Circulating within The Postmodern Cinematic Image
Name of lecturer(s)
Erik Sherman RORABACK
Learning outcomes of the course unit
By the end of the course students will:
-learn both - how to watch a film and how to use other disciplines to throw more clear light on the cultural form of cinema
-recognize a different perspective on the development of an important and influential cultural form of the twentieth century, the cultural system of film
Mode of study
lecture plus discussion
Prerequisites and co-requisites
The aim of this course is to awaken for the active spectator, in terms of aesthetics, cultural capital, and politics, new utopian ways of being, dreaming, interpreting, looking, and thinking as so many forms of “labor” and of “movement”. Combining these will promote an ecology of dialectical questioning and thinking about new, utopian post-capitalist forms of beauty, equality, and freedom for the twenty-first century. These movement and labor forms are dialectically subject within the space of the cinematic frame and institution to both regressive-capitalist and progressive-emancipatory-post-capitalist forms of “circulation”. The seminar thus draws on, and explores egalitarian and novel non-hegemonic ways of engaging gestures, ideas, images, and scenes in films from a range of postmodernist/postwar global films and world-auteurs: Chantal Akerman (Belgium), Michelangelo Antonioni (Italy), Rainer Werner Fassbinder (Germany), Terrence Malick (USA), Alain Resnais (France), Andrei Tarkovsky (USSR), and Orson Welles (USA). Cinema as the art of forms of movement thus will be evaluated anew. Attention will be given to those cinematic moments and scenes that teach and that train us in new non-dominatory and emancipated viewing strategies of movement and circulation as so many utopian forms of thinking, looking, and individual/collective being. In so doing, we consider arts and forms of movement and circulation as not only subject to capitalist commodification, but also as modes of active engagement, interpretation, and thinking that take place precisely in a shared space for post-capitalist common content, creation, and thought in post-capitalist and emancipated utopian forms of circulation. The role of cinematic silence and of the unconscious in film culture will also be given critical coverage.
Critical and theoretical literature engaged will include film aesthetics, criticism, and philosophy from Theodor W. Adorno (Germany), Giorgio Agamben (Italy), Nico Baumbach (USA), André Bazin (France), Jonathan Beller (USA), Walter Benjamin (Germany), Leo Bersani-Ulysse Dutoit (USA), Jan Campbell (UK), David A. Cook (USA), Gilles Deleuze (France), Mark Fisher (UK), Janet Harbord (UK), Georges Didi-Huberman (France), Owen Hulatt (USA), Fredric Jameson (USA), Niklas Luhmann (Germany), Todd McGowan (USA), Edgar Morin (France), Hannah Patterson (USA), Jacques Rancière (France), Josh Robinson (USA), Erik S. Roraback (USA/Czechia), Nicolás Salazar Sutil (UK), Steven Shaviro (USA), Bernard Stiegler, (France), Robert T. Tally Jr. (USA), François Truffaut (France), and Slavoj Žižek (Slovenia/UK). Cultural Mobility: A Manifesto by Stephen Greenblatt (USA), inter alia, will also be engaged. All films are either in English or have English inter-titles or sub-titles. Clips and special features will also be shown. The course is conducted in English and consists of three clock hour long sessions (i.e., four academic hours) to allow sufficient time for both the screenings and for seminar lecture/discussion. Strategically, we shall engage our target pictures in an unorthodox counter chronological way in order to undercut overly facile teleological ways of thinking and of reasoning; it will also provide us with a different perspective on the development of the cultural system of film.
The course covers following topics:
American Neo-Noir and the American Sublime
The Chantal Akerman Phenomenon
Das Neue Kino: Fassbinder (New German Cinema)
Soviet Cinema, Icon Art, and the Medieval
Post French New Wave Cinema, Life, and Death
The French New Wave and Cinematic Hallucinations
After Italian Neorealism and Contemporary Eros
American Film Noir
The Euroamerican Sublime
Recommended or required reading
Agamben, Giorgio: Profanations, trans. Jeff Fort (Zone, 2007).
_ . Infancy and History: On the Destruction of Experience, trans. Liz Heron (Verso, 2007).
Baumbach, Nico: Cinema/Politics/Philosophy (Columbia, 2019).
Beller, Jonathan. The Cinematic Mode of Production: Attention Economy and the Society of the Spectacle (Dartmouth/New England, 2006).
Benjamin, Walter: selected texts from the series of volumes with Harvard Univ. Press to be announced.
Bersani, Leo and Ulysse Dutoit: Arts of Impoverishment: Beckett, Rothko, Resnais (Harvard, 1993).
_ . Forms of Being: Cinema, Aesthetics, Subjectivity (BFI, 2004).
Bird, Robert: Andrei Rublev. (BFI, 2004).
Campbell, Jan. Film & Cinema Spectatorship (Polity, 2005).
Casetti, Francesco: Eye of the Century: Film, Experience, Modernity, trans. Erin Larkin with Jennifer Pranolo (Columbia, 2008).
Conrad, Peter: The Mysteries of Cinema: Movies and Imagination (Thames & Hudson, 2021).
Cook, David A.: A History of Narrative Film (Norton, 2004).
Cruz, Cynthia: The Melancholia of Class: A Manifesto for the Working Class (Repeater, 2021).
Deleuze, Gilles: Cinema 1: The Movement-Image, trans. Hugh Tomlinson and Barbara Habberjam
_ . Cinema 2: The Time-Image, trans. Hugh Tomlinson and Robert Galeta (Minnesota, 1989).
Didi-Huberman, Georges: The Eye of History: When Images Take Positions, trans. Shane B. Lillis. (RIC, 2018)/MIT, 2018).
Docherty, Thomas: Literature and Capital (Bloomsbury, 2018).
Durham, Scott and Dilip Gaonkar, With an afterword by Jacques Rancière: Distributions of the Sensible: Rancière, between Aesthetics and Politics (Northwestern, 2019).
Fisher, Mark: The Weird And The Eerie (Repeater, 2016).
Heylin, Clinton. Despite the System: Orson Welles Versus the Hollywood Studios (Canongate, 2005).
Jameson, Fredric: Archaeologies of the Future: The Desire Called Utopia and Other Science Fictions (Verso, 2005).
_ . Raymond Chandler: The Detections of Totality (Verso, 2016).
_ . The Geopolitical Aesthetic: Cinema and Space in the World System (Indiana, 1995).
Lambert, Gregg: “The Brain is the Screen: An Interview with Gilles Deleuze” in Flaxman, Gregory, ed., The
Brain is the Screen: Deleuze and the Philosophy of Cinema (Minnesota, 2000).
Le Fanu, Mark: “Stalker” in The Cinema of Andrei Tarkovsky (BFI, 1987) pp. 92–107.
Luhmann, Niklas: The Reality of the Mass Media, trans. Kathleen Cross (Stanford, 2000).
McGowan, Todd: The Real Gaze: Film Theory after Lacan (SUNY, 2007).
Margulies, Ivone: Nothing Happens: Chantal Akerman’s Hyperrealist Everyday (Duke, 1996).
Morin, Edgar: The Cinema, or The Imaginary Man, trans. Lorraine Morimer (Minnesota, 2005).
_ . The Stars, trans. Richard Howard, foreword Lorraine Mortimer (Minnesota, 2005).
Morrison, James and Thomas Schur. The Films of Terrence Malick. (Praeger, 2003).
Nancy, Jean-Luc: The Creation of the World; or, Globalization, trans. with an intro. François Raffoul and
David Pettigew (Albany: SUNY P, 2007).
Naremore, James: The Magic World of Orson Welles (Oxford, 1978 reprinted at Dallas: Southern Methodist, 1989).
Patterson, Hannah: “Two Characters in Search of a Direction: Motivation and the Construction of Identity in Badlands” in The Cinema of Terrence Malick: Poetic Visions of America (Wallflower, 2003) pp. 24–36.
Rancière, Jacques: Film Fables, trans. Emiliano Battista (Berg, 2006).
_ . The Future of the Image, trans. Gregory Elliott (Verso, 2007).
Richards, Rashna Wadia and David T. Johnson: For the Love of Cinema: Teaching our Passion In and Outside of the Classroom (Indiana, 2017).
Roraback, Erik S.: a select band of essays adduced below (some published and / or presented at conferences) from a work that is being prepared for publication, Forms of Cinematic Capital: Circulation, Movement, and Thought.
Salazar Sutil, Nicolás: Motion and Representation: The Language of Human Movement (MIT, 2015).
Shaviro, Steven: The Cinematic Body, Theory Out of Bounds, Volume 2 (Minnesota, 1993).
Stiegler, Bernard: Automatic Society, Volume 1: The Future of Work, trans. Daniel Ross (Polity, 2016).
_ . Technics and Time, 3: Cinematic Time and the Question of Malaise , trans. Stephen Barker (Stanford, 2011).
_ . The Age of Disruption: Technology and Madness in Computational Capitalism, followed by A
Conversation about Christianity with Alain Jugnon, Jean-Luc Nancy and Bernard Stiegler, trans. Daniel Ross (Polity, 2019).
Tally, Robert T. Jr.: Spatiality (Routledge, 2016).
_ . Utopia in the Age of Globalization: Space, Representation, and the World-System (Palgrave
Thomsen, Christian Braad: “The Double Man”, “Bavaria and Hollywood” and “Querelle” in Fassbinder: The
Life and Work of a Provocative Genius, trans. Martin Chalmers (Faber and Faber, 1997) pp. 1–44, 101–10 and 302–11.
Truffaut, François: “Foreword” to André Bazin’s Orson Welles: A Critical View (Acrobat, 1978), pp. 1–27.
Žižek, Slavoj, ed.: Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Lacan But Were Afraid to Ask Hitchcock (Verso, 2010).
Assessment methods and criteria
Attendance - no more than two absences out of the thirteen total weekly sessions
Student work is evaluated based on one oral presentation on a film and on the required text(s), mid-term essay (1500 words), and a Final essay (3000 words).
The course grade will be calculated as follows:
Attendance and participation - 30%
Mid-term essay - 20%
Oral presentation - 20%
Final essay - 30%
Schedule for winter semester 2021/2022:
The schedule has not yet been prepared
Schedule for summer semester 2021/2022:
|Date||Day||Time||Tutor||Location||Notes||No. of paralel|
|Tue||08:30–11:25||Erik Sherman RORABACK||Projection Room
The subject is a part of the following study plans
- Academy Preparation Program - Cinematography (optional subject)
- Academy Preparation Program - Animated Film (optional subject)
- Academy Preparation Program - Directing (optional subject)
- Academy Preparation Program - Documentary (optional subject)
- Academy Preparation Program - Editing (optional subject)
- Academy Preparation Program - Photography (optional subject)
- Academy Preparation Program - Screenwriting (optional subject)