Some recent books on cinema (I)

I’m still copy-pasting the shallow content that I gather from my recent Google searches here — to the desolate library. Day by day I’m getting more and more superficial. One day I’ll melt into the air. Like many other things that I haven’t been doing in the last few years, I wasn’t also reading any books on cinema or watching many films. The latter, I kind of restarted lately, warming up now. I also visited Odeon in Hauptstraße and wailed while Mr. Hopkins was looking for his watch or his daughter’s painting. It will stay next to the other play-like films I’ve seen in the past like Sleuth (1972), My Dinner with Andre (1981), The Man from Earth (2007), Carnage (2011), The Sunset Limited (2011), or Amour (2012). I guess we’ll see way more family drama by Florian Zeller in the future.

Then I thought I can do some book searches with ‘cinema’ in their titles and shortlist some books to take a look at in the indefinite future. Every once in a while these kinds of random searches end up with little treasures. I was honestly expecting more books with a theme like ‘the death of the cinema’ but I didn’t encounter that particular branch per se, not sure if it exists anyway. There are some ‘crisis’ books though.

Chateau D., Moure J. (2020). Post-cinema: Cinema in the Post-art Era, Amsterdam University Press.

“Post-cinema designates a new way of making films. It is time to ask whether this novelty is complete or relative and to evaluate to what extent this novation represents a unitary current or multiple ways. The book proposes to integrate the post-cinema question within the post-art question in order to study the new way of making filmic images in new conditions more or less remote from the dispositif of the theater and in closer relationship with contemporary art. The issue will be considered at three levels: the impression of post-art on “regular” films; the “relocation” (Cassetti) of the same films that can be seen using devices of all kinds, in conditions more or less remote from the dispositif of the theater; parallel to the integration of contemporary art in “regular” cinema, the integration of cinema into contemporary art in all kinds of forms of creation and exhibition.” [from De Gruyter]

PART I A Tribute to Agnès Varda
PART II The End of Cinema?
PART III Technological Transformations
PART IV New Dispositif, New Conditions
PART V Transformations in Film Form
Part VI Post-cinema, an Artists’ Affair

Lahiji, N. (2021). Architecture, philosophy, and the pedagogy of Cinema: From Benjamin to Badiou, foreword by McGowan, T., Routledge: London & NY.

“Philosophers on the art of cinema mainly remain silent about architecture. Discussing cinema as ‘mass art’, they tend to forget that architecture, before cinema, was the only existing ‘mass art’. In this work author Nadir Lahiji proposes that the philosophical understanding of the collective human sensorium in the apparatus of perception must once again find its true training ground in architecture.

Building art puts the collective mass in the position of an ‘expert critic’ who identifies themselves with the technical apparatus of architecture. Only then can architecture regain its status as ‘mass art’ and, as the book contends, only then can it resume its function as the only ‘artform’ that is designed for the political pedagogy of masses, which originally belonged to it in the period of modernity before the invention of cinema.” [from the book]

1 Returning to the philosophy of masses: Benjamin and Badiou
2 From the photographic moment of critical philosophy to the optical unconscious
3 Mass art and impurity: Reading Benjamin with Badiou
4 In and out of Plato’s cave
5 Theory of distraction: Tactile and optical
6 Poverty of experience
7 Dialectics and mass
8 The proletarian mise-​en-​scène
Epilogue: The art of the masses in the age of pornography

Attfield, S., (2020), Class on Screen: The Global Working Class in Contemporary Cinema, Palgrave Macmillan.

This book provides an analysis of the global working class on film and considers the ways in which working-class experience is represented in film around the world. The book argues that representation is important because it shapes the way people understand working-class experience and can either reinforce or challenge stereotypical depictions. Film can shape and shift discussions of class, and this book provides an interdisciplinary study of the ways in which working-class experience is portrayed through this medium. It analyses the impact of contemporary films such as Sorry To Bother You, This is England and Le Harve [sic] that focus on working class life. Attfield demonstrates that the global working class are characterised by diversity of race, ethnicity, gender, religion and sexuality but that there are commonalities of experience despite geographical distance and cultural difference. The book is structured around themes such as work, culture, diasporas, gender and sexuality, and race. [from Palgrave]

1 Introduction
2 Work and Unemployment
3 Working-Class Culture
4 Immigration and Diaspora
5 Gender and Sexualities
6 Race and Class in Australian Indigenous Film
7 Afterword

Kalmár, G. (2020). Post-Crisis European Cinema: White Men in Off-Modern Landscapes, Palgrave Macmillan.

This book explores the cinematic representations of the pervasive socio-cultural change that the 21st century brought to Europe and the world. Discussing films such as I, Daniel Blake, Cold War and Jupiter’s Moon, it puts distinctively “post-crisis”, gendered representations in a complex, theoretically informed and socially committed interdisciplinary perspective that maps the newly emerging formations of masculinity at a time of rapid socio-economic transition. Kalmar argues that the series of crises that started with the 9/11 terrorist attacks changed some of our fundamental expectations about history, debunked many of our grand narratives, and thus changed the cultural logic of our (thoroughly globalized) civilization. The book focuses on the ways cinema reflects, interprets and shapes a rapidly changing world: the hot issues of the times, the new formations of identity, and the shifts in cinematic representation. This is an interdisciplinary research that is equally interested in what new the 21st century brought about, most specifically to Europe and to its white men, as in film and its responses to these socio-cultural changes. [from Palgrave]

1 Introduction: Post-Crisis Europe, White Masculinity and
Art Cinema [The Post-Crisis and the Off-Modern, White Masculinity, Post-Crisis European Cinema]
2 Rites of Retreat and the Cinematic Resignification of European Cultural Geography [The World Is Big and Salvation Lurks Around the Corner, Delta, Suntan, Conclusions: Men in Retreat]
3 Unprocessed Pasts [Amen, Days of Glory, Cold War]
4 Addiction and Escapism [Billy Elliot, T2 Trainspotting, Kills on Wheels]
5 Narratives of Migration [Terraferma, Morgen, Jupiter’s Moon]
6 The Lads of the New Right [The Wave, This Is England, July 22]
7 Angry Old Men [Tyrannosaur, I, Daniel Blake, A Man Called Ove]
8 Conclusions

And some other interesting books that have a rather specific focus:

  • Turquety, B. (2019). Danièle Huillet, Jean-Marie Straub:” Objectivists” in Cinema, Amsterdam University Press.
  • Lewis, I., & Canning, L. (ed., 2020). European Cinema in the Twenty-First Century, Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Baer, H. (2021). German Cinema in the Age of Neoliberalism, Amsterdam University Press.
  • Papanikolaou, D. (2021). Greek Weird Wave: A Cinema of Biopolitics, Edinburgh University Press.


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