This book offers a novel understanding of the epistemological strategies that are mobilized by the essay film, and of where and how such strategies operate. Against the backdrop of Theodor W. Adorno’s discussion of the essay form’s anachronistic, anti-systematic and disjunctive mode of resistance, and capitalizing on the centrality of the interstice in Gilles Deleuze’s understanding of the cinema as image of thought, the book discusses the essay film as future philosophy-as a contrarian, political cinema whose argumentation engages with us in a space beyond the verbal. A diverse range of case studies discloses how the essay film can be a medium of thought on the basis of its dialectic use of audiovisual interstitiality. The book shows how the essay film’s disjunctive method comes to be realized at the level of medium, montage, genre, temporality, sound, narration, and framing-all of these emerging as interstitial spaces of intelligence that illustrate how essayistic meaning can be sustained, often in contexts of political, historical or cultural extremity. The essayistic urge is not to be identified with a fixed generic form, but is rather situated within processes of filmic thinking that thrive in gaps.
Introduction: Openings: Thinking Cinema
1. Medium: Liquid Image, Fluid Cinema
2. Montage: Essayistic Thinking at the Juncture of Images
3. Genre: The Speck of Irony and the Ethnolandscape in Ruins
4. Temporality: The Palimpsestic Road and Diachronic Thinking
5. Sound: The Politics of the Sonic Interstice and the Dissonance of the Neutral
6. Narration: Epistolarity and Lyricism as Argumentation
7. Framing: Looking for an Object, or The Essay Film as Theoretical Practice
Laura Rascaroli, Professor of Film and Screen Media, Univerity College Cork
Laura Rascaroli is Professor of Film and Screen Media at University College Cork, Ireland. She is the author and editor of several volumes, including The Personal Camera: Subjective Cinema and the Essay Film (2009), Crossing New Europe: Postmodern Travel and the European Road Movie (2006), co-written with Ewa Mazierska, and Antonioni: Centenary Essays (2011), co-edited with John David Rhodes. She is the General Editor of Alphaville: Journal of Film and Screen Media.