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Cinema, Alain Badiou • Book review • Senses of Cinema

Additional Information. Project MUSE Mission Project MUSE promotes the creation and dissemination of essential humanities and social science resources through collaboration with libraries, publishers, and scholars worldwide. Modern philosophy has experienced two major changes with regards to the arts. Firstly, in Kant published the monumental Critique of Pure Judgement , which revitalized the category of aesthetics from the Greeks and annexed it permanently to the gaze of just about every continental philosopher to follow. However, perhaps the most important figure in this new generation of post-Deleuzian philosophers, Alain Badiou has written very little by way of cinema, and only last year managed to dedicate his first full book length treatment to film, which is yet to be translated into English.

One of the strengths of Badiou and Cinema is that, while it is perfectly in tune with many of the repeated tropes of philosophical jargon and therefore requires some prior engagement with philosophical texts, it helpfully introduces the work of Alain Badiou in a concise and engaging manner. To understand precisely what Ling argues Badiou brings to cinema it then might be worth briefly considering what philosophy and in aesthetics are for Badiou. This question has a two-fold significance. Interestingly, Badiou also notes that philosophy itself is organically truthless; its job is to not only rethink already existing mediums that contain thought, but also, more generally, to discusses the possibility for thought.

Our task in this book is accordingly that of working through this symptom, with Badiou as our guide as much as our adversary, in the hope of locat- ing the true power of cinema. This is followed by a consideration of some of the more immediate problems these writings raise, together with a number of questions he leaves unanswered. Chapter 3 considers cinema as an onto-logical art, an art which figures the relations of being and its appearing.

The immediate consequence of this analysis is a reconsid- eration of how space and time operate in cinema, whereby cinema figures as an art whose foremost concerns lie with dis-appearance and re-temporalisation. Clearly the films I have chosen as my focus vary widely in their phil- osophical interest. While some serve a primarily illustrative or allegori- cal function The Matrix , others are more immediately philosophically as much as cinematically investigatory Film.

The sum of these filmic considerations provides us with, I believe, a picture of cinema that takes into account its true philosophi- cal importance. For what concerns us here is after all not television but cinema, in all its luminous and ephemeral glory. My play was written for small men locked in a big space.


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Notes 1. This is of course not to say that Plato himself would find any truth in cinema.

What Can Cinema Teach Philosophy?

Rather, cinema would doubtless suffer the same fate as poetry and theatre and find itself promptly expelled from the Republic. See also SP, p. Needless to say, this anti-theoretical backlash is hardly singular to cinema studies, its branches having extended throughout all the humanities.


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Althusser, Lenin and Philosophy, p. See also Althusser, For Marx, p. Presenting such a totalising structure is of course the principal offence with which post-Theorists charge Film Theory, hence its capitalisa- tion. See also ibid. It is thus hardly surprising to find that Badiou, when discussing cinema, completely disregards both the Theoretical and the post-Theoretical camps.

About the Author

In fact, as we will see, a truth is precisely that which is — initially, at least — subtracted from knowledge. Deleuze, Essays Critical and Clinical, p.


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