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Supercinema: Film-Philosophy for the Digital Age

William Brown
Copyright Date: 2013
Edition: 1
Published by: Berghahn Books
Pages: 196
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  • Book Info
    Book Description:

    Drawing on a variety of popular films, includingAvatar, Enter the Void, Fight Club, The Matrix, Speed Racer, X-MenandWar of the Worlds,Supercinemastudies the ways in which digital special effects and editing techniques require a new theoretical framework in order to be properly understood. Here William Brown proposes that while analogue cinema often tried to hide the technological limitations of its creation through ingenious methods, digital cinema hides its technological omnipotence through the use of continued conventions more suited to analogue cinema, in a way that is analogous to that of Superman hiding his powers behind the persona of Clark Kent. Locating itself on the cusp of film theory, film-philosophy and cognitive approaches to cinema,Supercinemaalso looks at the relationship between the spectator and film that utilizes digital technology to maximum, 'supercinematic' effect.

    eISBN: 978-0-85745-950-3
    Subjects: Film Studies

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgements
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 1-20)

    Digital technology has changed cinema such that the ‘“D-word” has now become an inescapable element of moving image technology’ (Enticknap 2005: 202). For those ‘born digital’, that this is remarkable might seem strange. As Nicholas Rombes has suggested, students today are probably already more than familiar with the ‘secrets’ of digital cinema, of DVD, of YouTube, and of filesharing (Rombes 2009: 77). Indeed, those ‘born digital’ are probably also already aware of, if not steeped in, the philosophies of chaos theory, simultaneous possible worlds, and the other curious ideas that one or two generations ago existed only on the margins...

  5. 1 Digital Cinema’s Conquest of Space
    (pp. 21-50)

    The opening moments ofFight Clubprovide one of the clearest examples of how digital technology has changed film aesthetics in terms of the depiction of space. There is a sound of bubbling water, before we hear a record needle hit a groove and zip into pulsing, aggressive electroindustrial music (‘Stealing Fat’ by the Dust Brothers). This accompanies a vertiginous backward tracking shot through a dark space inhabited by strange green-grey shapes that come to resemble a series of pipes, tubes and floating objects, some of which occasionally flash an electric blue, while jets of blue-grey liquid or gas (we...

  6. 2 The Nonanthropocentric Character of Digital Cinema
    (pp. 51-80)

    Digital cinema has a ‘continuous’ logic that pushes beyond the human understanding of space (neither humans nor material cameras can pass through walls). Such a representation carries the further ontological implication that the world digitally viewed is one in which all points are equivalent – as per Riemann’s ‘democratic’ understanding of space (Greene 2000: 231), or what Steven Shaviro terms ‘equality among its [digital cinema’s] elements’ (Shaviro 2010: 77). Digital cinema can not only pass from interiors to exteriors with consummate ease, blurring the distinction between the two, but it can also pass through the wall that separates them as if...

  7. 3 From Temporalities to Time in Digital Cinema
    (pp. 81-122)

    I have thus far proposed that digital technology enables cinema to depict a posthuman space in which ‘empty’ space and all that fills it share an equal ontological status. I have also proposed that this troubles the distinction between figure and ground. Digital cinema instead suggests an ‘enworldment’ of the figure, such that its separation from the ground is harder to make, and that the flux of the world therefore plays a part in the constant becomings of characters in film, becomings that are given literal form in the shape of the digital morph. What, however, are we to make...

  8. 4 The Film-Spectator-World Assemblage
    (pp. 123-146)

    In the last chapter we explored time in relation to digital cinema. In this chapter, we shall explore what cinema does in terms of its relation with the spectator. Ignacio Domingo Baguer explains how the spatialization of time brought about in 1980s science fiction cinema engenders films in which ‘[t]he experience of the characters… is very similar to the experience of watching a movie: the collision of two different temporalities, that of the spectator’s real life and the temporal dimension of the world on the screen’ (Baguer 2004: 250). Baguer argues that the spatial depiction of time renders 1980s science...

  9. 5 Concluding With Love
    (pp. 147-156)

    Repeatedly in this book I have posited that we are not in, but rather that we are with the world. The cognitive scientists discussed in the last chapter would seem to affirm as much: mind is not separate from matter, the brain is embodied, and the body is enworlded, such that consciousness emerges from our relations with the world, and such that classical notions of a self that stands in opposition to the world must be rejected in favour of a conception of existence that challenges the very notion of a self. This in turn upsets the usual subject-object binarisms...

  10. Bibliography
    (pp. 157-178)
  11. Index
    (pp. 179-186)