The famous 20th Century philosopher Gilles Deleuze wrote in his books on cinema that ‘it is not sufficient to compare the great directors of cinema with painters, architects or even musicians. They must be compared to thinkers’. But what does it mean to think cinematically? In the wake of the decline of film theory as the unifying methodology of the discipline of film studies and the emergence of film-philosophy as one of several new approaches, this course identifies the question of the nature of film’s thought as a concern that dates back to the inception of cinema. Focusing on the kinds of ‘thinking’ undertaken by some of the ‘great directors’ in the history of cinema—including work by Eisenstein, Chaplin, Hitchcock, Dreyer, Welles, Rossellini, Sirk, Kubrick, Tarkovsky, Von Trier, and Malick—the course will introduce you to the diversity of contemporary approaches to the question of cinematic thinking (psychoanalytic, cognitivist, semiotic, philosophical) and to the work of the two most eminent philosophers of film: Stanley Cavell and Gilles Deleuze. A large part of the course will be devoted to reading key sections of Deleuze’s ambitious study Cinema 1: The Movement-Image and Cinema 2: The Time-Image and working through his major theses.
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