Lost in Translation and The Truman Show, with film-makers including the Dardenne brothers, Michael Haneke, and Mike Leigh. This volume will be of interest to students who are coming to Sartre’s work for the first time and to those who would like to read films within an existentialist perspective.
Jean-Paul Sartre: Mind and Body, Word and Deed celebrates Sartre’s polyvalence with an examination of Sartrean philosophy, literature, and politics. In four distinct yet related sections, twelve scholars from three continents examine Sartre’s thought, writing and action over his long career. “Sartre and the Body” reappraises Sartre’s work in dialogue with other philosophers past and present, including Maine de Biran, Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Didier Anzieu. “Sartre and Time” offers a first-hand account by Michel Contat of Sartre and Beauvoir working together, and a “philosophy in practice” analysis by François Noudelmann. “Ideology and Politics” uses Sartrean notions of commitment and engagement to address modern and contemporary politics, including insights into Castro, De Gaulle, Sarkozy and Obama. Finally, an important but neglected episode of Sartre’s life—the visit that he and Beauvoir made to Japan in 1966—is narrated with verve and humour by Professor Suzuki Michihiko, who first met Sartre during that visit and remained in touch subsequently. Taken together, these twelve chapters make a strong case for the continued relevance of Sartre today.
Offering new critical approaches to Dada as quintessential part of the Avant-Garde, Dada and Existentialism: the Authenticity of Ambiguity reassesses the movement as a form of (proto-) Existentialist philosophy. Dada is often dismissed as an anti-art movement with a merely destructive theoretical impetus. French Existentialism is often condemned for its perceived quietist implications. However, closer analysis reveals a preoccupation with philosophy in the former and with art in the latter. Moreover, neither was nonsensical or meaningless; both reveal a rich individualist ethics aimed at the amelioration of the individual and society. The first major comparative study of Dada and Existentialism, this text contributes new perspectives on Dada as movement, historical legacy, and field of study. Analysing Dada works through Existentialist literature across the themes of choice, alienation, responsibility, freedom and truth, the text posits that Dada and Existentialism both advocate the creation of a self that aims for authenticity through ambiguity.
This work outlines a new methodology for film analysis based on the radical materialist thought of Baruch Spinoza, re-evaluating contemporary cognitive media theory and philosophical theories on the emotional and intellectual aspects of film experience. Sticchi’s exploration of Spinozian philosophy creates an experiential constructive model to blend the affective and intellectual aspects of cognition, and to combine it with different philosophical interpretations of film theory. Spinoza’s embodied philosophy rejected logical and ethical dualisms, and established a perfect parallelism between sensation and reason and provides the opportunity to address negative emotions and sad passions without referring exclusively to traditional notions such as catharsis or sublimation, and to put forth a practical/embodied notion of Film-Philosophy. This new analytical approach is tested on four case studies, films that challenge the viewer’s emotional engagement since they display situations of cosmic failure and depict controversial and damaged characters: A Serious Man (2009); Melancholia (2011); The Act of Killing (2012) and Only Lovers Left Alive (2013). This book is an important addition to the literature in Film Studies, particularly in Cognitive Film Theory and Philosophy of Film. Its affective and semantic analyses of film experience (studies of embodied conceptualisation), connecting Spinoza’s thought to the analysis of audiovisual media, will also be of interest to Philosophy scholars and in academic courses of film theory, film-philosophy and cognitive film studies.
Feminist Marxism and Cultural Politics in the Work of Dai Jinhua
Author: Jinhua Dai
Category: Performing Arts
Dai Jinhua is one of contemporary China's most influential theoreticians and cultural critics. A feminist Marxist, her literary, film, and TV commentary has, over the last decade, addressed an expanding audience in China, Taiwan and Hong Kong. Cinema and Desire presents Dai Jinhua's best work to date. In these pages she examines the Orientalism that made Zhang Yimou the darling of international film festivals, lays bare Euro-American fantasies about the Sixth Generation of Chinese cinema auteurs, establishes Huang Shuqin's Human, Woman, Demon as the People's Republic's first genuinely feminist film, comments on TV representations of the Chinese Diaspora in New York, speculates on the value of Mao Zedong as an icon of post-revolutionary consumerism, and analyzes the rise of shopping plazas in 1990s' urban China as a strange montage in which the political memories of Tiananmen Square and the logic of the global capitalist marketplace are intricately intertwined.
Michael Mann is one of the most important American filmmakers of the past forty years. His films exhibit the existential concerns of art cinema, articulated through a conspicuous and recognizable visual style and yet integrated within classical Hollywood narrative and genre frameworks. Since his beginnings as a screenwriter in the 1970s, Mann has become a key figure within contemporary American popular culture as writer, director, and producer for film and television. This volume offers a detailed study of Mann's feature films, from The Jericho Mile (1979) to Public Enemies (2009), with consideration also being given to parallels in the production, style, and characterization in his television work. It explores Mann's relationship with classical genres, his thematic concentration on issues of morality and masculinity, his film adaptations from literature, and the development and significance of his trademark visual style within modern American cinema.
This study, from a variety of analytical approaches, examines ways in which contemporary Japanese film presents a critical engagement with Japan's project of modernity to demonstrate the 'crisis' in conceptions of identity. The work discusses gender, the family, travel, the 'everyday' as horror, and ways in which animated films can offer an ideal space in which an ideal conception of identity may emerge and thrive. It presents close, theoretically-informed textual analyses of the thematic issues contemporary Japanese films raise, through a wide range of genres, from comedy, family drama, and animation, to science fiction and horrror by directors such as Kurosawa Kiyoshi, Morita Yoshimitsu, Miike Takashi, Oshii Mamoru, Kon Satoshi, and Miyazaki Hayao, in language that is accessible but precise.