Deleuze and Cinema

Deleuze and Cinema: The Aesthetics of Sensation

Barbara M. Kennedy
Copyright Date: 2002
Pages: 240
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  • Book Info
    Deleuze and Cinema
    Book Description:

    This book aims to bring back debates about film as an art form - as part of an aesthetic process which incorporates the ‘bodies’ of our material, technological and molecular worlds.

    eISBN: 978-0-7486-7926-3
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgements
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Introduction: Discovering the Beautiful Stranger . . .
    (pp. 1-6)

    This book has emerged out of a deliciously dangerous, but delectable journey through the spaces of Deleuzian deterritorialisations. But there are many faces of Deleuze, and I can only engage with a selection: faces from A Thousand Plateaus (1987), Francis Bacon: Logique de la Sensation (1981), Dialogues (1987), What is Philosophy? (1994) and his cinema books¹ provide the main lines of flight. I have not used his cinema books as a model for theorising cinema, but have creatively melded with a web of Deleuze’s work. My own line of flight took me on a journey into the unknown, where dangers...

  5. Part One
    • Chapter 1 From Micro-politics to Aesthetics
      (pp. 9-37)

      As an introduction, I shall outline here how the original determinations of this project were founded within feminist politics, but moved into aesthetics. A feminist political project is one concerned to present an argument that is ultimately liberatory to the cultural, social and personal experiences of women. My initial question was to explain why feminist film theory did not explain the pleasures and desires experienced when watching certain neo-noir movies, which appeared to be politically problematic. Why are films such as Blade Runner (1982), Leon (1994) and Romeo is Bleeding (1993) so pleasurable, for example, despite the problematic representations of...

    • Chapter 2 From Oedipal Myths . . . to New Interventions
      (pp. 38-64)

      In the context of Chapter 1, it is apparent that subjectivity, the body, pleasure and desire are critical concepts within a post-feminist pragmatics, a pragmatics which enables a re-evaluation of the aesthetic or the production of a ‘neo-aesthetic’ in film culture. That neo-aesthetic can then be considered as a micro-political framework which might provide creative possibilities for the transformations of consciousness, outside macro-political structures. A new set of concepts emanating from a neo- aesthetic would be productive in understanding the cinematic experience as an ‘event’ or as ‘material capture’ and a processuality which engages with the notion of the material....

  6. Part Two
    • Chapter 3 From Abstract Machines to Deleuzian Becomings
      (pp. 67-83)

      Before introducing Chapters 3, 4 and 5 on desire, becoming-woman and sensation, through these three chapters on Deleuze, I want to discuss how Deleuze has been important in reconsidering the very act of thinking and thought itself. His ideas on the complexity of thinking and thought are useful in helping us to rethink some basic beliefs about language and its possibilities. We can then take such ideas forward to rethink the voca- bularies of film theory in a post-feminist pragmatic framework.

      This first section will look at Deleuze’s ideas on thought, and his description of the ‘abstract machine’‚ which he...

    • Chapter 4 Constituting Bodies from Subjectivity and Affect to the Becoming-woman of the Cinematic
      (pp. 84-107)

      This chapter expands upon the notion that the aesthetic experience of the cinematic encounter is felt at a level beyond that of the ‘subjective’‚ beyond a subjectivity constructed within the psychic scenarios of cinepsychoanalysis. I shall outline and explore Deleuze’s concept of becoming-woman and how this is connected to the concept of affectivity and sensation. This chapter then explores how subjectivity, mind/brain and body become imbricated in the process of the cinematic encounter; how the impact of the cinematic encounter operates through the ‘beyond’ of subjectivity. This encounter is felt within the realms of the pre-personal, the autopoietic realms of...

    • Chapter 5 Towards an Aesthetics of Sensation
      (pp. 108-122)

      Sensation operates as the beyond of subjectivity, through ‘becoming-woman’. Its being lies in the beyond of any fixed subjective positionality. If film is an art form which resonates as experience, as a pure form of ‘becoming-woman’, then Deleuze’s ideas on art and the aesthetic, in terms of the concept of ‘sensation’, are a significant development in thinking about the cinematic impact through affect. They enable us to conceptualise a theory of aesthetics which is outside of representation, and is premised upon the intensity of sensation.

      Deleuze’s theory of sensation brings together previous and more binary perceptions of sensation.³ Deleuze initially...

  7. Part Three
    • Chapter 6 Orlando Deleuzian Landscapes of Immanence
      (pp. 125-146)

      Sally Potter’s film of Virginia Woolf’s novel Orlando, which narrates the historical account of Orlando’s journey through time, as both male and female, is well documented in feminist film theory. But Potter’s intentions it seems, as argued in feminist film theory, in terms of avant-garde cinema, were to present a feminist text which exemplified the constructions and patriarchal constrictions of societies across generational boundaries, cultures, time zones – a historical account of the strictures faced by the female sex. In choosing to use this film here, I want to explore the film in a different way, to present a pragmatic and...

    • Chapter 7 The English Patient Deleuzian Landscapes of Immanence
      (pp. 147-162)

      Maps, mapping and rhizomes offer a creative and experimental panoply in the light of Deleuzian ideas, and yet maps also resonate across the narrative trajectory of the filmic experience in The English Patient. In this chapter I want to imbricate both a reading of Deleuzian mappings through the film and a reading of the film through Deleuzian ideas. A complete travesty it might be argued, given the post-humanism of his thinking, the coldness and cruelty of his rejections. A melding of two perspectives. What appears to be delirious and overindulgent narrativity is a serious inception to rethinking the trajectories of...

    • Chapter 8 Romeo and Juliet Deleuzian Sensations
      (pp. 163-179)

      Two contradictory quotations: like the two contradictory houses of Capulet and Montague. How can we reconcile the sentiments of both, the integrities of both, the finesse of both those positions? Cioran’s words seem to enthral with their respect for emotion, their respect for the finesse of life’s truly important parts, the heart, the emotions, despair, the beyond of self-pity. Subjects relevant and pertinent to a tale of impossible and forbidden love and its tragic consequences. And yet, Deleuze’s words seem to present, as we have seen through much of the book, a concern with the ‘outside’, with the ‘immanent’ and...

    • Chapter 9 Strange Days Deleuzian Sensations
      (pp. 180-192)

      What could Yeats have meant when he talked of the worst being full of ‘passionate intensity’, when in a Deleuzian sense, intensities are the very essence of becoming-woman through sensation? Should passionate intensity denote negativity, as it seems to in Yeats’s poem, or is there an intensity which, in its very passion, is full of positivity, life, hope and new beginnings? This is the sort of intensity that vitally courses through the diegetic veins and body of Kathryn Bigelow’s Strange Days, a violent and visceral movie by all accounts. But through that violence flows a dynamic and emphatic resurrection of...

    • Chapter 10 Reconfiguring Love... A Deleuzian Travesty? Leon and a Molecular Politics via the Girl and the Child
      (pp. 193-214)

      In terms of a post-feminist politic, Leon (1994), like other films such as Nikita (1990),³ offers new spaces and representations of woman as ‘war- machine’ (the image of woman as strong, assertive and autonomous, a rather reductionist and binary explanation of visual imagery). But, of course, ‘representation’ has never been my major concern for writing about film in this work. However, what I want to do in this chapter is to explore a molecular politic, to take a ‘tangential’ move away from Deleuzian ideas on ‘sensation’ to some extent, and I emphasise the proviso ‘tangential’, to explore the Deleuzian concept...

  8. Bibliography
    (pp. 215-222)
  9. Filmography
    (pp. 223-224)
  10. Index
    (pp. 225-229)