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.
“Whether detailing Bela Tarr’s signature panning shots or the role of flames in Vincente Minnelli, Rancière is a passionate and acute cinephile.”
“Rancière’s writings offer one of the few conceptualizations of how we are to continue to resist.”
“His art lies in the rigor of his argument—its careful, precise unfolding—and at the same time not treating his reader, whether university professor or unemployed actress, as an imbecile.”
“In the face of impossible attempts to proceed with progressive ideas within the terms of postmodernist discourse, Rancière shows a way out of the malaise.”
“A welcome text...provides readers with a fascinating glimpse into how Rancière thinks about films and how the forms of visibility in cinema allow for a distribution of the sensible through cinema's relationship to literature, art, and politics.”
“Ranciére’s amateurism—a euphemism for philosophical excursions into his experience of cinema—is refreshing.”