Thursday, November 30, 2017

Dialogic Cinephilia - November 30, 2017

Allison, Keith. "Shvitz & the City & the City." The Cultural Gutter (November 23, 2017) ["Inspired by human absurdities like East and West Berlin, The City & The City is a meditation on the illogic of national borders,divided neighbors, and bureaucracy. In the context of late 2017, it’s also easy to read into a prescient look at the perceived deep, uncrossable social and political divide that has arisen in the United States of Donald Trump, the Britain of Brexit, the continuing division of North and South Korea, and the rise of divisive tribalism and a religious-style zealotry that seems to be sweeping much of the world."]

Fernandez, Toniann. "White Man On a Pedestal." Paris Review (November 29, 2017)

Frost, Amber A'Lee. "The Precocious Socialist." The Baffler (November 29, 2017) ["High school is a noise opera of capitalist blathering. It gets better, sort of . . ."]

Lembcke, Jerry. "The Myth of the Spitting Antiwar Protester." The New York Times (October 13, 2017)

Cinemark theater screened this Disney World advertisement (opportunistic selling of images of veterans as a means of promoting/selling a corporate image) right before Thor: Ragnarok last night (after a long series of other militarized ads/promotions). It is not only corporate propaganda, but it also perpetuating a repeatedly disabused cultural lie (across many cultures) - the myth of people spitting on returning veterans.  Furthermore, the advertisement is riddled with other obvious falsities/distortions. The represented veteran claims in the advertisement for Disney World that no one welcomed him home (the unspoken claim is that Disney World is the only entity that welcomes returning veterans like him). Can you really believe "no one" welcomed him home in a hyper-militaristic country (even in the aftermath of our invasion and occupation of Vietnam)? I wonder how his family feels about this advertisement for Disney World (if no one welcomed him they would be included in that claim)?

Lilygren, Deena. Takei or Not Takei - When Our Own Offend." LEO Weekly (November 29, 2017)

Mahan, William. "Ghosts and their Prices: Surveillance and Image Economies in Christian Petzold’s Cinema." Senses of Cinema #84 (September 2017) ["This essay examines Christian Petzold’s lesser-known, early films of the 90s in their depiction of the German economy’s impact on individuals’ image-perception and then takes up his better-known film Die innere Sicherheit (The State I Am In, 2000) to trace a change in what can be thought of as image economies. It considers Petzold’s use of surveillance footage in the representation of images which are ascribed value and exchanged in economies that at times come up against relationships of solidarity between characters. While Petzold’s early films Pilotinnen (Pilots, 1995) and Die Beischlafdiebin (The Sex Thief, 1998) depict the struggle and exploitation of female workers within the German economy as well as the solidarity formed in the resistance against these forces, Petzold shifts in the early 2000s in The State I Am In to a larger scale examination of surveillance image economies that extend to the state. The film follows a family with presumed historical ties to the RAF, attempting in the present to remain under the radar. Once again, Petzold investigates relationships of solidarity threatened by image economies, though now with an eye directed towards the transfer of data to and use of surveillance footage by the state. Petzold’s trajectory appears to suggest an increasingly depersonalised society in general, (re)affirming Jonathan Beller’s argument for the increasing gravity of the image for both society and individuals. In addition, Petzold seems to addend Beller’s notions of proto-images and exploitation with a hopeful possibility that, ultimately, humans can win out over these forces through maintained solidarity."]

Merler, Sylvia. "The Republican Tax Plan." Bruegel (November 27, 2017) ["As the Trump administration’s tax plan continues its way through the legislature, we review economists’ and commentators’ recent opinions on the matter."]

Rosen, David. "Century of the National Security State: A New Subversives List." Counterpunch (November 29, 2017)

Westneat, Danny.  "This City Hall Brought To You By Amazon." Seattle Times (November 24, 2017)

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

300 (USA: Zack Snyder, 2006)

300 (USA: Zack Snyder, 2006: 117 mins)

Ayers, Drew R. "Vernacular Posthumanism: Visual Culture and Material Imagination." Department of Communication Dissertation,  Georgia State University, 2012.

Borza, Eugene N. "Spartans Overwhelmed at Thermopylae, Again." Archaeology (March 22, 2007)

Carlin, Dan. "King of Kings, Pt. 1." Hardcore History #56 (2016) ["For more than 2,000 years the Greek and Persian Wars have been viewed through the lens of “The West”. It could hardly be otherwise given the near-monopoly Greek sources have on some of the historical narrative. The gateway to much of Achaemenid Persian history runs through Greek writers. When in 498bce the young and feisty democracy in Athens decides to send a small fleet to aid their fellow Greeks in Asia Minor to rebel against the Achaemenid Persians they incurred the wrath of the greatest empire the world had yet known. Herodotus says the Persian king tasked an attendant to prompt him thrice daily to “remember the Athenians” lest he forget to take revenge on them. From this moment on Greek and Persian destinies seem to become unbreakably intertwined. When Persia’s armies conduct amphibious landings in Greece in the 5thCentury bce they initiate what was at that time almost certainly the largest, most sophisticated military conflict in European history. Both sides will become perhaps the first adversaries to face off in what has often been portrayed as an ongoing, millenia-long competition between “East” and “West”. Both sides will also help sow the seeds for the other’s eventual historical eclipse."]

---. "King of Kings II." Hardcore History #57 (March 2016)

---. "King of Kings III." Hardcore History #58 (August 7, 2016)

Ebert, Roger. "300." Chicago Sun-Times (August 4, 2008)

Eggert, Brian. "300." Deep Focus Review (March 9, 2007)

Hassler-Forest, Dan. "The 300 Controversy: A Case Study in the Politics of Adaptation." Film & History (ND)

Ito, Robert. "The Gore of Greece, Torn From a Comic." The New York Times (November 26, 2006)

Moody, Rick. "Frank Miller and the rise of cryptofascist Hollywood." The Guardian (November 24, 2011)

Stevens, Dana. "The Movie Only a Spartan Could Love: The Battle Epic 300." Slate (March 8, 2007)

White, Michael. "300 is a Dangerous Piece of Fantasy." The Guardian (March 27, 2007)

Dialogic Cinephilia - November 29, 2017

Benton, Michael Dean. "Notes on Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia." Dialogic Cinephilia (November 28, 2017)

Deighan, Sam and Mike White. "The Cremator (1968)." The Projection Booth #341 (September 19, 2017) ["Czechtember continues with a look at Juraj Herz's The Cremator (AKA Spalovac mrtvol). Released in 1968, the year of the Prague Spring, the film stars Rudolf Hrusínský as Karl (or Roman) Kopfrkingl, a man dedicated to the idea of liberating the soul from the body through the practice of cremation. Samm Deighan joins Mike to discuss collaborators and the madness that gripped the world in the 1930s and '40s."]

Drain, Heather and Kat Ellinger. "Scores of Lickerish – Radley Metzger and the Art of Pornography, Pt. 1." Hell's Belles #1 (September 3, 2017) ["Radley Metzger was unrivaled when it came to mixing erotica and porn with artistic flourish. Working in Europe during his early days he borrowed from Italian and Swedish cinema to create some of the most beautiful erotic film ever made. In this episode Heather and Kat take a look at Metzger’s early films with a focus on Camille 2000 (1969) and The Lickerish Quartet (1970) as well as unraveling some of the director’s key themes throughout his work in order to offer up a wide ranging appreciation of one of America’s most daring and artful independent filmmakers of all time."]

---. "Scores of Lickerish – Radley Metzger and the Art of Pornography, Pt. 2." Hell's Belles #2 (October 22, 2017) ["In this episode Heather and Kat take a look at Metzger’s later films with a focus on The Image(1975), The Opening of Misty Beethoven (1976) and Barbara Broadcast (1977) as well as unraveling some of the director’s key themes throughout his work in order to offer up a wide ranging appreciation of one of America’s most daring and artful independent filmmakers of all time."]

Hickey, Philip. "Rebranding Psychiatry." Mad in America (November 28, 2017)

Marcetic, Branko. "How Washington Hacked Mongolia's Democracy." Jacobin (November 29, 2017)

Nguyen, Hanh. "Godless: Mary Agnes’ Romance Wasn’t as Uncommon as You Might Think." IndieWire (November 28, 2017)

Psychology/Psychiatry Dialogic Cinephilia (Ongoing Archive)

Ronickher, Alexis. "As Accusations Stack Up, A Look at the Onerous Process of Reporting Sexual Abuse on Capitol Hill." Democracy Now (November 28, 2017) ["What happens to a member of Congress when someone dares to come forward to report wrongdoing? As Senator Al Franken returned to Congress in the face of allegations from four women that he had groped or inappropriately touched them, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said she spoke to and believed one of the women who has accused Michigan Congressman John Conyers of sexual harassment, we speak with Alexis Ronickher, an attorney who has represented multiple congressional staffers pursuing harassment claims through Congress’s Office of Compliance."]

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Michael Dean Benton: Notes on Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia

(Notes on the book and references to other commentators)

Anti-Oedipus was lobbed into the fray like an intellectual cluster bomb -- it had multiple targets, from the primacy of the signifier in linguistics to the dependency on lack in psychoanalysis, but its primary objective was (as Michel Foucault astutely points out in his highly influential preface to the English translation) to caution us against the fascist inside, the desire to seize power for oneself. The principle thesis of Anti-Oedipus, around which its many conceptual inventions turn, is that revolution is not primarily or even necessarily a matter of taking power. Insofar as taking power means preserving all the old institutions and ideas in which power is invested it could even be said that revolutions of this type are actually counter-revolutionary in purpose and intent because they change nothing essential. By the same token, Deleuze and Guattari were concerned about the allure of power, its apparent ability to drive us to desire to be placed under its yoke. The most important political question, as far as Deleuze and Guattari are concerned, is how it is possible for desire to act against its interest. (Buchanan, Ian. Deleuze and Guattari's Anti-Oedipus. NY: Continuum, 2008: 21.)

Wikipedia summary of Anti-Oedipus


An introduction to the importance of May 1968 events in Paris and the rest of the world throughout that explosive year(as well as the aftermath) is essential to an understanding of this book and the development of late-20th Century French theory.

Guattari’s background as a radical psychiatrist is also very important.

Deleuze on their working relationship:

We are only two, but what was important for us was less our working together than this strange fact of working between the two of us. We stopped being “author.” And these “between the twos” referred back to other people, who were different on one side from on the other. ... In these conditions, as soon as there is this type of multiplicity, there is politics, micro-politics. (Deleuze and Parnet, 17)

Form/Style of the Book:

In D & G’s writings before and after Anti-Oedipus they develop an understanding of how theoretical perspectives can actually construct/create subjectivity. This is the critique of psychoanalysis in A-O.

Creating a theoretical model of subjectivity implies an ethical and aesthetic choice on the part of the theorist, in fact Guattari emphasizes this when he subtitles his later book Chaosmosis, “An Ethico-Aesthetic Paradigm”. Keeping this in mind how is the form/style of this book an attempt to create or construct a model of subjectivity? Is it successful in its attempt? Is Michel Foucault correct in calling this a ‘book of ethics’?

Mark Seem in his introduction following Henry Miller states that “No pain, no trouble—this is the neurotic’s dream of a tranquilized and conflict-free existence” and in reference to A-O that “What it attempts to cure us of is the cure itself” (xvi-xvii). Is the construction of this book centered around the authors’ resistance of the easy cure or strict (dogmatic) program? How are they attacking the “neurotic’s dream” ... keeping in mind that the psychoanalyst is the super-neurotic?

Claire Colbrook states that:

Rather than using reason and reasoned arguments, the book sought to explain and historicise the emergence of an essentially repressive image of reason. Rather than argument and proposition it worked by questions and interrogation: why should we accept conventions, norms, and values? What stops us from creating new values, new desires, or new images of what it is to be and think? This book was not a move within an already established debate; it shifted the entire criteria of the debate. Against justification and legitimation, it put forward the power of creation and transformation. It did not adopt the single voice of universal reason but, like a novel, ‘played’ with the voices of those traditionally deemed to be at the margins of reason ... (5)

Anti-Psychoanalytic Institution?:

It is often thought that Oedipus is an easy subject to deal with, something perfectly obvious, a “given” that is there from the very beginning. But that is not so at all: Oedipus presupposes a fantastic repression of desiring-machines. (A-O, 3)

One of the main questions raised in this quote and the accompanying footnote is: How did Freud appropriate the author(ity) of Greek tragedy to legitimize his psychoanalytic concepts? How does this relate to the second chapter's critique of the institution of psychoanalysis as a new secular religion set up by the followers of Freud and institutionalized by the military-industrial complex?

It is as if Freud had drawn back from this world of wild production and explosive desire, wanting at all costs to restore a little order there, an order made classical owing to the ancient Greek theater. ... It is only little by little that he makes the familial romance, on the contrary, into a mere dependence on Oedipus, and that he neuroticizes everything in the unconscious at the same time as he oedipalizes, and closes the familial triangle over the entire unconscious. ... The unconscious ceases to be what it is—a factory, a workshop—to become a theater, a scene and its staging. And not even an avant-garde theater, such as existed in Freud’s day ..., but the classical theater, the classical order of representation. The psychoanalyst becomes a director for a private theater, rather than the engineer or mechanic who sets up units of production, and grapples with collective agents of production and antiproduction. (54-55)

Has psychoanalysis shut down the (expanding on D & G) continuously evolving production of an unconscious in order to provide an all-encompassing, static analytic backdrop? What about their referencing of mechanics/engineers who facilitate the flows of production and recognize the collective processes?

For we must not delude ourselves: Freud doesn’t like schizophrenics. He doesn’t like their resistance to being oedipalized, and tends to treat them more or less as animals. They mistake words for things, he says. They are apathetic, narcissisitic, cut off from reality, incapable of achieving transference; they resemble philosophers—‘an undesirable resemblance.’ (A-O, 23)

This position of D & G seems unfair until we read the notes on the bottom of pages 56 and 59. How does the analyst construct a position free from doubt/criticism (leaving aside that they are supposed to submit to even super-super neurotics for analysis) in order to construct the patient’s world? (is this an unfair view of the analyst?—what does the two notes supply us as evidence of the analyst’s position—or how about the writings of Lacan)

It is not a question of denying the vital importance of parents or the love attachment of children to their mothers and fathers. It is a question of knowing what the place and the function of parents are within desiring-production, rather than doing the opposite and forcing the entire interplay of desiring-machines to fit within the restricted code of Oedipus. (47)

Is it possible that, by taking the path that it has, psychoanalysis is reviving an age-old tendency to humble us, to demean us, and to make us feel guilty? ... [is it] completing the task begun by nineteenth-century psychology, namely, to develop a moralized, familial discourse of mental pathology ... keeping European humanity harnessed to the yoke of daddy-mommy and making no effort to do away with this problem once and for all.... Hence, instead of participating in an undertaking that will bring about genuine liberation, psychoanalysis is taking part in the work of bourgeois repression at its most far-reaching level. (50)

D & G set out to develop schizoanalysis as their answer to this problem.


First important distinction is to remember that they are proposing an active schizophrenia that differs from the incapacitating medical designation of schizophrenia. D & G’s schizoanalysis grows out of their resistance to institutionalized psychoanalysis that has infiltrated all parts of society with a totalizing theory that masks humanity’s true relationship to the world:

From the moment we are measured in terms of Oedipus—the cards are stacked against us, and the only real relationship, that of production, has been done away with. (A-O, 24)

We cannot say that psychoanalysis is very innovative in this respect: it continues to ask its questions and develop its interpretations from the depths of the Oedipal triangle as its basic perspective, even though today it is acutely aware that this frame of reference is not at all adequate to explain so-called psychotic phenomena. (14)

A schizophrenic out for a walk is a better model than a neurotic laying on the analyst’s couch. A breath of fresh air, a relationship with the outside world (A-O, 2)

We no longer believe in the dull gray outlines of a dreary, colorless dialectic of evolution, aimed at forming a harmonious whole out of heterogeneous bits by rounding off their rough edges. We believe only in totalities that are peripheral. And if we discover such a totality alongside various separate parts, it is a whole of these particular parts but does not totalize them; it is a unity of all of these particular parts but does not unify them; rather, it is added to them as a new part fabricated separately. (42)

To withdraw a part from the whole, to detach, to ‘have something left over,’ is to produce, and to carry out real operations of desire in the world ... The whole not only coexists with all the parts; it is contiguous to them, it exists as a product that is produced apart from them and yet at the same time is related to them. (41, 43-44)

An important part of schizoanalysis is the development of a “schizoanalytic cartography” (A-O, 273-382). Guattari in another work states:

From my own perspective, which is guided by a shift of human and social sciences from “scientistic” paradigms to ethico-aesthetic ones, the question is no longer one of knowing if the Freudian unconscious or the Lacanian unconscious offers scientific solutions to the problem of the psyche. The models will only be considered as one among others for the production of subjectivity, inseparable from the technical and institutional mechanisms that support them, and from their impact on psychiatry, on university teaching, the mass media. ... In a more general way, one will have to admit that each individual, each social group, conveys its own system of modelling unconscious subjectivity, that is, a certain cartography made up of reference points that are cognitive, but also mythic, ritualistic, and symptomatological, and on the basis of which it positions itself in relation to its affects, its anxieties, and attempts to manage its various inhibitions and drives. Moreover, today, our question is not only of a speculative order, but has practical implications: do the models of the unconscious that are offered us on the “market” of psychoanalysis meet current conditions for the production of subjectivity? Is it necessary to transform them, or to invent new ones? What processes are set in motion in the awareness of an inhabitual shock? How do modifications to a mode of thinking, to an aptitude for the apprehension of a changing external world, take effect? How do representations of the external world change as it changes? The Freudian unconscious is inseparable from a society that is attached to its past, to its phallocratic traditions, and its subjective variants. Contemporary upheavals undoubtably call for a modelization turned more toward the future and to the emergence of new social and aesthetic practices in all areas. On the one hand, the devaluation of the meaning of life provokes the fragmentation of self-image: representations of self become confused and contradictory while, on the other hand, the conservative forces of resistance oppose themselves to all change, which is experienced by a secure, ossified, and dogmatic consciousness as an attempt at destabilization. (Guattari, “Subjectivities”: 197)

Deleuze adds:

... the diagram is no longer an auditory or visual archive but a map, a cartography that is coextensive with the whole social field. (Deleuze, Foucault: 34)

After setting up the problem as they see it in A-O they will later attempt in A Thousand Plateaus to propose a mutable method for approaching this problem. Of course this will not be a solution that must be seized and made one’s own in order for it to have any effect:

The rhizome is altogether different, a map and not a tracing. Make a map, not a tracing. The orchid does not reproduce the tracing of the wasp; it forms a map with the wasp, in a rhizome. What distinguishes the map from the tracing is that it is entirely oriented toward an experimentation in contact with the real. The map does not reproduce an unconscious closed in upon itself; it constructs the unconscious. It fosters connections between the field, the removal of blockages on bodies without organs, the maximum opening of bodies without organs onto a plane of consistency. It is itself a part of the rhizome. The map is open and connectable in all of its dimensions; it is detachable, reversible, susceptible to constant modification. It can be torn, reversed, adapted to any kind of mounting, reworked by an individual, group, or social formation. It can be drawn on a wall, conceived of as a work of art, constructed as a political action or as a mediation. (A Thousand Plateaus, 12)

On Capitalism:

Capitalism is schizophrenic because it is interested in profit and it must subvert/deterritorialize all territorial groupings such as familial, religious, or other social bonds. At the same time it relies on the continuous appearance/mythification of social groupings in order to continue functioning smoothly and to re-enforce social ordering needs. Thus, capitalism attempts to re-constitute the need for traditional/nostalgic, or, even, newer forms of social groupings or religious/state institutions. This deterritorialization/reterritorialization and decoding/recoding is happening at the same time—thus the schizophrenic nature of capitalism.

Does this schizophrenia of...

1) mindless consumption, selfish individualism, may the best man win, the cream rises to the top, the romantic creative individual, sacrifice/gorge ...

2) religious revivalism, family values (valuing no one else's family), community values (at the expense of other communities), moral majority, neighborhood watch (and snitch), etc...

...cause some of us to break under the strain of an absurd society?


... desire is revolutionary in its essence ... and no society can tolerate a position of real desire without its structures of exploitation, servitude, and hierarchy being compromised. (A-O 116)

Socius (Historical periods of social development):

Primitive territorial machine:
Everything is coded and ritualized. Territory is clearly marked out and understood. Everything is social.

Barbaric territorial machine (despot):
The social group is somewhat deterritorialized by the despot who continues to maintain order through a re-inscription of a highly coded production centered around the ruler (what he says goes). Part of the coding (ordering) process is carried out through ritualized dramas of bodily punishment that (re)territorialize (re/produce) the despot’s authority (for a good description of this read the first section of Michel Foucault’s Discipline and Punish. NY: Pantheon Books, 1977.)

Civilized capitalist machine (disciplinary society):
Radically deterritorializes and reterritorializes social life. This radical deterritorialization is played out in conjunction with a continuous reterritorialization (re-coding) of traditional/ancient/nostalgic forms of authority. The nation (state), the family (father), God (religion or ideology), education (schools), media (societal super-ego?), etc ... re-appear in modified forms to shore up a shaky social grid and continue the smooth process of production/consumption. (A-O, 33-35) This society creates order through disciplinary institutions that house both the young initiates in order to train them to operate according to custom and the failed individuals that opt to pursue non-legitimized occupations/identities (for the moment let me use this designation—I’m fully aware that there are those who present a serious danger to others and thus must be dealt with, but the disciplinary society represents and treats them as morally weak individuals rather than as products of this society). The development and celebration of the myth of the private individual comes into play in this territorial situation.

Although some excitable critics (both from the left and right—e.g Baudrillard/Fukuyama) see this stage as the ‘end of history’, Deleuze, expanding on Foucault, sees us moving into a new socius stage (plateau?):

It is true that we are entering a society that can be called a society of control. A thinker such as Michel Foucault has analyzed two types of societies that are rather close to us. He calls the former sovereign societies and the latter disciplinary societies. He locates the typical passage of a sovereign society to a disciplinary society with Napolean. Disciplinary society is defined—by the accumulation of structures of confinement: prisons, schools, workshops, hospitals. Disciplinary societies require this. This analysis engendered ambiguities in certain of Foucault’s readers because it was believed that this was his last thought. This was certainly not the case. Foucault never believed and indeed said very precisely that disciplinary societies were not eternal. Moreover, he clearly thought that we were entering a new type of society. To be sure, there are all kinds of things left over from disciplinary societies, and this for years on end, but we know already that we are in societies of another sort that should be called, to use the term put forth by William Burroughs—whom Foucault admired greatly—societies of control. We are entering into societies of control that are defined very differently from disciplinary societies. Those who look after our interests do not need or will no longer need structures of confinement. These structures—prisons, schools, hospitals—are already sites of permanent discussion. Wouldn’t it be better to spread out the treatment? Yes, this is unquestionably the future. The workshops, the factories—they are falling apart everywhere. Wouldn’t systems of subcontracting and work at home be better? Aren’t there means of punishing people other than prison? Even the school. The themes that are surfacing, which will develop in the next forty or fifty years and which indicates that the most shocking thing would be to undertake school and a profession at once—these themes must be watched closely. It will be interesting to know what the identity of the school and the profession will be in the course of permanent training, which is our future and which will no longer necessarily imply the regrouping of school children in a structure of confinement. A control is not discipline. In making highways , for example, you don’t enclose people but instead multiply the means of control. I am not saying that this is the highway’s exclusive purpose, but that people can drive infinitely and “freely” without being at all confined yet while still being perfectly controlled. This is our future. (Deleuze, “Having An Idea of Cinema”: 17-18)

For more on this also check out Deleuze’s essay in October #59 (1992): 3-8 and excerpts of D & G’s writings in Rethinking Architecture: A Reader in Cultural Theory. ed. Neil Leach (NY: Routledge, 1997: 309-18.)


D & G resist a molar politics that frames its operations in a “already” determined future, thus they keep to the idea of a molecular politics that is open to change:

Schizoanalysis, as such, has no political program to propose. If it did have one it would be grotesque and disquieting at the same time. It does not take itself for a party, and does not claim to speak for the masses. No political program will be elaborated within the framework of schizoanalysis. (380)

D & G see a central paradox in our fascisms:

As Reich remarks, the astonishing thing is not that some people steal or that others occasionally go out on strike, but rather that all those who are starving do not steal as a regular practice, and all those who are exploited are not continually out on strike: after centuries of exploitation, why do people still tolerate being humiliated and enslaved, to such a point, indeed, that they actually want humiliation and slavery not only for others but for themselves? (A-O, 29)

This makes all authoritarian and dogmatic movements suspect in that they dictate and predict:

... no, the masses were not innocent dupes; at a certain point, under a certain set of conditions, they wanted fascism, and it is this perversion of the desire of the masses that needs to be accounted for.” (A-O, 29)

Traditionally many writers have posited that subjects of bloody states are ignorant of the true processes behind-the-scenes that produce orderly societies ... D & G are contradicting this belief ... why do they see fascism as answering a perverted desire of the masses? What causes this perverted desire? Can we see any signs of fascism in the contemporary American culture/societies? Can we recognize the fascist impulse in totalizing revolutionary theories? Is this another problematic of the “totalizing” impulse as manifested in liberatory/resistive movements? Is this a legitimate complaint from marginalized groups?

D & G are calling for a resistance that is molecular, not molar (machinic, not mechanistic). Universal mass movements are not the goal, but they are not denying their potential, rather that mass movements would be forged through alliances/bridges, that are temporary, mutable, and situational.


Pgs. 36-41 introduces the “three breaks” or interruptions of machines. When thinking of the bodies in these operations we must learn to alter our emphasis on the individual ‘body’ and recognize social, economic, political, juridical, etc ... bodies in these descriptions.

Claire Colebrook on “machines” in A-O and Deleuze’s theory in general:

In Anti-Oedipus they insist that the machine is not a metaphor and that life is literally a machine. This is crucial to Deleuze’s ethics. An organism is a bounded whole with an identity and end. A mechanism is a closed machine with a specific function. A machine, however, is nothing more than its connections; it is not made by anything, is not for anything and has no closed identity. So they are using ‘machine’ here in a specific and unconventional sense. Think of a bicycle, which obviously has no ‘end’ or intention. It only works when it is connected with another ‘machine’ such as the human body; and the production of these two machines can only be achieved through connection. The human body becomes a cyclist in connecting with the machine; the cycle becomes a vehicle. But we could imagine different connections producing different machines. The cycle becomes an art object when placed in a gallery; the human body becomes an ‘artist’ when connected with a paintbrush. The images we have of closed machines, such as the self-contained organism of the human body, or the efficiently autonomous functioning of the clock mechanism, are effects and illusions of the machine. There is no aspect of life that is not machinic; all life only works and is insofar as it connects with some other machine.

We have already seen the importance Deleuze gives to the camera; it is important as a machine because it shows how human thought and life can become and transform through what is inhuman. By insisting that the machine is not a metaphor Deleuze and Guattari move away from a representational model of language. If the concept of machine were a metaphor, then we could say that we have life as it is, and then the figure of machine to imagine, represent of picture life. But for Deleuze and Guattari there is no present life outside its connections. We only have representations, images or thoughts because there have been ‘machinic’ connections: the eye connects with light, the brain connects with a concept, the mouth connects with a language. Life is not about one privileged point—the self-contained mind of ‘man’—representing some inert outside world. Life is a proliferation of machinic connnections, with the mind or brain being one (sophisticated) machine among others.

Neither philosophy, nor art, nor cinema represent the world, they are events through which the movement of life becomes. What makes philosophy and art active is their capacity to become not just mechanistically, being caused by outside events, but machinically. A mechanism is a self-enclosed movement that merely ticks over, never transforming or producing itself. A machinic becoming makes a connection with what is not itself in order to transform and maximize itself. (56-57)


D & G denounce the human/nature division and insist that humans cannot be thought separate from nature. Or as they later paraphrase Karl Marx “he who denies God does only a ‘secondary thing,’ for he denies God in order to posit the existence of man, to put man in God’s place” (A-O, 58). Guattari later re-emphasizes the importance of this attempt to recognize the falsity of the division of human/nature:

Our survival on this planet is not only threatened by environmental damage but by a degeneration in the fabric of social solidarity and in the modes of psychical life, which must literally be re-invented. The refoundation of politics will have to pass through the aesthetic and analytical dimensions implied in the three ecologies—the environment, the socius and the psyche. We cannot conceive of solutions to the poisoning of the atmosphere and to global warming due to the greenhouse effect, or to the problem of population control, without a mutation of mentality, without promoting a new art of living in society. (Chaosmosis, 20)

Buchanan, Ian. Deleuze and Guattari's Anti-Oedipus. NY: Continuum, 2008.

Colebrook, Claire. Gilles Deleuze. NY: Routledge, 2002.

Deleuze, Gilles. Foucault. trans. Sean Hand. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 1988.

---. “Having An Idea In Cinema.” trans. Eleanor Kaufman. Deleuze and Guattari: New Mappings in Politics, Philosophy and Culture. eds. E. Kaufman and K. J. Heller. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 1998: 14-22.

Delueze, Gilles and Felix Guattari. Anti-Oedipus. trans. Robert Hurley, et al. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 1983.

---. A Thousand Plateaus. trans. Brian Massumi. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 1987.

Deleuze, Gilles and Claire Parnet. Dialogues. NY: Columbia U P, 1987.

Fanon, Frantz. Black Skin, White Masks. NY: Grove P, 1967.

Guattari, Felix. Chaosmosis. Bloomington, IN: Indiana U P, 1995.

Dialogic Cinephilia - November 28, 2017

Aisenberg, Joseph. "I am Blade Runner 2049, Blade Runner 2049 is I." Bright Lights Film Journal (November 3, 2017)

"All hail Kubrick’s ‘Barry Lyndon,’ a masterclass in bringing a unique filmmaker’s vision to life." Cinephilia and Beyond (ND)

Ankenbauer, Sam. "On Sacred Deers and Ghost Stories: Talking with Production Designer Jade Healy." Bright Lights Film Journal (November 25, 2017)

Fausto-Sterling, Anne. Sexing the Body: Gender Politics and the Construction of Sexuality. Basic Books, 2000.

Fine, Cordelia. Delusions of Gender: The Real Science Behind Sex Differences. Icon Books, 2010.

News headlines for November 28th

"The immortal ‘Casablanca’: Why the Old Hollywood’s Everlasting Masterpiece Is Still Beloved." Cinephilia & Beyond (ND)
"Project Veritas Tried to Sell Us Bogus Roy Moore Story." Washington Post (November 27, 2017)

Small, Courtney. "25 Years Later Malcolm X Still Resonates." Cinema Axis (November 18, 2017)

Monday, November 27, 2017

Dialogic Cinephilia - November 27, 2014

Abel, Marco. “'Das ist vorbei': Untimely Encounters with Neoliberalism in Christian Petzold’s dffb Student Films." Senses of Cinema #84 (September 2017)

Allen, Nick. "Spike Lee Triumphantly Updates She's Gotta Have It for Netflix." Demanders (November 22, 2017)

"The Body." Philosophical Films (ND)

D., Margo and Margo P. "The Princess Bride." Book vs Movie (November 10, 2017)

Docherty, Neil, et al. "Supplements and Safety." Frontline 34.3   (January 19, 2016) ["Frontline, The New York Times and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation examine the hidden dangers of vitamins and supplements, a multibillion-dollar industry with limited FDA oversight."]

Ellinger, Kat. "Case for a Rookie Hangman (1970)." The Projection Booth #340 (September 12, 2017) ["Czechtember continues with a look at Pavel Jurácek's Case for a Rookie Hangman (AKA Prípad pro zacínajícího kata) from 1970. Very loosely based on the third part of Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels, the film tells the tale of Lemuel Gulliver (Lubomír Kostelka) in the land of Balnibarbi, a surrealistic landscape where Lemuel has a hard time finding his footing, literally. Kat Ellinger and Kevin Heffernan join Mike to discuss the malleability of Swift's satire and The Key to Determining Dwarfs, or The Last Travel of Lemuel Gulliver."]

“Be careful, you are not in Wonderland. I’ve heard the strange madness long growing in your soul. But you are fortunate in your ignorance, in your isolation. You who have suffered, find where love hides. Give, share, lose—lest we die, unbloomed.” – From the film Kill Your Darlings (USA: John Krokidas, 2013)

Mertens, Jacob. "John Krokidas' Kill Your Darlings: An Origin Story of the Beats." Bright Lights Film Journal (May 22, 2014)

McKibben, Sophie and Anjali Tsui. "Child Marriage in America." The Frontline Dispatch #1 (September 14, 2017) ["In the summer after 9th grade, 14-year-old Heather discovered she was pregnant. Her boyfriend Aaron was 24. At the time, marriage seemed like it could be a solution to their problems — and maybe a way to keep Aaron out of jail. ... reporter Anjali Tsui, an Abrams Journalism Fellow through the Frontline/Columbia Journalism School fellowship program, and producer Sophie McKibben go inside a battle playing out over child marriage in America."]

Miller, Todd. "The Border Industrial Complex." Against the Grain (October 4, 2017) ["In the wake of the devastation of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, and while wildfires continue to rage across the West, it would seem like the perils of global warming are self-evident. And in fact, there’s one part of the U.S. government that, unlike President Trump, sees climate change as an undeniable danger: the military and Homeland Security. But not surprisingly, as journalist Todd Miller illustrates, their solution to the dislocations of climate change is a militarized one, imperiling all of us."]

"Farmer, educator, and community organizer, Timothy Kercheville, talks with Chuck Clenney about his recent trip to Kentucky State University's Small, Limited Resource/Minority Farmers Conference, his work teaching permaculture concepts and developing gardens with kids at William H. Natcher Elementary, his work on Project Breaking Ground: a sustainable garden on the lawn at the Barren County Detention Center, and I visit his most recent cooperative, regenerative, agricultural project developing a commercial garden with refugee farmers on an unused lawn beside the International Center of Kentucky."

Alexander (Germany/USA/Netherlands/France/UK/Italy: Oliver Stone, 2004)

Alexander (Germany/USA/Netherlands/France/UK/Italy: Oliver Stone, 2004: 175 mins)

Berti, Irene and Marta García Morcillo, eds. Hellas on Screen: Cinematic Receptions of Ancient History, Literature and Myth. Franz Steiner Verlag Stuttgart, 2008.

Borza, Eugene N. "Movie Commentary: Alexander." Archaeological Institute of America (December 2004)

Bradshaw, Peter. "Alexander." The Guardian (December 31, 2004)

Buckler, Dana and Jim Hemphill. "Icons: Oliver Stone." How is This Movie? (November 7, 2017)

Carlin, Dan. "King of Kings, Pt. 1." Hardcore History #56 (2016) ["For more than 2,000 years the Greek and Persian Wars have been viewed through the lens of “The West”. It could hardly be otherwise given the near-monopoly Greek sources have on some of the historical narrative. The gateway to much of Achaemenid Persian history runs through Greek writers. When in 498bce the young and feisty democracy in Athens decides to send a small fleet to aid their fellow Greeks in Asia Minor to rebel against the Achaemenid Persians they incurred the wrath of the greatest empire the world had yet known. Herodotus says the Persian king tasked an attendant to prompt him thrice daily to “remember the Athenians” lest he forget to take revenge on them. From this moment on Greek and Persian destinies seem to become unbreakably intertwined. When Persia’s armies conduct amphibious landings in Greece in the 5thCentury bce they initiate what was at that time almost certainly the largest, most sophisticated military conflict in European history. Both sides will become perhaps the first adversaries to face off in what has often been portrayed as an ongoing, millenia-long competition between “East” and “West”. Both sides will also help sow the seeds for the other’s eventual historical eclipse."]

---. "King of Kings II." Hardcore History #57 (March 2016)

---. "King of Kings III." Hardcore History #58 (August 7, 2016)

Cartledge, Paul and Fiona Rose Garland, eds. Responses to Oliver Stone's Alexander: Film, History, and Cultural Studies. The University of Wisconsin Press, 2010. [This is the contents page - you would have to interlibrary loan or purchase the book.]

Lee, Kevin B. and Matt Zoller Steitz. "Arsenic and Apple Pie: Patriotism and Propaganda in Born on the Fourth of July [Oliver Stone, Part 1]." Moving Image Source (October 14, 2008)

---. "Unreliable Narratives: JFK and the Power of Counter-Myth. [Oliver Stone, Part 2]." Moving Image Source (October 15, 2008)

---. "Fear and Self-Loathing: Nixon and the Unmaking of a President [Oliver Stone, Part 3]." Moving Image Source (October 16, 2008)

---. "Empire of the Son: War and civilization in Alexander, and an epilogue on W [Oliver Stone, Part 4]." Moving Image Source (October 17, 2008)

"Macedonian Criticism of Oliver Stone's Film Alexander." History of Macedonia (Letter Sent to Movie Critics - November 2004)

Sobzynski, Peter. "A Reappraisal of Oliver Stone's Alexander: The Ultimate Cut." Demanders (June 24, 2014)

051. Alexander (dir. Oliver Stone) Video Essay from Kevin B. Lee on Vimeo.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Dialogic Cinephilia - November 26, 2017

Bradley, S.A., et al. "Friday the 13th." Wrong Reel #326 (October 2017)

Bosner, Richard J. "Producer on Fruitvale Station, Other People, and Take the 10." Following Films (March 10, 2017)

Briggs, Laura. "Struggling Households." Against the Grain (October 2017) ["Reproductive politics -- that is, the politics of keeping households fed, sheltered, educated, and cared for, as well as creating the next generation -- are central to contemporary capitalism. And reproductive politics are fundamentally about class, race, and sexuality, as Laura Briggs argues. She discusses why we should recognize the household as a key site of struggle for both left and right."]

Brown, Monica. "First indigenous map of its kind; U.S. map displays 'Our own names and locations.'" Tulalip News (May 22, 2013)

Bugbee, Teo, et al. "The Cinema of Experience." Film Comment Podcast (October 10, 2017) ["In this special live episode of the podcast, moderated by Film Comment Editor-in-Chief Nicolas Rapold, panelists Teo Bugbee (The New York Times contributor), writer-programmer Ashley Clark (BAMcinématek), and writer-filmmaker Farihah Zaman (Field of Vision) discuss how cinematic technique is used to reflect nonwhite perspectives and stories of immigration, and what is different about the latest generation of storytelling."]

Coakley, Jamie Sims. "Cadillac Tramps: Life on the Edge." Film School Radio (October 5, 2017) ["The 1990’s were the “Golden Age” of the Orange County California music scene. Bands like The Offspring, No Doubt, Sugar Ray and Social Distortion where blowing up the mainstream and selling millions of records around the world. Meanwhile, the undisputed kings of the O.C. scene, The Cadillac Tramps, were falling apart. Infighting, addiction, frustration and dysfunction would tear the band apart at the peak of their success, but their bond would prove too strong to remain broken for long. THE CADILLAC TRAMPS: LIFE ON THE EDGE is a humble, honest and entertaining look at five young men who found each other in sobriety, created a lasting musical legacy that influenced indie rock’s biggest bands, and overcame the past to support lead singer Michael “Gabby” Gaborno as he fights for his life from the ravages of Hep-C. First time filmmaker, Jamie Sims Coakley,expertly mixes a colorful combination of archival footage, insightful artist interviews and intimate vérité footage together into an arresting, heartwarming and cautionary tale of brotherhood, reflection and the power of music to heal and unite us."]

Collision, David J. "Corporate Propaganda: Its Implications for Accounting and Accountability." (Department of Accountancy and Business Finance University of Dundee, Scotland, U.K.: ND)

D., Margo and Margo P. "Mary Shelley's Frankenstein." Book vs Movie (October 15, 2017)  ["The Margos take on the wildest adaptation of the show’s history with the sublime Frankenstein compared to the frankly ridiculous Kenneth Branagh 1994 film. The Margos get very gothic and silly sometimes trying to wrap their heads around Mary Shelley’s venerated classic novel with Henry V director Kenneth Branagh’s wildly acted and directed film. How crazy is this adaptation? How about a dance sequence between a zombie Helena Bonham Carter and Robert De Niro as “the monster?” This film is completely cray-cray but the backstory of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley is one of the greatest tales of 19th Century literature and we definitely dive into her fascinating life story. Plus, all of the machinations that led to the publishing of her book in 1818 and the revisions in the 1831 version."]

Dederer, Claire. "What Do We Do With the Art of Monstrous Men?" Paris Review (November 20, 2017)

Duncombe, Stephen. "Cultural Hegemony." Beautiful Trouble (ND)

Eyes Wide Shut (UK/USA: Stanley Kubrick, 1999) Dialogic Cinephilia (Ongoing Archive)

Garza, Alicia. "A Herstory of the #BlackLivesMatter Movement." The Feminist Wire (October 7, 2014)

Gilmore, Jim, et al. "Netanyahu at War." Frontline (January 6, 2017) ["An inside look at Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s political rise and his relationship with the U.S."]

Grenoble, Ryan. "FCC Faces Scrutiny For Refusing To Turn Over Evidence On Net Neutrality Comments." The Huffington Post (November 22, 2017)

Hoock, Holger. "Scars of Independence." Radio West (August 9, 2017) ["we’re taking a different look at the American Revolutionary War. We think of it as brave patriots fighting for a noble cause, which is true, but in his new book historian Holger Hoock is trying to remind us just how bloody it was. The British brutalized American soldiers; we tortured loyalists. In fact, this cruelty shaped the outcome of the war. Hoock’s book is called Scars of Independence: America’s Violent Birth and he's joining us to talk about it."]

Human Resources: Social Engineering in the 20th Century (USA: Scott Noble, 2010: 119 mins) ["Human Resources — Social Engineering in the 20th Century is about the rise of mechanistic philosophy and the exploitation of human beings under modern hierarchical systems. The film captures how humans are regarded as a resource by corporations—something to be exploited for pecuniary gain—by following the history of psychological experiments in behaviour modification, conditioning and mind control; applying the outcomes to modern day establishment experiments such as institutionalised education, military training, and social engineering by way of things like television…"]

Kempenaar, Adam and Josh Larsen. "Lady Bird / Justice League / Top 5 Female Directed Debuts." Filmspotting #657 (November 17, 2017)

Martinez, Chris. "Mudbound is an esteemed proposition of bloodshed and inequality." InSession Film (November 16, 2017)

Nelson, Geoff. "The Grotesque Aesthetic Morality of The Florida Project." The Los Angeles Review of Books (November 15, 2017)

Nightingale, Andrea. "Is Henry David Thoreau a Philosopher?" Entitled Opinions (October 18, 2017)

Rosen, Marty. " ‘Skeleton Crew,’ unflinching reality with flashes of hope, inspiration." LEO Weekly (November 22, 2017)

Rushkoff, Douglas. "Introduction: They Say." Coercion: Why We Listen To What 'They' Say. Penguin Putnam, 1999 (Excerpt)

Schippers, Mimi. "Thank you, Angela Robinson: A Review Of Professor Marston and The Wonder Women." Marx in Drag (October 15, 2017)

Slavery By Another Name (USA:Samuel D. Pollard, 2012: 90 mins) ["A documentary that recounts the many ways in which American slavery persisted as a practice many decades after its supposed abolition."]

Tremblay, Jean-Thomas. "Stories of New Narrative." The Los Angeles Review of Books (September 16, 2017)

Walsh, Kit. "Trump's FCC Goes to War on Net Neutrality" The Real News (November 23, 2017) ["A new plan unveiled by Federal Communications Commission chair Ajit Pai would repeal hard-fought net neutrality rules that uphold equal internet access. Can Pai's effort be stopped?"]

Whitman, James. "How the Nazis Used Jim Crow Laws as the Model for Their Race Laws." Moyers and Co. (October 13, 2017) ["Bill Moyers in conversation with author James Whitman about his new book Hitler’s American Model: The United States and the Making of Nazi Race Law."]

Williams, Kristian. Our Enemies in Blue: Police and Power in America. South End Press, 2007.

SUPERCUT: Directors Love Mirrors from The Auteur Journal on Vimeo.

Charles Burnett Tribute | 2017 Governors Awards for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences from Shola Lynch on Vimeo.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Dialogic Cinephilia - November 21, 2017

No offense to The Handmaid's Tale or its fans, but after two episodes of the adaptation of Atwood's 'Alias Grace' I'm thinking this is actually the novel/series that people should be watching and discussing. Curious where it will go from here.....

Hochhäusler, Christoph. "The Protestant Method." Senses of Cinema #84 (September 2017) [on German director Christian Petzold]

Law  Dialogic Cinephilia (Ongoing Archive)

Lim, Dennis and Violet Lucca. "Twin Peaks: The Return."  The Film Comment Podcast (September 20, 2017)    ["Twin Peaks: The Return, a work that is both a heartfelt refraction of David Lynch’s 50 years of creative output and a medium-reshaping beast unto itself. But rather than presume that 45 minutes is enough time to hone in on any single airtight interpretation (or that it would be any fun to do so), the goal is to strike an analytical balance, seeking useful context while allowing the dream to remain a dream."]

Lukes, Stephen. Power: A Radical View. Palgrave-Macmillan, 2005.

Metzmeier, Kurt X. "A #metro #metoo Story — Social Media and the Law." Leo Weekly (November 20, 2017)

Song, Lisa. "Sudden Shift at a Public Health Journal Leaves Scientists Feeling Censored." Pro Publica (November 20, 2017)  ["Claiming overreach by a new publisher, the journal’s editorial board asks for disciplinary action from the National Library of Medicine."]

Thompson, Heather Ann. "Attica: It's Worse Than We Thought." The New York Times (November 19, 2017)

The Crimson Permanent Assurance (Monty Python's) from EpicFilmsGlobal on Vimeo.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Dialogic Cinephilia - November 20, 2017

"A may exercise power over B by getting him to do what he does not want to do, but he also exercises power over him by influencing, shaping or determining his very wants. Indeed, is it not the supreme exercise of power to get another or others to have the desires you want them to have – that is, secure their compliance by controlling their thoughts and desires." - Stephen Lukes, Power: A Radical View, London: The Macmillian Press Ltd., 1974: 24

Bailey, John. "Il Conformista: The Film That Changed My Life." American Cinematographer (November 20, 2017)

"Blade Runner." Philosophical Films (ND)

Cribbs, John, et al. "The Sleeper Must Awaken." Wrong Reel #325 (October 2017) [On David Lynch's 1984 film Dune]

Dennis, Zach, et al. "Freaks." Cinematary #164 (October 6, 2017)

---. "Suspiria." Cinematary #163 (September 29, 2017)

Flores, Steven. "The Auteurs: Terry Gilliam." Cinema Axis (November 8, 2014)

Jolna, Karon and Aviva Dove-Viebahn, eds. Gender, Race and Class: From the Pages of Ms. Magazine, 1972 - Present.  (ND)

Kuersten, Erich. "CinemArchetype #3 - The Animus (the Daemon Lover)." Acidemic (February 1, 2012)

"Storm Boy - 1977 - Henri Safran." The Last New Wave (ND)

"Tron Legacy and Connection in a Digital World." Pop Culture Case Study #274 (October 5, 2017)

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Dialogic Cinephilia - November 19, 2017

" I would say that life understood is life lived. But, the paradoxes bug me, and I can learn to love and make love to the paradoxes that bug me, and on really romantic evenings of self, I go salsa dancing with my confusion." - Timothy "Speed" Levitch in Richard Linklater's 2002 film Waking Life

Amos, Steve, James Hancock, and Skye Wingfield. "25 Years of Quentin Tarantino." Wrong Reel #320 (September 2017)

Barber, William. "On Creating a Fusion Movement to Defeat Trump and Move Forward Together." Building Bridges (November 1, 2017) ["Dr. William Barber is the founder and president of Repairers of the Breach, an organization that seeks to build a progressive agenda rooted in a moral framework to counter the ultra-conservative constructs that try to dominate the public square. Rev. Barber one of the most influential, progressive religious figures in the country. Tens of thousands of men and women rose up in Chicago and cities from coast to coast to demanding that everyone in America have the right to organize and join a union and the Rev. William Barber said “I’m proud to stand with them, because their fight is central to the battle against poverty, racism, and inequality”. Earlier this year Rev. Barber announced an effort by faith and moral leaders to carry forward Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream of a Poor People’s Campaign, working across twenty-five states to alleviate the triad forces of poverty, militarism, and racism that Dr. King knew were poisoning our country then and still threaten us today."]

Bradley, S.A and Derrick Carey. "All The Sins of the World: Extreme Horror." Hellbent for Horror #53 (September 14, 2017)
["Extreme Horror Films: they are the "Elephant in the Room" for horror fans. These films push the limits of the viewer to such the extent that they even divide the horror community on whether they go too far. A large majority of these films have little, or no, socially redeeming value. And yet... There are a few extreme films that use the violence, and obscenity, and nihilism to create something that defies expectations and becomes something horrible/beautiful. For those who dare to watch. ...  Movies Discussed: Cannibal Holocaust (1980) Irreversible (2002) Scrapbook (2000) Martyrs (2008) Found (2012)"]

Collender, Stan. "GOP Tax Bill Is The End Of All Economic Sanity In Washington." Forbes (November 19, 2017)

Cribbs, John, et al. "Jean-Pierre Melville, Master of French Noir." Wrong Reel #318 (September 2017)

D., Margo and Margo P. "The Graduate." Book vs Movie (September 16, 2017) ["The Book Vs. Movie podcast goes straight to the 60s (but man, it really feels like the 50s sometimes, no?) Turns out the 1967 classic film starring Dustin Hoffman and directed by Mike Nichols was adapted by an obscure novel by a very peculiar man, Charles Webb."]

ENG 281/282: Thinking About Films and Filmmaking Dialogic Cinephilia (Ongoing Archive)

Federici, Sylvia. Caliban and the Witch: Women, The Body and Primitive Accumulation. 2nd Revised Edition. Autonomedia, 2014.

Fox, Neil and Dario Linares. "Blade Runner 2049." The Cinematologists (October 18, 2017) ["With the original Blade Runner being a formative film for both Dario and Neil, they take the time to discuss the 2017 sequel directed by Denis Villeneuve: Blade Runner 2049. A lot has been said and written about this new incarnation, directly about the aesthetics, philosophical themes and narrative, but also regarding the wider ideological readings related to gender, race and class. We hope you enjoy our contribution to the discourse around a film which, if nothing else, reminds us of cinema's ability to provoke thought and exercise passion."]

---. "Social Realism?" The Cinematologists (September 21, 2017) ["The discussion covers Leigh's Life Is Sweet (1990) and Loach's Riff-Raff(1991), Raining Stones (1993) and Ladybird Ladybird (1994) - and the recent I, Daniel Blake (2016), which is not in the Loach set - asd well as getting into a more general chat about the spectre of social realism in British film history."]

"Frederick Wiseman." The Close-Up #149 (September 20, 2017) ["First, Wiseman shares his thoughts on his work, the issues and implications of his films, and his process in a special master class from 2006. After that, the director discusses his 2013 film, At Berkeley, in one of our HBO Directors Dialogues from the 51st New York Film Festival."]

Heil, Emily and Maura Judkis. "Rape in the storage room. Groping at the bar. Why is the restaurant industry so terrible for women?" The Washington Post (November 17, 2017)

Herstik, Gabriela, Sophie Saint Thomas and Katie West. "Witchcraft, Ritual and Power." Breaking the Glass Slipper 2.22 (October 26, 2017)

Ire, Polite. "Gender Inequality and Gender Differences." Libcom (March 13, 2012)

Johnson, Adam, Nima Shirazi and Josmar Trujillo. "The Rise of Superpredator 2.0." Citations Needed (July 21, 2017)  ["... about the media narrative surrounding the rise of so-called “gang raids” that have exploded over the past three years. These high-stakes, headline-grabbing spectacles target, almost exclusively, black and brown people and are carried out by hundreds of local, state, and federal officials with little scrutiny from the media."]

Johnson, Adam, et al. "The North Korea Memory Hole." Citations Needed (July 19, 2017)

McKim, Kristi. "Great Directors: Sally Potter." Senses of Cinema #40 (July 2006)

Nash, Ken and Mimi Rosenberg. "Striking Spectrum Cable Workers' Demonstrate for a Fair Contract & Against Union Busting." Building Bridges (October 15, 2017)   ["Some 1,800 members of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 3 have been on strike at Spectrum/Time Warner Cable in New York and New Jersey since March 28, more than six months ago. Since then, only a fraction of the workforce has crossed picket lines, but the company is trying hard to keep up normal operations by using scabs and subcontractors to break the strike and the workers' union... Spectrum is part of Charter Communications, the second largest cable provider in the U.S. and a telecommunications giant, providing services to roughly 25 million customers in 41 states, two and a half million of which reside in New York. The CEO, Tom Rutledge, who made $98.5 million last year met with Donald Trump in the White House earlier this year, and the company is touted by Trump as a job creator investing in its U.S. workforce. "]

Pinkus, Karen. "Star Trek: Discovery and the Dream of Future Fuels." Los Angeles Review of Books (November 18, 2017)

"Rosemary's Baby and People Pleasers." Pop Culture Case Study #269 (September 14, 2017)

Rosenberg, Alyssa. "‘Blade Runner 2049’ is about learning that you’re not the main character in your own story." The Washington Post (October 17, 2017)

Rousseau, Erin. "The House Just Voted to Bankrupt Graduate Students." The New York Times (November 16, 2017)

Science/Technology Dialogic Cinephilia (Ongoing Archive)

Subissati, Andrea and Alexandra West. "Boxed In: Cube (1997)." Faculty of Horror #53 (September 24, 2017) ["Andrea and Alex tackle the mysterious and ever changing narrative landscape of Vincenzo Natali’s Canadian cult film, Cube (1997). From workers rights to torture porn to prime numbers, they try to solve it all before they succumb to the film’s traps and trappings."]

Varda, Agnes and JR. "Faces Places." The Close-Up (October 5, 2017)

Saturday, November 18, 2017

ENG 281/282: Thinking About Films & Filmmaking

People who think philosophy is useless also tend to think that society does not need to change. If you want to maintain the status quo, teaching people to question everything is a pretty stupid thing to do. (Existential Comics, March 21, 2018)

In a globalized world it is imperative that we begin to develop a broader awareness of the interconnected cultures and societies that influence and shape world events. Anyone remotely aware of the American social landscape must recognize that many of our citizens are unaware of the broader relations and connections of the world in which they live in. Many Americans tend to have a narrow understanding of world history, filtered as it is through ethnocentric American textbooks and mediatized narratives filtered through the lenses of the dominant center, which effectively ignores the realities of the margins (culturally, economically and socially). Many concerned citizens struggle to carve out meaning in the contemporary data stream and suffer the neglect of a mainstream media that limits itself to predigested dualistic positions. In this simplified media environment, vast regions of the world are presumed to be unable to speak for themselves and rarely, in the mainstream corporate media that serves as the news for a majority of American citizens, do we receive sustained and in-depth critical analysis of issues through the voices and experiences of multiple interested parties.
--Michael Benton, 2006

We live in the best of times in which we are able to learn about the world and its incredible diversity of cultures/beings/places/perspectives in a way never historically possible.

We live in the worst of times when we are able to isolate ourselves completely from anything different from our own narrow view/conception of the world/reality. 
The choice is yours! -- Michael Benton (January 1, 2018)

As a teacher, I'm not interested in just reproducing class after class of graduates who will get out, become successful, and take their obedient places in the slots that society has prepared for them. What we must do--whether we teach or write or make films--is educate a new generation to do this very modest thing: change the world. (15) ---Zinn, Howard. "Stories Hollywood Never Tells." The Sun #343 (July 2004): 12-15.

"What is history for? What do we want it to do? In 1731, an obscure Kentish schoolmaster named Richard Spencer offered some answers. Properly to ascertain his position in geographical space, he reasoned, required not a single map, but access to a global atlas, one that would allow him to ‘see what London and the adjacent parts are in the kingdom; what the kingdom is in Europe, and what Europe is in the universe’. Much the same, he thought, applied to history. ‘Particular histories represent to you, what things have happen’d to such or such a People, with all their circumstances,’ he explained: ‘But to understand the whole clearly, you must know what relation every history can have to others.’ Only when such connected and wide-angled histories were available, might one hope to ‘see all the order of time’." -- Linda Colley, "Wide-Angled" (2013)

"World Cinema’, to a French eye, is a very welcoming notion that could mean several different, even contradictory things. Among these, I will evoke three meanings:
1) Because of its predecessor World Music, which means the ethnic music re-arranged with electronic instruments to please Western consumers, World Cinema could function as a seductive formula for acculturation – after exploiting gold, diamond and every other kind of material resource, now the Western world is exploiting the immaterial patrimony of the rest of the world, including, of course, its own inner colonies.
2) In a much more objective, generous sense, World Cinema can mean ‘every kind of cinema that appears in the world’ – as Philippe Grandrieux might have put it, according to his historical TV experiment of 1987, The World is Everything That Happens (“le Monde est tout ce qui arrive”). The syntagm World Cinema helps to identify and evaluate non-dominant cinemas all over the planet. This is the opposite of the previous meaning: World Cinema as opposed to globalised cinema, with a hidden but obvious ‘s’ at the end of Cinema.
3) In a polemical and radical sense – conceptual rather than geographical – World Cinema means the cinema in relationship to the world, cinema in its ability to conceive and reshape the world, as opposed to the ‘fantasy cinema’ that forgets, often hides and sometimes betrays realities.
-- Nicole Berenz, "Political Cinema Today – The New Exigencies: For a Republic of Images." Screening the Past (September 2013)

What are “thoughts,” and what are “things”? and how are they connected?… Is there a common stuff out of which all facts are made?… Which is the most real kind of reality? What binds all things into one universe?
-- Terrence Malick's The Tree of Life (2011)

"The only performance that makes it, that makes it all the way, is the one that achieves madness."
-- Turner in the film Performance

Midway upon the journey of our life
I found myself within a forest dark,
For the straightforward path had been lost.
--Dante AlighieriDivine Comedy: Inferno, Song 1

Anyone who believes that every individual film must present a "balanced" picture, knows nothing about either balance or pictures.
--Edward R. Murrow

Democracy is a great conversation, a community defined by the scope and substance of its discourse.
--James David Barber

"Believing is seeing and not the other way around."
--Errol Morris

"There are in fact no masses; there are only ways of seeing people as masses.”
--Raymond Williams

"Art and humanities research begins with a desire to understand the human condition."
--Masoud Yazdani

Film matters because film is us. We as a society use the filmic form to tell stories about who we are and our society - they are a record of what makes us human and what concerns us in the everyday. ... The film form, narrative and styles with which we are so familiar, from Hollywood blockbusters to the avant-garde, shape our own personal narratives. Film offers us a language to speak to each other across national, class, economic, and racial lines - film is a phenomenon that allows us to understand cultures and people.
--Lincoln Geraghty

Until lions have their own historians, histories of the hunt will glorify the hunter.
-- African proverb

"So you lie to yourself to be happy. There's nothing wrong with that. We all do it."
--Teddy in Memento (2000)

My films are intended as polemical statements against the American ‘barrel down’ cinema and its dis-empowerment of the spectator. They are an appeal for a cinema of insistent questions instead of false (because too quick) answers, for clarifying distance in place of violating closeness, for provocation and dialogue instead of consumption and consensus.
-– Michael Haneke, “Film as Catharsis”

The question isn’t “how do I show violence?” but rather “how do I show the spectator his position vis-à-vis violence and its representation?”
-– Michael Haneke

As a scholar of transnational/eco-critical cinema, it is increasingly clear to me that cinema is one of the most efficient ways to debate political and cultural issues in a global society. This is especially the case with cinema's potential to visually capture the transnational and even global scale of ecological problems, and engage with them in a way that reaches wide global audiences. Cinema is not only a communicator of ideas and an essential component of the culture industries. It is also a crucial pedagogical tool that facilitates efficient learning and motivates participation from new generations of audiences. It can help audiences, 'old' and 'new', to rethink their place in the world, and crucially, it can also motivate them to do something about the injustices and exploitation to which they are witness.
--Pietari Kääpä

Openness exists . . .not only for the person to whom one listens, but rather anyone who listens is fundamentally open. Without this kind of openness to one another there is no genuine human relationship. Belonging together always also means being able to listen to one another.

--Hans-Georg Gadamer Truth and Method (Source)

Our human existence is rooted in sex. .... It lies at the very heart of love. Though conservatives reject the very idea as dangerous, I would say that the way to save us from our own perversity is by confronting sex courageously. ... Sex brings relief from tension and enmity and leads to harmony in human relationships--husband and wife, [friends] and strangers. (109)
Kaneto Shindō, qouted in McDonald, Keiko. "Eros, Politics, and Folk Religion: Kaneto Shindō's Onobaba (1963)." Reading a Japanese Film: Cinema in Context. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press, 2006: 108-121.

‘We do not remember, we rewrite memory much as history is rewritten’
Narrator of Chris Marker's film Sans Soleil (1983)

"The tradition of the oppressed teaches us that the ‘emergency situation’ in which we live is not the exception, but the rule.”
--Walter Benjamin, Theses on the Philosophy of History

"What is focus, and who has the right to say what is legitimate focus?
-- Julie Margaret Cameron, late 19th Century Photographer 

"Death is never the end of the story, it always leave tracks."
-- Notary Jean Label in Incendies (2010)

"We do not grow absolutely, chronologically. We grow sometimes in one dimension, and not in another; unevenly. We grow partially. We are relative. We are mature in one realm, childish in another. The past, present, and future mingle and pull us backward, forward, or fix us in the present. We are made up of layers, cells, constellations."
-- Anaïs Nin, The Diary of Anaïs Nin Vol. 4 (1971)

"Power fears poetry... Poetry resides somewhere else, somewhere inaccessible to power; it evokes sentiments, touches being, and speaks in a strange tongue." (163)
--Andy Merrifield, Magical Marxism: Subversive Politics and the Imagination (2011)

Unlike other forms of artistic expression, cinema is an "industrial form of art": in order to express itself fully, it needs ever-greater financial investments. This means that the author's artistic expression is conditioned right from the start--and it would be hypocritical not to admit this--by the capital invested. These capital sources can be motivated not just by the simple and legitimate desire for expression, but also by power groups, concentrations and lobbies of all sorts and backgrounds, who can use cinematographic media in instrumental way to advance particular interests that that have little or nothing to do with the noble--and general--principle of the freedom of expression.
--Vittorio Giacci, "Cinema, Responsibility, and Formation" (2007)

In the end, confusion is not a lack of understanding. It's more understanding. Mainstream reporting and some people in power want to make everything clear to people--at the expense of the very issues and people they deal with. They can't. If it's complicated. Leave it as complicated. Give people a chance to think.
--Kal Kim-Gibson, "Dreamland and Disillusion." (Film Quarterly: Fall 2011)

Film is often just business -- I understand that and it's not something I concern myself with. But if film aspires to be part of culture, it should do the things great literature, music and art do: elevate the spirit, help us understand ourselves and the world around us and give people the feeling they are not alone…
--Krzysztof Kieslowski, "Kieslowski’s Three Colors." (Salon: June 10, 2002)

"When a morally compromised author claims the field of aesthetics as a value-free area it should make his readers stop and think."
--W.G. Sebald, On the Natural History of Destruction (1997)

“In an age when reality is insufficiently real, how much reality can a fictional story possess?”
-- Haruki Murakami (2011)

"In most cases, it is virtually impossible to grasp a truth in its original form and depict it accurately. This is why we try to grab its tail by luring the truth from its hiding place, transferring it to a fictional location, and replacing it with a fictional form."
-- Haruki Murakami (2011)

"I think the whole point of OWS is encouraging people to reinvent democracy from different angles and from their own terms," he says. "On one hand, it's a very communal project and on the other hand, it's about individuals who are not necessarily in agreement finding ways to see things anew."
-- Chris Marker, quoted in Steve Dollar's Occupy This (2012)

“Why should an artist’s way of looking at the world have any meaning for us? Why does it give us pleasure? Because, I believe, it increases our awareness of our own potentiality.”
— John Berger, Permanent Red: Essays in Seeing (1960)

"How can I overcome the prejudices of the bits and pieces of mysteries that reside within me, and how can I break through the prejudices that are anchored in the mysteries of others, so that together with them we may create something beautiful out of something that is ugly?"
-- Vilém Flusser, The Freedom of the Migrant: Objections to Nationalism (1994)


“This time the invaders aren’t armed, but they have more damaging weapons than cannons: dollars! So that everything they touch turns to garbage. The whole country is rotten.”
--The Haitian maître d’ Albert, Heading South (2005)

“Truth is not born nor is it to be found inside the head of an individual person, it is born between people collectively searching for truth, in the process of their dialogic interaction.”
-- M.M. Bakhtin, Problems of Dostoevsky’s Poetics (1984)

Realism? Me? I’ve not a damn thing to do with it. The religious attitude to reality has never concerned me.
-- Theo Angelopoulos, cited by Raymond Durgnat in “The Long Take in Voyage to Cythera: Brecht and Marx vs. Bazin and God.” Film Comment 26.6 (November/December, 1990): 43-46

Again and again, I was forced, as any reader is, to return to my own reality, to analyze everybody's reality. A criterion, by the way, by which I would measure any work of art.
--Rainer Werner Fassbinder (1980), in The Anarchy of the Imagination (1992)

One problem with the word “shaman,” which traces its origins to the Siberian steppe, is that it is popularly employed by people more interested in fantasizing about some alternate reality than squaring their shoulders to bear the mundane burdens of this one. However, in cultures where such an office exists, the job of the shaman is primarily to foster the interrelation of two groups or positions that have hardened into such stubborn opposition that the survival of the society is at risk. For life to go on, the two camps must overcome their polemic, and the shaman acts by throwing himself into the fray—mentally, bodily, and emotionally, sometimes at personal risk. The result of his labors typically constitutes a paradigm shift rather than a compromise: the rules, though not necessarily undone, are re-contextualized and the system changes, including the position of the shaman himself.
--Matt Kirby, "I Heart Huckabees Premodern Help for Postmodern Times." (2004)

Many film-makers, including Orson Welles and the avant-gardists Maya Deren, Harry Smith, Stan Brakhage, and Kenneth Anger, identified their practice with magic – albeit in varying ways. Welles had extensive experience as a stage magician and made his last feature, the faux documentary F is For Fake precisely about cinematic sleight of hand; Deren was a serious student of Haitian vodoo; Smith considered his cut and paste animations a form of alchemy; Brakhage referred to "trick" as the medium's fundamental rule; and Anger was a disciple of Aleister Crowley, who considered making a film akin to casting a spell. (Walt Disney would have agreed.)
--J. Hoberman, "Hugo and the Magic of Film Trickery" (2012)

"I understood writing could be dangerous. I didn't realize the danger came from the machinery."
--William Lee in David Cronenberg's film "Naked Lunch" (1991)

“You know, films are a world within a world. And maybe it’s a world within a world within a world – within another world. It’s a really beautiful thing how lost we are, and we want to get even more lost sometimes.” -- David Lynch

It is clear that I must find my other half. But is it a he or a she? What does this person look like? Identical to me? Or somehow complementary? Does my other half have what I don’t? Did he get the looks? The luck? The love? Were we really separated forceably or did he just run off with the good stuff? Or did I? Will this person embarrass me? What about sex? Is that how we put ourselves back together again? Or can two people actually become one again?” — Hedwig and the Angry Inch

Now look again at that list of effects -- horrific, tragic, epic, comic, pathetic, sublime, absurd, intriguing, disgusting, shocking, thrilling, and wonderful -- a list that's not even a fraction complete. When we're talking about these effects achieved by the art we are talking about affects manifested in the audience, emotional responses of horror, awe, pity, amusement, intrigue and so on. When we're talking about an aesthetic as the set of principles underpinning these responses we're talking about a system which evaluates experience itself. We're talking about our tastes and distates, desires and fears, prejudices and perversions, the basic rules and relationships which shape our affective response to not just art but life itself. Our aesthetic sits at the very heart of our personality. When we respond with horror to a car crash, real or imaginary, it is an aesthetic reaction. When we respond with awe to a sweeping vista of canyons and mountains, it is an aesthetic judgement. When we respond to the image of two men kissing with appetence or abhorrence, that evaluation is defined by and defines our personal aesthetic. Good taste and appreciation of beauty? Screw that. An aesthetic is the set of principles that make you want to fight or fuck.
--Hal Duncan, "The Art of Life" (February 10, 2007)

"All the animals come out at night: whores, skunk pussies, buggers, queens, fairies, dopers, junkies, sick, venal. Someday a real rain will come and wash all this scum off the streets."
Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver (1976)

"Another Day witnessing existence in bewilderment."
Grandma in The Great Match (2006)

"There's never been a true war that wasn't fought between two sets of people who were certain they were in the right. The really dangerous people believe that they are doing whatever they are doing solely and only because it is without question the right thing to do. And that is what makes them dangerous."
--Wednesday, in Neil Gaiman's novel American Gods (2001)

"There are no dangerous thoughts, thinking itself is dangerous..."
-Hannah Arendt, "Thinking and Moral Considerations"(1971)

The disruption and transgression of the normative and conceptual frameworks of everyday experience, and the provision of a space within which it is possible to imagine not just the satisfaction of familiar wants unmet by existing society, but to envisage wanting something other than the satisfactions which that society endorses and simultaneously denies: above all, to desire in a different way. -- Ruth Levitas, "For Utopia: The (Limits of the) Utopian Function in Late Capitalist Society" (2001: 38-39)

The battle for the mind of North America will be fought in the video arena: the Videodrome. The television screen is the retina of the mind's eye. Therefore, the television screen is part of the physical structure of the brain. Therefore, whatever appears on the television screen emerges as raw experience for those who watch it. Therefore, television is reality, and reality is less than television.
Brian O'Blivion, in Videodrome (1983)

"Although the assembly of the shots is responsible for the structure of the film, it does not, as is generally assumed, create its rhythm; the distinct time running through the shots makes the rhythm of the picture, and the rhythm is determined not by the length of edited pieces, but by the pressure of the time that runs through them. The pieces that 'won't edit', that can't be properly joined, are those which record a radically different kind of time" -– Andrei Tarkovsky, "Sculpting in Time" (1987: 2nd edition)

"The camera exists to create a new art and to show above all what cannot be seen elsewhere: neither in theater nor in life. Otherwise, I'd have no need of it; doing photography doesn't interest me. That, I leave to the photographer." -- Max Ophüls

“When I say this is the most important motion picture you’ll ever attend, my motivation is not financial gain, but a firm belief that the delicate fabric that holds all of us together will be ripped apart unless every man, woman, and child in this country sees this film and pays full ticket price, not some bargain matinee cut-rate deal. In the event that you find certain sequences or events confusing, please bear in mind this is your fault, not ours. You will need to see the picture again and again until you understand everything.” —Steven Soderbergh in Schizopolis (1996)

“The process of coming to know oneself, confronting one’s contingency, tracking one’s causes home, is identical with the process of inventing a new language—that is, of thinking up some new metaphors.” -- Richard Rorty, Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity (1989)

"If his was more than just a vague ambition, if he was absolutely determined to discover the truth, there's no way we could prevent him." -- Christof, The Truman Show (1998)

"The artist seeks to destroy the stability by which society lives, for the sake of drawing closer to the ideal. Society seeks stability, the artist—infinity. The artist is concerned with absolute truth, and therefore gazes ahead and sees things sooner than other people.” ­ -- Andrei Tarkovsky, Sculpting in Time (1987: 2nd edition)

"It is the particular distinction of Denis’ cinema that sets it apart from – almost, indeed, in opposition to – the work of many of our most celebrated ‘arthouse’ directors: Bergman, for example, or Fellini or Antonioni. Their films are rooted in autobiography – not necessarily in any literal sense, but in terms of personal introspection – whereas Denis left autobiography behind with Chocolat, and even that film is notable for its poise and critical distance, its objectivity. Where Bergman or Fellini seems to be saying to us ‘Come with me and I’ll tell you my secrets, share my experiences – how I feel about things, my thoughts about existence’, Denis issues a very different invitation to the spectator: ‘Come with me and we’ll play a game, albeit a serious one. Let’s see how much you can notice in what I decide to show you, how you interpret what you see and hear, what connections you can make, how much can be explained and how much remains mysterious and uncertain, as so much in our lives remains unclear. I’ll allow you a certain leeway of interpretation, because I don’t always understand everything myself, not even my own creations, though I’ll be as precise as possible…’" -- Robin Wood, "Only (Dis)Connect; and Never Relaxez-Vous; or, ‘I Can’t Sleep’" (2011)

"I owe Armenia a cinematographic confession. A sort of personal bible: my mother, my father, my childhood, my imprisonment. My vision of dreams... the ghosts seek shelter with me, their living heir. But I can’t take them in. I have to tell the police that they’re staying with me. They know neither electricity nor insurance agents. They know no evil. They want to stay with me. I have to prove I love them." -- Sergei Parajanov, quoted in "Deep Red: Joanne Nucho on The Color of Pomegranates (2004)

"In the old days, when you couldn't show sex on film, directors like Hitchcock had metaphors for sex (trains going into tunnels, etc). When you can show more realistic sex, the sex itself can be a metaphor for other parts of the character's lives. The way people express themselves sexually can tell you a lot about who they are. Some people ask me, 'Couldn't you have told the same story without the explicitness?'. They don't ask whether I could've done Hedwig without the songs. Why not be allowed to use every paint in the paintbox?" --John Cameron Mitchell, "How to Shoot Sex: A Docu-Primer" (2007): Shortbus Region 1 DVD release (Th!nk Film)

"The character of any age is tellingly revealed in the popular representation of intimacy. For all the sexualisation of our culture, we live in strangely repressed times: a late-night, infrared fumble on Big Brother is front-page news. While the online porn industry, with its humourless siliconed stereotypes, is worth a reported $10bn a year - more than the cumulative box-office receipts of Hollywood - real human sexual relationships, vulnerable and fun, are hardly anywhere to be seen." --Tim Adams, "Everbody's Doing It..." (2006)

Porter's experiments, however fumbling they appear in hindsight, point us to a curious quandary at the heart of filmmaking: what is it that makes cutting work? How is it that we accept such a violent transition — whether it be from a wide shot to a close-up, from Paris to the Sahara desert, or from the seventeenth century to the present — as a cut? "Nothing in our day-to-day experience seems to prepare us for such a thing," Walter Murch observes. "From the moment we get up in the morning until we close our eyes at night, the visual reality we perceive is a continuous stream of linked images: In fact, for millions of years — tens, hundreds of millions of years — life on Earth has experienced the world in this way. Then suddenly, at the beginning of the twentieth century, human beings were confronted with something else — edited film." What prepared them for this? Not painting, not theater, not even literature, cinematic as some of Dickens's scenes now appear. Murch speculates that it was dreams. "We accept the cut because it resembles the way images are juxtaposed in our dreams," he writes. "In the darkness of the theater, we say to ourselves, in effect, 'This looks like reality, but it cannot be reality because it is so visually discontinuous; therefore, it must be a dream.'" Director John Huston saw it differently. Cinema, he said, was not just a reflection of our dream lives but the very essence of conscious thought, with its fitful jumble of visuals and sound: "To me the perfect film is as though it were unwinding behind your eyes, and your eyes were projecting it themselves, so that you were seeing what you wished to see. It's like thought. It's the closest to thought process of any art." Watch the final moments of his film The Dead (1987) and you'll have some idea of what he's talking about. As Gabriel Conroy (Donal McCann) gazes out the frosty filigree of his Dublin window, somberly musing on the emptiness of his life, the film, with no more than a few simple cuts, slips aboard his stream of consciousness as it glides from thought to thought: from past memories to future projections to the lonely churchyard on the hill where his wife's lover lies buried.
--Graham Daesler, "Cutter's Way: The Mysterious Art of Film Editing." (2012)

A TV show can’t hold people and institutions to account like good journalism can. But if I can make you care about a character, I may make you think a little longer about certain dynamics that might cause you to reconsider your own political inertia or your own political myopia. You might be more willing to accept a critique of the prevailing political and social systems.
--David Simon: quoted in Julia Leyda, "'This Complicated, Colossal Failure': The Abjection of Creighton Bernette in HBO's Treme." (2012)

The moment of violence in films is never arbitrary or innocent. Yet, there is no singular reading or simple yardstick that can be used to either condone or condemn how violence is represented, taken up by diverse audiences, or used to maximize pleasure so as to give it a liberatory or fascist edge. Cinematic violence can be used to probe the depths of everyday life in ways that expand one's understanding of tyranny and domination; it can also be used to maximize the sleazy side of pleasure, reinforce demeaning stereotypes, or provoke cheap voyeurism. Cinematic violence operates on many registers and any theoretical and pedagogical attempt to deal with complex representations of violence must be discriminatory in taking up such distinctions. As widespread as the culture of violence might be, it is especially imperative that educators, parents, citizens, and cultural workers challenge the representations of violence that have become a defining principle of the visual media. Such a challenge needs to be enunciated critically as part of a broader public policy to both protect youth and to enable them to discern between the violence of the spectacle and a representational violence that allows them to identify with the suffering of others, display empathy, and bring their own ethical commitments to bear.
--Henry A. Giroux, "Racism and the Aesthetic of Hyperreal Violence: Pulp Fiction and Other Visual Tragedies." (1995)

“The concept of ‘obscenity’ is tested when one dares to look at something that he has an unbearable desire to see but has forbidden himself to look at. When one feels that everything that one had wanted to see has been revealed, ‘obscenity’ disappears, the taboo disappears as well, and there is a certain liberation.”

--Nagisa Oshima, quoted in Oshima in Words and Images

“To the leaders of the cinema still to come, I can offer only a few words drawn from my modest experience. You must ceaselessly formulate and sharpen your critical views, both of others and of yourselves.” --Nagisa Oshima, quoted in Oshima in Words and Images

"Film matters, among other things, because it has an extraordinary capacity to expand our reality, to deepen our moral sensibility, and to shape our self-understandings, sometimes by moving us closer to cultures, problems, and realities that are distant from those we know well. That said, I think it is far from being the case that all films matter. The task, I think, for film scholars in the future will be to help to ensure that films that genuinely do matter continue to get made, and that they receive the attention they deserve."--Matte Hjort, "Film ... has an extraordinary capacity to expand our reality." Why Does Film Matter (Intellect Books, 2008)

"Sex is just another brushstroke in the painting of life. Fear of sex is at the root of many problems that aren't directly connected to sex."--John Cameron Mitchell discussing Shortbus (2006)

“The observer, when he seems to himself to be observing a stone, is really, if physics is to be believed, observing the effects of the stone upon himself.” -- Bertrand Russell, An Inquiry Into Meaning and Truth (1950)

“At a certain point, I felt so useless!” said Roberto Rossellini. Never before had technology accomplished such miracles. Yet everywhere the world was confronting crises. Never before had civilization so needed us all to understand the great problems—food, water, energy. Yet everywhere, especially in contemporary art, there was nothing but cruelty and complaining. The mass media, Rossellini charged, were accomplishing “a sort of cretinization of adults.” Rather than illuminate people, their great effort seemed to be to subjugate them, “to create slaves who think they’re free.” -- quoted by Tag Gallagher

"What's the most resilient parasite? An idea. A single idea from the human mind can build cities. An idea can transform the world and rewrite all the rules. -- Cobb in the film Inception (2010)

"The fact is that war changes men's natures. The barbarities of war are seldom committed by abnormal men. The tragedy of war is that the horrors are committed by normal men in abnormal situations … I say that we cannot hope to judge such matters unless we ourselves have been submitted to the same pressures and the same provocations as these men whose actions are on trial." -- The character Major J.F. Thomas in Breaker Morant (1980)

“Originally, the embeddedness of an artwork in the context of a tradition found expression in a cult. As we know, the earliest artworks originated in the service of other words: the unique value of the ‘authentic’ work of art always has its basis in ritual.” —Walter Benjamin, "The Work of Art in the Age of Its Technological Reproducibility" (1936)

"You're television incarnate, Diana: indifferent to suffering; insensitive to joy. All of life is reduced to the common rubble of banality. War, murder, death are all the same to you as bottles of beer. And the daily business of life is a corrupt comedy." -- Max Schumacher in Network (1976)

"It is a truism too often forgotten that what begins as movie can end up as history. Writing in The New York Review of Books, Oliver Sacks reminds us that Ronald Reagan was fond of telling a story on the campaign trail about a heroic WWII bomber pilot going down with his plane; it later came out that this was not a historical event at all, but a scene from a the movie A Wing and a Prayer. In the aftermath of 9/11, initiating the manhunt for Bin Laden, George Bush memorably declared that "There's an old poster out West that I recall that said, 'Wanted — Dead or Alive.'" This is a phrase far more common in cinema than it ever was in real life. In neither case was the politician lying, or probably even aware that his memories of movies had become so mingled with his memories of history that the two could not be separated. They were simply employing for rhetorical purposes what they believed to be truths about American history." -- Tyler Sage, "Tarantino and Spielberg: Two Visions of America" (2013)

"The struggle for self-determination, the struggle for what a character wants his life to be…I look for characters who feel strongly enough about something not to be concerned with the prevailing odds, but to struggle against those odds." -- Robert Aldritch (1976)

"Existing criminology is insufficient to isolate barbarism. It is insufficient because the idea of "crime" in existing criminology is artificial, for what is called crime is really an infringement of "existing laws", whereas "laws" are very often a manifestation of barbarism and violence. Such are the prohibiting laws of different kinds which abound in modern life. The number of these laws is constantly growing in all countries and, owing to this, what is called crime is very often not a crime at all, for it contains no element of violence or harm. On the other hand, unquestionable crimes escape the field of vision of criminology, either because they have not recognized the form of crime or because they surpass a certain scale. In existing criminology there are concepts: a criminal man, a criminal profession, a criminal society, a criminal sect, and a criminal tribe, but there is no concept of a criminal state, or a criminal government, or criminal legislation. Consequently what is often regarded as "political" activity is in fact a criminal activity. This limitation of the field of vision of criminology together with the absence of an exact and permanent definition of the concept of crime is one of the chief characteristics of our culture." -- P.D. Ouspensky, A New Model of the Universe (Second Edition, 1934)

“There's a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious—makes you so sick at heart—that you can't take part. You can't even passively take part. And you've got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you've got to make it stop. And you've got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it that unless you're free, the machine will be prevented from working at all.” ― Mario Savio, December 2, 1964

"People define gay cinema solely by content: if there are gay characters in it, it's a gay film . . . It's such a failure of the imagination, let alone the ability to look beyond content . . . Heterosexuality to me is a structure as much as it is a content. It is an imposed structure that goes along with the patriarchal, dominant structure that constrains and defines society. If homosexuality is the opposite or counter-sexual activity to that, then what kind of a structure would it be?" -- Todd Haynes, quoted in "Structural/Sexual Transgression: Todd Haynes' Poison as a Critique of Homonormativity" (2013)

“I love the idea that knowledge can make us closer to the world, as opposed to make us feel superior to the world.”— Guillermo del Toro (2012)

DialogicResources for April 1, 2014

Niamh Bolton reminded me of this: "This inability to think created the possibility for many ordinary men to commit evil deeds on a gigantic scale; the likes in which one has never seen before...The manifestation of the wind of thought is not knowledge...but the ability to tell right from wrong, beautiful from ugly, and I hope that thinking gives the strengths to prevent catastrophes in these rare moments when the chips are down." -- Hannah Arendt in Margaretha von Trotta's 2012 film Hannah Arendt

Emily Hensley's ENG 282 Spring 2014 response to the film Even the Rain: "Prior to watching this film I had never heard of these Water Wars. I find it very disturbing that I have been so secluded to what has been going on all around me. When this happened I was in high school and it either wasn’t taught and/or most likely I wasn’t highly concerned with current events around the world. However, now looking back I feel saddened that I have been so oblivious to what others have been through. I feel that I have learned more in this class by watching these films than I ever have over my entire life span. I’m truly grateful to have a new outlook upon life and the world we live in. I realize now that these events do matter not only because these people "matter" and they are “important” but also because one day I may not be so lucky… these horrors may come knocking at my door."

"Our lives are not our own. From womb to tomb, we are bound to others. Past and present. And by each crime and every kindness, we birth our future." -- Cloud Atlas (2012)

Film study needs to probe its limit cases – those films, directors, moments, genres and practices which return insistently to needle it, dropping an un-ignorable boodle just beyond the gates of the currently sayable and thinkable within critical writing. A reconnaissance mission for those zones of the cinema, and our experience of cinema, which are livelier, messier and more open than our present intellectual tools can allow for and accommodate. A search for a cinema of edges – hard edges, lines out, explosive paradoxes. The cinema that draws us on towards it – dumbfounding us, yet daring us, all the while, to try to speak of it. -- Adrian Martin, "Sixteen Ways to Pronounce Potato, or: The Adventure of Materials" (1987)

"Following the views of Paul Ricoeur and David Carr, I argue that our life is best understood as the product of our own narration: we account for the meaning of our lives in the terms of a story about what we have done and who we plan to be, selectively emphasizing and interpreting life's events into a unified whole, like the plot of a novel. If this view is correct, and I believe there is good reason to think it is, then the creation of a meaningful life and the imposition of meaning on the world around us is a creative process that is not dissimilar to the creation of a film. Films are realistic, I contend, not because they reflect the world the way it really is, but because they reflect the world the way we experience it - as a process of choosing among narratives we inherit from our cultural traditions and finding, or creating, our own reading of events. In short, films are realistic portrayals of how we encounter life in the one aspect that is crucial for this book: the way in which we establish meaning (5)." -- Pamerleau, William C. Existentialist Cinema. NY: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009.

"The word the word for what I do and the role that the filmmaker has in society...the griot is a messenger of one's time, a visionary and the creator of the future." -Djibril Diop Mambéty (2014)

"The common denominator of the universe is not harmony, but chaos, hostility, and murder."-- Werner Herzog

“To be frank, I think his world had vanished long before he even entered it. But I must say, he maintained the illusion with grace.” -- Zero about Gustave H. (2014)

"The writings of André Bazin regarding cinematic fictions make for an interesting point of comparison. Bazin snapped into focus something that had been present for, but not as forcefully articulated by, previous thinkers about cinema, which is that there is a tripleness to watching fiction film. We watch, as it were, with three eyes: 1) attuned to the proceedings as artifice, as projected light arranged in patterns that tell a story; 2) attuned to the proceedings of the story; and 3) attuned to the proceedings as their own reality, as documents of events that actually took place. When we watch the opening of The Searchers, we simultaneously see: A) a human cipher made of light approach a house made of the same; B) Ethan Edwards return from the Civil War; and C) John Wayne ride a horse up to a solid-seeming building." -- Tom McCormack (2011)

Eve: “Can you tell your wife what your problem is?”

Adam: “It’s these zombies and the way they treat the world. I just feel like all of the sand is at the bottom of the hourglass or something.”

Eve: “Time to turn it over then.” Only Lovers Left Alive (2013)

"It was in the reign of George III that the aforesaid personages lived and quarreled; good or bad, handsome or ugly, rich or poor, they are all equal now." -- Barry Lyndon (1975)

“I think hard times are coming when we will be wanting the voices of writers who can see alternatives to how we live now and can see through our fear-stricken society.... We will need writers who can remember freedom.” -- Ursula K. LeGuin, 2014 National Book Award Acceptance Speech

"And that was the nature of my game, because I'd spent most of my life as a blind receptacle to be filled with other people's knowledge and then drained, spouting synthetic languages I'd never understand. A very technical boy, sure." - William Gibson, "Johnny Mnemonic" (1981)

“Point of view is usually only conspicuous when it is oppositional. The dominant, prevailing point of view remains invisible or apparently neutral and objective” (14) -- Sally Potter in "The Prospects for Political Cinema Today" Cineaste 37.1 (2011): 6-17.

" I would say that life understood is life lived. But, the paradoxes bug me, and I can learn to love and make love to the paradoxes that bug me, and on really romantic evenings of self, I go salsa dancing with my confusion." - Timothy "Speed" Levitch in Richard Linklater's 2002 film Waking Life

"Harun [Farocki’s premise was the insight that we do not even have any new images of capitalism yet. Sure, we have these airport boarding zones, where we see modern people with laptops, reading high-gloss magazines, wearing Rolexes and Burberry clothes. All this is only a surface, but we do not have images for how this new form of capitalism operates. We have books about it, but we do not find those images in films. In cinema, capitalism is still being imaged as Charles Chaplin did in Modern Times (1936)." - Abel, Marco. “The Cinema of Identification Gets on My Nerves: An Interview with Christian Petzold.” Cineaste 33.3 (Summer 2008)

"The only way he could heal was to learn how to dream. ... Before he can become a warrior, a man has to leave everything behind and go into the jungle, guided only by his dreams. In that journey he has to discover completely alone, who he really is. Some get lost and never come back. Those who do, will be ready to face all that will come." - The shaman Karamakate in Ciro Guerra's 2015 film Embrace of the Serpent

In contrast to many liberals, who view truth and power as often opposed, Nietzsche believed that what we understand as “the truth” is itself always a function of power — the power to dominate how people think about reality. In this view, competing conservative and liberal accounts of global warming, health care, and the Iraq war are part of larger power struggles over describing reality. Nietzsche would ask us to be skeptical of those claiming to be simply telling the truth. Efforts to declare some accounts about reality to be true and others false is always a power move. He meant this not as an indictment of power; he considered the will to power to be the essence of  life itself. Instead, he was denouncing the notion of truth as innocent of power plays. 
While not going so far as to say that all accounts of reality are accurate, he was saying that all truths must be understood as both perspectival and contingent. Because we all have different bodies, origins, histories, and standpoints, we all have different perspectives and accept different things as true, frequently changing our views over a lifetime. This view foreshadowed the view endorsed by much of today’s cognitive science, social psychology, and behavioral economics, which view reason as more a slave to instinct and power than the other way around. 
Nietzsche leaves us with a notion of objectivity as multiple, fractured, partial, and contingent:1
There is only a perspective seeing, only a perspective “knowing”; and the more affects we allow to speak about one thing, the more eyes, different eyes, we can use to observe one thing, the more complete will our “concept” of this thing, our “objectivity” be.
In place of God’s eye we would have countless eyes with divided perspectives, unconsciously projecting mental preconceptions onto external reality. What results is a kind of deep pluralism — not simply the recognition of different socioeconomic standpoints, but also an acknowledgment of the ways in which these perspectives are shaped by animal instincts, culture, and ideology. If we want the fullest picture of a thing, we need to consult other people’s perspectives, and the more we consult, the better.  -- Kathleen Higgins, "Post-Truth Pluralism: The Unlikely Political Wisdom of Nietzsche." (September 2013)

"The screen is a neutral element in the film-going experience. Or is it? It projects dreams but is also the receptacle of our dreams. It’s the vehicle for delivering the image to an audience — but does it also watch the audience at the same time? Is it a complicitous membrane which audience members can penetrate and which interacts with the spectators, despite its seeming passivity? Maybe — to all of the above …" -- Mark Rappoport, "The Empty Screen." (February 6, 2017)

No matter how commodified and domesticated the fantastic in its various forms might be, we need fantasy to think the world, and to change it. — China Miéville, "Thinking Weirdly with China Miéville." (January 13, 2018)

Authors and artists, like doctors and clinicians, can themselves be seen as profound symptomoligists, ... 'physicians of culture' for whom phenomena are signs or symptoms that reflect a certain state of forces. -- Daniel W. Smith, "'A Life of Pure Immanence'" (1998)

Ask any linguist and they’ll tell you the profound impact language has on influencing our culture. The words we speak express our thoughts, and science has shown that the structures within our language shape how we construct and understand our reality. - Hishaam Siddiqi, "How to Talk About ISIS Without Islamophobia." (July 18, 2016)

There is only one holistic system of systems. One . . . interwoven, interacting, multi-variate, multinational dominion of dollars. . . . It is the international system of currency which determines the totality of life on this planet. That is the natural order of things today. That is the atomic—and subatomic—and galactic structure of things today. . . . There is no America. There is no democracy. There is only IBM and IT&T and AT&T, and DuPont, Dow, Union Carbide, and Exxon. Those are the nations of the world today. . . . The world is a college of corporations, inexorably determined by the immutable by-laws of business. The world is a business, Mr. Beale. It has been since man crawled out of the slime. -- Arthur Jensen in Sydney Lumet's 1976 film Network (cited in "The World is a Business." )

 No other program has ever done anything remotely like what this one does, namely to portray the social, political, and economic life of an American city with the scope, observational precision, and moral vision of great literature. . . . The drama repeatedly cuts from the top of Baltimore’s social structure to its bottom, from political fund-raisers in the white suburbs to the subterranean squat of a homeless junkie. . . . The Wire’s political science is as brilliant as its sociology. It leaves The West Wing, and everything else television has tried to do on this subject, in the dust. --  Sheehan, Helena and Sheamus Sweeney. "The Wire and the World." Jacobin (March 10, 2018)

If I spoke about it – if I did – what would I tell you? I wonder. Would I tell you about the time … Or would I tell you about the place … Would I tell you about her? The princess without voice. Or perhaps I would just warn you, about the truth of these facts. And the tale of love and loss. And the monster, who tried to destroy it all. - Giles, The Shape of Water (2017)
People who think philosophy is useless also tend to think that society does not need to change. If you want to maintain the status quo, teaching people to question everything is a pretty stupid thing to do. (Existential Comics, March 21, 2018)

“Haven’t you ever been put in a new situation and found that, after overcoming its difficulties, you had developed a new set of skills and new experiences along the way?” -- Geometry teacher in Margaret (Kenneth Lonnergan, 2011)

When you least expect it, nature has cunning ways of finding our weakest spot. - Mr. Perlman

We rip out so much of ourselves to be cured of things faster than we should that we go bankrupt by the age of thirty and have less to offer each time we start with someone new. But to make yourself feel nothing so as not to feel anything - what a waste! - Mr. Perlman (Call Me By Your Name 2017)

“Will Graham, the detective in Manhunter, finds himself trapped, stuck to some degree in madness and nightmare. It bores me to present the events of the story in a realist style. My approach instead is to conceptualize the elements of the plot, taking into consideration the various torments of the human spirit. My aim is to exteriorize the spiritual in the Expressionist manner, and this always leads me to reject realism. What drew me to the story was its connection to the essence of evil, which emerges in the process of dehumanization that leads a simple human being with no exceptional past to become a killer capable of the most terrible atrocities. And when the victims cease being human beings, they become morsels… bits of matter. I want to understand just what this is all about, and also something about dangerous psychopaths, as well as the influence of social context on the behavior of individuals, such as fascism, genocide. This was the theme I explored in The Keep, whose action is set during the Second World War.” Michael Mann 2018

"Believing in a ‘female gaze’ means believing in a ‘male gaze,’ and I sincerely hope we’re moving more towards a world not bound by gender binaries. I believe in Laura Mulvey’s theory of the male gaze deeply, but I find it difficult to address now because as we fight towards gender equality it also means redefining old terms. But I also understand that as a female-identifying cinematographer it is important to establish what qualities I attribute to my work, and I’d more call it an emotional gaze. I try to approach every subject with a level of respect and love; I’d say the ‘male’ gaze wishes to devour, conquer, and control. The future is a loss of ego—an abandonment of the concept of the director as the sole auteur, a participation in a new set structure and deteriorating, old power dynamics. I want to visually traverse new territories with a sensitivity and a commitment to putting work out in the world that doesn’t feed into a purely capitalistic machine." -- Ashley Connor (Cinematographer of The Miseducation of Cameron Post) quoted in the The Female Gaze (2018)

When he was US commander in Afghanistan, General David Petraeus declared what he called "a war of perception... conducted continuously using the news media". What really mattered was not the facts but the way the story played in the United States. The undeclared enemy was, as always, an informed and critical public at home. 
Nothing has changed. In the 1970s, I met Leni Riefenstahl, Hitler's film-maker, whose propaganda mesmerised the German public. 
She told me the "messages" of her films were dependent not on "orders from above", but on the "submissive void" of an uninformed public. 
"Did that include the liberal, educated bourgeoisie?" I asked.

"Everyone," she said. "Propaganda always wins, if you allow it." 
-- "Guest Media Alert by John Pilger: 'Hold the front page. The reporters are missing'" (September 20, 2018)
Best Latin American Film at Spain's GOYA Awards. Plus, Top honor/film at Directors Guild of America! Here's an excerpt from Alfonso Cuaron's acceptance speech: “The language of cinema, like the universe, is constantly expanding. The true cinema ignores walls, both real and imagined. More than 11 million domestic workers are migrants. When we vilify them, call them criminals and rapists, we minimize ourselves.” [via San Diego Latino Film Festival: February 3, 2019]

"It is tempting to suppose that movies are hard to remember the way dreams are, and that is not a bad analogy. As with dreams, you do sometimes find yourself remembering moments in a film, and a procedure in trying to remember is to find your way back to a characteristic mood the thing has left you with." - Stanley Cavell "A World Viewed." (1971)

In depicting what it means to be a woman in the 20th century, 20th Century Women envisions a broader, more progressive view of gender. It seeks to define “man” and “woman” so as to underscore a common humanity in an historical process that increasingly excludes that commonality. Dorothea’s decision to enlist Abbie and Julie in raising Jamie — “He likes you and you. He likes you a lot.” — focuses on the emotional connection that defines our relationships, not the culturally defined characteristics of “man” or “woman.” While Dorothea views Jamie as “all men,” she also acknowledges that he is not. Gender, a form of cultural mythology, does not – and need not — wholly define us. The film’s depiction of gender depends upon its creation of a sense of history, drawing upon our awareness of the present so as to openly place within that context our past. Our relationship with one another, including gender, defines our body politic, our culture, but history informs both. Mills’ film generously adopts a collective – and optimistic — view of humanity insofar as we may evolve in our understanding and development of gender. His film is clearly autobiographical. “Like the kid in the film, I grew up with a strong mom, two older sisters, and mostly with women.” Yet it’s also self-critical. “I’ve spent most my life trying to figure out women from an outsider’s perspective…”[46] It thereby lays the foundation for possible future understandings and political progress. -- Roger Alpert, "20th Century Women: Gender and the politics of history." (2018)

So, let’s break this down. In educational terms, constructivism is a pedagogical approach which stresses the ways people form mental models of the world through their experiences acting on the physical world. Bordwell is interested in how something similar occurs as we watch movies. We start with some basic mental template -- some model of the world, some understanding of genres as particular kinds of films, some grasp of the mode of production from which the film emerged, some sense of the social world around us and thus how the film fits into current political and social debates. 
A cognitivist would call such templates schemata or above, mental representations. The more experienced we are at watching films of a certain kind, the more nuanced our schemata is. But the schemata becomes the starting point for making sense of what takes place on screen. We form speculations about what is going to take place, who the characters are, what motivates their actions, what their goals are, and what might constitute a satisfying resolution of this narrative. We are moving from sometimes limited information presented on the screen towards fuller understandings of the action as the film progresses. This requires a process of going beyond the information given, to use a term from Jerome Bruner, and thus, our suppositions can be frustrated or corrected by whatever passes on the screen next. Our schemata tell us what to pay attention to, but in turn, the film’s information gets added to our ongoing mental models. The key point here is that the process is active — one of hypothesis formation, testing, and refinement which does not stop when the film is over. We draw on these same schemata when we talk with our friends over sodas after the screening. Part of what media educators do is to help students develop more nuanced schemata to better understand and critically engage with the media they consume. In that sense, we might see Bordwell’s work as a formalist as mapping the norms and practices surrounding particular kinds of cinema and his work as a cognitivist in refining our understanding of the spectator’s processing of the cinematic experience. -- Henry Jenkins, "What the Media Literacy Movement Can Learn from David Bordwell..." Confessions of An ACA-Fan (February 19, 2018)
"Let us sing a new song, tell a new story; one which, mindful of the ancient tales, takes its inspiration from science. Let us search for the permanent among the fleeting and mutable, for that which endures through the spectacle of ceaseless change. Let us discover the eternal, the good." - Terrence Malick's note in the original script for The Tree of Life (2011)