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Distributed for Intellect Ltd

The Cinematic Sublime

Negative Pleasures, Structuring Absences

Distributed for Intellect Ltd

The Cinematic Sublime

Negative Pleasures, Structuring Absences

An anthology that applies the concept of the sublime to cinema.

This interdisciplinary volume bridges the disciplines of aesthetics and film studies through an exploration of the cinematic sublime. The works collected here, written by contemporary film scholars and philosophers, apply sublime aesthetics to various film topics and case studies, ranging from early cinema and classical Hollywood to avant-garde film and contemporary digital cinema. Original and wide-ranging, The Cinematic Sublime offers new and exciting insights into how cinema engages with traditional historical and aesthetic discourse, and it will prove a useful resource for both post-graduate students and established scholars interested in the interrelations between film and philosophy.

213 pages | 6 3/4 x 9 1/2

Film Studies

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Table of Contents


Acknowledgments vii

Foreword viii

Joan Hawkins

Introduction 1

Nathan Carroll

Part I: Sublime Spectatorship 9

1. Sublime Spectatorship on Tour: The Early British Scenic and the Quest for the Perfect View 10

Samantha Wilson

2. Stars Up Close: Celebrity, Ephemerality, and the Banal Sublime 24

Claire Sisco King

Part II: Staging Sublimity: “Presenting the Unpresentable” 39

3. Between Preservation and Disintegration in Decayed Cinema: The Uncanny and the Weird of the Sublime Archival Image in Hollis Frampton’s (nostalgia) (1971) and Bill Morrison’s Decasia (2002) 40

Kornelia Boczkowska

4. Negative Epiphanies and Sublime Emotion in Steven Spielberg’s A.I. Artificial Intelligence 53

James Kendrick

Part III: Time, Memory, and History: Ruptures and Fragments 67

5. Claude Lanzmann’s Shoah and the Historical Sublime 68

Steve Ostovich

6. Jerry Lewis’s Holocaust and the Limits of Invisibility 85

Chris Dumas


Part IV: The Limits of Control: Sublime Cinemascapes 97

7. A Short History of the Long Take: Digital Cinema and the “Infinite Cut” 98

Nathan Carroll

8. Stalking the Sublime: Nature and Affect in Andrei Tarkovsky’s Stalker 124

Robert Lee Jones

Part V: The Limits of Light: The Other(s) 141

9. Sublime Abject or Abject Sublime: Sublimation and Jouissance in Andrezj Zulawski’s Szamanka 142

Carolin Kirchner

10. The Fear of Beauty and the Beauty of Fear: The Sublime in Jonathan Glazer’s Under the Skin 155

Kwasu David Tembo

Bibliography 174

Notes on the Contributors 189

Index 193

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