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Iconoclasm in European Cinema : The Ethics and Aesthetics of Image Destruction - Chiara Quaranta

Iconoclasm in European Cinema

The Ethics and Aesthetics of Image Destruction

By: Chiara Quaranta

Hardcover | 3 July 2023

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The first full-length study on iconoclasm and cinema, bringing together ancient philosophy, medieval theology and contemporary film and image theory. Offers a new, interdisciplinary approach to film ethics by looking at anti-mimetic images and sounds. Investigates the relationship between a disruptive aesthetics and its ethical potential, establishing a dialogue between the philosophical distrust in visual images and the breaking of mimesis in cinema. Explores the dichotomy between two types of images fundamental for philosophical and Christian iconoclasm the eik?n and eid?lon , tracing a thread from Plato's philosophy up to contemporary films. Exploring anti-mimesis and image destruction in Western European films, Iconoclasm in European Cinema: The Ethics and Aesthetics of Image Destruction offers the first comprehensive study of philosophical iconoclasm in the cinema. Drawing on continental philosophy of the image, medieval theology and recent developments in film ethics, it investigates the aesthetic and ethical significance of destroying certain film images, both literally (via damages to the filmstrip) and metaphorically (through blank screens, altered motion and disruptive sounds). Analysing the work of various filmmakers, the book considers iconoclastic gestures against the film image's ability to mimetically represent contents on the verge of the invisible and the ineffable. This book demonstrates that the overlooked issue of iconoclasm in film is essential for understanding contemporary attitudes towards images and argues that cinematic iconoclasm can produce an ethics of (in)visibility by questioning the limits of our right to see and show something on a screen.
Industry Reviews
"Through detailed and engaging readings of select films by Bene, Bergman, Debord, Duras, Godard, Isou, Jarman, and Kie?lowski Chiara Quaranta demonstrates impressively how the destruction of the image within European cinema can be generative of an enabling ethics which foregrounds the importance of listening and imagining in the film experience." -Sarah Cooper, King's College London

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