PHIX365 Film and Philosophy
Week 1: What is philosophy of film/film-philosophy?
What is “philosophy of film”? Can films “philosophise”? The distinction between philosophy of film and ‘film as philosophy’ or ‘film-philosophy’.
Week 2 : Ontologies of the Moving Image
Andre Bazin’s ontology of the cinematographic image. Noel Carroll’s critique and alternative account. Some questions about the phenomenology of moving images and our ‘desire for reality’.
Week 3: Understanding Film Narrative
How and why do films makes sense? Theories of narrative and of narrative comprehension. Carroll’s ‘erotetic’ model of narrative. Critical questions from an aesthetic and phenomenological point of view.
Week 4: Cognitivism Goes to the Movies
The ‘cognitivist turn’ in film theory. What can cognitivist theories offer to philosophy of film? The challenge of cognitivist approaches to art cinema. Critical questions for cognitivism.
Week 5: Affect and Emotion in Cinema
Theories of affect and emotion in the cinema. Cognivitist and phenomenological approaches: a rapprochement? The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (Julian Schnabel) as case study.
Week 6 : Cinematic Ethics
The relationship between emotion, morality, and cinema. Moral judgment and aesthetic manipulation. Can cinema ‘do’ ethics? The problem of theorising cinematic disgust.
Week 7: Gilles Deleuze’s Philosophy of Film
Deleuze's theses on movement and time. The concept of the movement-image and how they are composed into a filmic whole. The breakdown of the sensory-motor action schema and the discovery of the time-image. How time-images disrupt narrative and provoke thought.
Week 8: Stanley Cavell's Philosophy of Film
Cavell’s analysis of the cinematic image. Film and the metaphysics of representation. What happens to human figures when projected on the screen? How to ‘read’ a film philosophically.
Week 9: Film as Philosophy: Pro and Contra
The ‘film as philosophy’ thesis. Livingston’s critique of the strong version; Wartenberg’s defense of a ‘moderate’ versions; Mulhall’s and Smuts’ defences of different kinds of ‘bold’ thesis. Critical questions about the relationship between philosophical theory and film criticism.
Week 10: Film-Philosophy Case study (1): Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (Michel Gondry)
Memory, morality, and self-overcoming in Michel Gondry’s unorthodox love story.
Week 11: Film-Philosophy Case Study (2): Fight Club (David Fincher)
Platonic, sceptical, critical, and Nietzschean themes in David Fincher’s Fight Club.
Week 12: Film-Philosophy Case Study (3): The New World (Terrence Malick)
Nature, culture, and the violent encounter between worlds in Terrence Malick’s mythopoetic historical drama.