Category Archives: Philosophy

Edel Garcellano on Cinema // Étienne Balibar on Critique in the 21st Century

20951209._UY475_SS475_

Films do not allow for long-term, liberative transformation. If they did, the Filipino movie fan would have drastically altered the politico-social landscape. It is precisely on this premise of ideological ambiguations that the Frankfurt School started to question the so-called “culture industry” and its power or non-power to lead us to greener pastures. We know better: popular culture delivered via the electronic and print media has made us laugh ourselves to death.

– From Interventions (PUP Press: 1998, p.245)


Garcellano/Balibar on the Erasure and Disavowal of Violence as Violence

la-fg-u-n-chief-israel-violence-20151020

Photo from here

Balibar:

I would say that what seems to characterize the world-scale dimensions [la mondialité] of the ‘crisis’ – which is at once local and global, and is not foreign to the eschatological connotations it takes on in our discourses and conscience – is the superposition of two ‘phenomena’ that seem at first sight heterogeneous, but that we can try to relate to one another in a quasi-analytical, or perhaps pseudo-analytical, schema. The first is the emergence of an economy of generalized violence that cuts across borders and combines endemic wars with other forms of exterminating violence – indeed, eliminating violence, since what is involved is not death in the strict sense, even if there are at this moment many deaths, under different modalities. [9] Exclusion, for example, or, perhaps even better, to use the category that Saskia Sassen recently deployed with impressive force and scope, the generalized expulsion of individuals and groups from their ‘place’ in the world, in any world whatever. [10] No one doubts that violence is immemorial, that it assumes myriad forms and has myriad causes, or that it is an anthropological characteristic of the human being as such. But the violence that seems able to cut across any and every border, and indeed to use borders themselves as the instruments of its own generalization, is in a way a new phenomenon whose novelty rests on the fact that every person may in time be potentially confronted by it. (link)

image-w1280

A still from The Fatima Buen Story (Mario O’Hara / PH / 1994)

Garcellano:

In a sense, Fatima Buen is symptomatic of how violence in Philippine cinema has worked to the entrenchment of fascist powers as well as state discourse on aesthetics and functions, where the disavowal of violence is the very affirmation of it, thus enabling the consuming public to suffer violence, denounce it, and accept it once more in a ritual so catatonic as visiting the Church every Sun– day where redemption is implied on a seemingly recurrent cycle. It is precisely on the banalization through repetition that the state machine replenishes itself, energizes itself, and rules the crowd in a never-ending turn, as it were, of the bizarre carousel of life, death, ennui, eros.

[…]

Such a film as Fatima Buen in fact supplements the denial of liberative violence, rechanneling eros and visions toward the extra-communal formulation of violence. Redemption — as in most Filipino films — is a personalized, and apolitical concern and does not trace itself to the hegemonic order that triggers it.

Interventions (PUP Press, 1998, p.244)

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Critique, Philosophy

Cine-Philosophy?

A Moment Of Innocence by Mohsen Makhmalbaf - 015

A Moment of Innocence (Moshen Makhmalbaf / Iran / 1996)

Q: What is it like to move between cinema and philosophy?

By relation, they are not opposites. Nor can we define this movement as absence or presence of one another, as in the closer it is to cinema, the more it becomes an absence of philosophy or the closer it is to philosophy, the more obscure cinema becomes.  Instead, the movement must be conceived as a violent movement of thinking between the two disciplines. Thought bridges the two disciplines. It forms a plane where two disciplines co-exist, where the film image and its affects co-exists with concepts, where Orson Welles is adjacent to Baruch Spinoza, where a cinematographic cut can be thought off alongside with the concept of the panopticon.

Is this plane possible? Cine-philosophical plane is not separate from the real world. Well, it is real because, as we speak, it is being constructed in this text. This hypertext participates and collaborates in the signification of its unstable and fleeting existence in this world. It exists not because we believe in it, but because its expressible intensities, the words ‘cinephilosophical plane’ and its expressivity emitted by several LED components of your screen is within – and this is where philosophy kicks in – the order of the visible, the sensible, the perceptible, the expressible. Its visibility, its signifying movement in the digital plane, its inscription in the global network of information called the internet as pixilated bits grants its mobility and existence in the world.

The question: is the ‘cine-philosophical plane’ fiction or real? is no longer important. Because as we speak, the movement of the fictive layer of our world: God, the Virgin Mary, the Terminator, Neo of the Matrix, String theory, Harry Potter is already at work more than ever. Each is deployed at various intensities, each affects us in an incorporeal manner – in other words, we are moved even by fiction. It is very hard to think of the real world divorced from fictions. Social scientist Bruno Latour theorized that the effect of incorporeal and corporeal events are very much alike but differ in their intensities of affectation. As Levi Bryant puts it ‘the incorporeal and corporeal realms are equally capable of having effects on the world.’[1] Cinema and literature, and even music, are not divorced from these fictions. In fact, they feed from it. They are industries of fictions and incorporeal intensities, which move us beyond the ordinary banal world we experience. They create new worlds, new modes of thinking, new sensations, most of which cannot be captured by the vapidity and simplicity of the real world. And this is where the ‘cine-philosophical plane’ reside, as a between-plane between two plateaus of discourse: the first one, cinema, a plateau of affects, percepts, sensations and the second one, philosophy, a plateau of concepts and relations.

For cinephiles, filmmakers and even film scholars, the common misconception of cinephilosophy is that it is field where cinema can be conceived as a philosophy, or in other variants, in order to conceive a film, one must consult philosophy: “I must apply Marxism in this film. I must apply Freud’s Interpretation of Dreams. I must show the idea of Baudrillard’s simulacra.” Miguel de Beistegui, reiterating Deleuze’s famous talk on philosophy and art in 1987 entitled ‘What is the Creative Act?’, that artists and scientists ‘do not need the help of philosophers to reflect on their respective field: the only ones who can adequately reflect on mathematics are the mathematicians themselves, on film the filmmakers, etc.’ [2]

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Philosophy