The modern political film : biopolitical production and cinematic subjectivity
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This project uses Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari's concept of the minor cinema to argue for a contemporary political mode of film that critiques dominant or majoritarian ideologies. I argue that these 'modern political films' perform this critique by rupturing the sensory-motor schemata that make up official times and create a space for everyday life and labor to emerge on screen. While political theorists such as Carl Schmitt argue proper politics necessitate oppositional conflict and dialectical progression, a classical model based on the opposition between ultimately Other subjects, modern political films challenge this notion by fragmenting the concept of an appropriate subject and revealing the networks that contribute to and create modern, multifaceted subjects. I locate modern political films in four global contexts: Algeria, Iran, China, and the United States. While the political circumstances of each context differ greatly, the filmmakers I examine turn to a slower pace or use of cinematic time that resists narrative conclusion to address political, economic, and social issues affecting populations within these global locations. Through this slower pace, these directors also address the biopolitical concerns of the subjects they depict: intolerable laws, ideologies, and economic forces that structure or otherwise control how individuals live their lives. As a result, these films operate according to a particular form of politics that opposes the subject-creating assemblages of regulatory biopower, and affirms the potential for new life to emerge on screen.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
Embargo Date: Restricted until 15th April 2018
Embargo Reason: Thesis restricted in accordance with University regulations
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