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November 26 , 2007

The Intervals of Cinema


An essential analysis of cinema from one of the great figures of French philosophy.

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The foremost philosopher of art argues for a new politics of looking.The theorists of art and film commonly depict the modern audience as aesthetically and politically passive. In response, both artists and thinkers have sought to transform the spectator into an active agent and the spectacle into a communal performance. In this follow-up to the…

Cinema, like language, can be said to exist as a system of differences. In his latest book, acclaimed philosopher Jacques Rancière looks at cinematic art in comparison to its corollary forms in literature and theatre. From literature, he argues, cinema takes its narrative conventions, while at the same time effacing literature’s images and philosophy; and film rejects theatre, while also fulfilling theatre’s dream. Built on these contradictions, the cinema is the real, material space in which one is moved by the spectacle of shadows. Thus, for Rancière, film is the perpetually disappointed dream of a language of images.

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