email page print pageAll Topic Reviews
10 Minute Solution: High Intensity Interval Training12 and Holding3-In-1 Total Body Fitness with Desi Bartlett30 Minute Ab & Butt Blaster4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days49 Up5 Day Fit Yoga5 Mega Miles with Toning Band56 UpA Beautiful MindA Dangerous MethodA Mother's Courage: Talking Back to AutismA Short Stay in SwitzerlandA.M. EnergyAbout SchmidtAccessible Yoga for Every Body DVDAddictionAdvanced Sexual TechniquesAgeless Mobility: Pain-Free Wellness For LongevityAileen - Life and Death of a Serial KillerAlexander the LastAM/PM YogaAmerican TeacherAthlete's Guide to YogaAutism and MeBack in Action: Yoga for a Healthy BackBalanced AssetsBeautiful DreamersBecoming OrgasmicBedroom Body: Booty Burner, Core & Pelvic Floor WorkoutBeginners Meditation & Mindful StretchingBeginners Yoga DVDBeginning YogaBellyFit ElementsBethenny's Skinnygirl WorkoutBetter Sex Through YogaBeyond HatredBilly the KidBlue Is the Warmest ColorBody By BethennyBorn to Balance - Balance BasicsBoy InterruptedBoys Don't CryBreasts - A DocumentaryBreath-Centered YogaBuying SexCalm Body Clear MindCardio for Beginners with Petra KolberCinema's Sinister PsychiatristsCinema, Philosophy, BergmanCinematic MythmakingClassical Pilates Technique DVDClimatesCoastCollege Inc.Comedy IncarnateCommuneCompulsionControlCore Fusion - Pilates PlusCore Fusion - Pure Abs & ArmsCore Fusion - Thighs & GlutesCore Fusion Body SculptCore Fusion Lean & TonedCore Fusion Power SculptCore Strength PilatesCore Strength Vinyasa Yoga Power Hour with Sadie NardiniCore YogaCreative Core AbsCriminal JusticeCriminal Justice 2DahmerDance Off the Inches: Cardio Hip Hop PartyDance the Chakras Yoga WorkoutDark Beginnings of Sherlock HolmesDarwin's Brave New WorldDeep Stretch / Yin YogaDeleuze and the Concepts of CinemaDetox YogaDirty Filthy Love DVDDoc Martin Series 2Dr. Andrew Weil's Guide to Eating WellDr. Yoga House CallEl Doctor, Joy Street & AsparagusElement: Targeted Toning Pilates for BeginnersElement: Yoga for Stress Relief & FlexibilityElements of Yoga, Earth FoundationsElements of Yoga, Fire DynamicElements of Yoga: Air & WaterEnjoying Guilty PleasuresEternal Sunshine Of The Spotless MindEternal Sunshine of the Spotless MindEthics at the CinemaEvamarie Pilipuf's Yoga Express DVDEvery Day Yoga for Every Body DVDEveryday Workout for the Everyday WomanEveryday Yoga for Stress Release Examined LifeExhale Core Fusion 30 Day SculptExileExperimenterFacing Death: Elisabeth Kubler-RossFagbugFamily YogaFilm StudiesFire on the Mountain DVDFit Family Fun CircuitFit in 5 DVDFlat Abs PilatesFlow and YinFlow YogaFluid Power Vinyasa Flow YogaFragile DVDGabriel & MeGaiam Pilates Slide and Sculpt Kit with DVDGaiam Pilates Total Toning KitGaiam Yoga For Weight Loss KitGet Ripped & ChiseledGet RIPPED! 1000 #3Get RIPPED! and Jacked - The Boomer WorkoutGirl, InterruptedGirlhoodGoddess WorshipGood FortuneHalf Broken ThingsHappy Yoga DVDHard CandyHealing Through Movement: Pilates Head to ToeHealing VoicesHealthy Sexy Beautiful Kundalini YogaHeimaHelvetica: A documentary filmHemalayaa's Yoga for Young Bodies DVDHemalayaa: Bollywood BootyHer ThirdHigh HopesHit & MissHot Body Cool Mind - Level 1Hot Body Cool Mind: Waking Energy IdentityIn My SkinIn the FamilyIn the Land of the DeafIn the Realms of the UnrealIn Treatment: Season 1Ingmar Bergman, Cinematic PhilosopherInsight Yoga Earth: Balancing Yin EnergyInsight Yoga Heaven: Balancing YangInsight Yoga with Sarah PowersIntense Games DVDInto Great SilenceIntroduction to Ashtanga Yoga DVDIntroduction to Yoga DVDIt's Kind of a Funny StoryIt's Not Me, I Swear!Janis Saffell Beverly Hills YogaJellyfishJulien Donkey-BoyJunebugKama-Sutra--The Secrets to the Art of LoveKids Teach Yoga - Flying EagleKidYogi - Yoga for ChildrenKingdom Series 2Kingdom: Series ThreeKripalu Yoga Dynamic DVDKripalu Yoga Gentle DVDKundalini Yoga : DVDKundalini Yoga for Beginners & BeyondKUNDALINI YOGA for Your Week - MONDAYKUNDALINI YOGA for Your Week - TUESDAY - CoreKundalini Yoga Meditation for Beginners & BeyondKundalini Yoga on the BallKundalini Yoga Solar Power All-In-One WorkoutKundalini Yoga to Detox and Destress DVDKundalini Yoga Transformer All-In-One WorkoutKundalini Yoga: Green Energy of the HeartLa SierraLand GirlsLand Girls Series 2Lars and the Real GirlLast Train HomeLeaving Las VegasLetting Go!Lie to Me: Season OneLife On MarsLifeForce Yoga to Beat the Blues--Level 1LifeForce Yoga to Beat the Blues: Level 2Listening to the WorldLiving Room Yoga DVDLiving Room Yoga: Twist and BendLouise BourgeoisLunacyLunar Flow YogaMad, Bad and Dangerous?MaidentripManicManufactured LandscapesMaui PilatesMayo Clinic Wellness Solutions for Back PainMayo Clinic Wellness Solutions for IBSMayo Clinic Wellness Solutions for InsomniaMementoMethadoniaMindfulness for Urban Depression: Tools for Relief from Stressful City LivingMonsterMother and SonMovies and the Moral Adventure of LifeMurderballMurderlandMurphy's LawMurphy's Law Series 2My Flesh and BloodMy Sister's KeeperMysterious CreaturesNamaste Yoga: Season 3 Part 1New American TeenagersNew Look at ADHD: Inhibition, Time, and Self-ControlNew Sex Now DVDNew Takes in Film-PhilosophyNew York PilatesNext-Level PilatesNormalNotes on a ScandalNurembergOne Flew Over the Cuckoo's NestOrgasm Inc.Pain Free at WorkPeople Like OurselvesPeople Love PhotosPerfect in Ten AbsPerfect in Ten: PilatesPerfect in Ten: StretchPerfect in Ten: YogaPhantom Museums DVDPhilosophy and the Moving ImagePhrenologyPieces of AprilPilates for BeginnersPilates for MenPink Ribbons, Inc.PollockPop & MePornographyPornographyPower to the Peaceful YogaPower YogaPower Yoga for HappinessPower Yoga: Core PowerPower Yoga: Fat BurnerPower Yoga: Strength and FlexibilityPrenatal FlowPresence Through Movement: Yin YogaPrince of PrisonersPrivate Dicks - Men ExposedPrivate Practices DVDProofProzac NationPsycho ThrillersPublic EnemiesPure and Simple YogaPure SculptPure Yoga Pilates with Kerry BestwickQi Gong Fire & Water With Matthew CohenQi Gong Flow for BeginnersQi Gong for Low Back PainQi Gong for Upper Back and Neck PainQi Gong for Weight LossQi Workout AM/PMQiGong for Healthy Joints & BonesQuick Blast MethodRachel Getting MarriedRadiant Heart Yoga DVDRain ManRated X - A Journey Through PornReach - Upbeat Toning & Flexibility for a Dancer's BodyRed Lotus YogaRelative StrangersRelax Into Yoga for SeniorsRequiem for a Dream DVDResistance Stretching With Dara TorresRestorative Yoga PracticeRestorative Yoga PracticeSara Ivanhoe's Taste DVDScreening SexSeeing Fictions in FilmSeeing the LightSergeant Cribb - The Complete SeriesSeven Challenges To Change Your Life DVDShameShort Term 12SickoSmashedSolar Flow Yoga DVDSpeakSpecial TreatmentSpectacular NowStarting Out in the EveningStep By Step Strength TrainingStep by Step Tai ChiStephen Fry in AmericaStrandedStranger Than FictionStrength & SpiritStrength, Grace, HealingStrong & SculptedStrong Body, Ageless BodySun SalutationsSunset StorySuper Seniors: Box, Balance, & Lift Surf Yoga SoulSybel's Yoga For Sports & FitnessSybel's Yoga For Sports & Fitness Vol 2SylviaSynecdoche New YorkTai Chi for Beginners with Grandmaster William C. C. ChenTarnationTeen YogaTeenYogi DVDTemple GrandinTen Zen Tummy TonersTerrence MalickThe Athlete's Guide to YogaThe Better Sex Guide to the Kama SutraThe Big Book of PornThe Booty Barre -Total New BodyThe Breath of Tantric LoveThe ClassThe Devil and Daniel JohnstonThe Devil, ProbablyThe f WordThe f WordThe f WordThe F Word - Series ThreeThe f Word -- Series FourThe FIRM Power Yoga DVDThe Horse BoyThe Matrix and PhilosophyThe Medicated ChildThe Perfect ExerciseThe Philosophy of Motion PicturesThe Power of ForgivenessThe Qi Healing KitThe ReaderThe SavagesThe Snake PitThe Stanford Prison ExperimentThe Street Complete CollectionThe Suicide TouristThe Three Faces of EveThe Ultimate BALLET YOGAThe Way Way BackThinThinking XXXThis Emotional Life: In Search of Ourselves...and HappinessThrough A Dog's EyesThrough Deaf EyesThumbsuckerTierney GearonTo the WonderToday and TomorrowTotal-Body ToningTransTransform Yourself with Jivamukti YogaTrial and RetributionTrial and Retribution: Set 1Trial and Retribution: Set 3Trudie Styler's Cardio Dance FlowTrudie Styler's Warrior YogaUnborn in the USA: Inside the War on AbortionUnderstanding LoveUnforgettableUp the YangtzeV-Core WorkoutViniyoga Therapy for AnxietyViniyoga Therapy for DepressionViniyoga Therapy for the Low Back, Sacrum and HipsViniyoga Therapy for the Upper Back, Neck and ShouldersWaking LifeWalk It Off in 30 DaysWalk to the HITS Radio RemixesWall: A World DividedWeight Loss Cardio KickWhat Remains: The Life and Work of Sally MannWhat to Do When Someone DiesWhen Did You Last See Your Father?When Worlds Collide: The Untold Story of the Americas after ColumbusWrinklesWristcutters: A Love StoryWrong Side of the BusYin Yoga DVDYogaYoga & Pilates Workouts for DummiesYoga 4 TeensYoga : Beginners Flow for EveryoneYoga Beauty BodyYoga Bliss HipsYoga Body : Lean & Defined Total Body WorkoutYoga By Teens DVDYoga Emergency DVD: Arms & ShouldersYoga Emergency DVD: BackYoga Emergency DVD: Full Leg StretchYoga Emergency DVD: HipsYoga Emergency DVD: PregnancyYoga Flow DVDYoga for Back CareYoga for BeginnersYoga for Energy & Stress ReliefYoga for FitnessYoga for Regular Guys DVDYoga for Strength & EnergyYoga for Strength & FlexibilityYoga for the Young at HeartYoga for Your WeekYoga Inside Out: Go DeeperYoga Inside Out: The Healing WayYoga Journal's Yoga for StressYoga Journal: Yoga for Strength and Toning DVDYoga Link: Core IntegrationYoga Link: Hip HelpersYoga Link: Shoulder Shape-UpYoga on DemandYoga Quick FixesYoga SculptYoga ShaktiYoga Therapy for Back PainYoga Therapy Prescriptions - 60 Health Restorative SequencesYoga To Go's Yoga Quick Fixes DVDYoga to the Rescue - Feel Good from Head to ToeYoga to the Rescue for Back PainYoga to the Rescue for Neck & ShouldersYoga Weight Loss for DummiesYoga: Freedom from Back PainYoga: Relief from Neck and Shoulder PainYoga: Spirit of Vinyasa FlowYogawoman[email protected]Your Body Breakthru - Your Best Body Circuit DVD
Over the past couple decades, the philosophy of film has become a productive arena for wide-ranging philosophical exploration, and not merely a subdiscipline of philosophical aesthetics. Film raises philosophical questions, both regarding the nature of the medium itself and its relation to reality, and also, in its depictions of life, manages to revitalize and enrich traditional philosophical concerns regarding how to live, how we can know, and what is ultimately real and important. In Philosophy of the Moving Image: Refractions of Reality, Mullarkey reflects on the range of contributions to the philosophy of film both to show what each approach reveals of cinema, and in order to emphasize that cinema shows itself most fully in its resistance to theoretical attempts to grasp it. It is, easily, the most learned and illuminating of several recent book-length efforts to sum up the state of the art in philosophizing about film. At the same time, Mullarkey's efforts to make a positive contribution in the field come more in the form of a promissory note, that threatens to lose sight of cinema "as such" and to define, rather, an approach to (non-)philosophizing about any subject whatsoever.
The basic thesis of the book is summed up in the introduction, that "nobody knows everything," which is to say there is more to film than any one theory can exhaust. This assertion regarding the limits of film theory and of philosophical approaches to film is not merely a negative assessment, but suggests a positive ontology of film, that its "nature" is to resist characterization. "It is this inexhaustibility of film, this more, this élan, that is philosophically interesting and thoughtful, for it is the one absolute that resists relativism" (3). The method of the book is to provide a sympathetic but critical assessment of a wide range of philosophical approaches to film - including the cognitive theoretical approach of Bordwell and Branigan, the work of range of recent philosophers who use film as illustration and thought experiment, the fresh psychoanalytic perspective of Žižek, the work of Deleuze and Cavell and Badiou and Ranciere and many others - that considers each as offering a refracted (that is, transformed and partial) vision of cinema, that reveal cinema to offer refracted visions (rather than reflections) of reality. That he doesn't do more than sketch his own, independent, approach to film philosophy is understandable insofar as the basic gist of his critique is that existing approaches to the philosophy of film have attempted to draw out the thinking of film by, in effect, doing the thinking on behalf of film. His aim is to motivate a pluralistic approach to cinema, that manages not only to show us how to think about cinema's many aspects and impacts, but allows thereby the thinking of cinema itself to make itself manifest.
Two basic concerns regarding existing philosophical approaches to film recur throughout. On the one hand, each theory succeeds by being highly selective (even, and especially, where they deny this) in its approach to cinema, choosing those dimensions of film and specific works that confirm the approach. The other recurring challenge is that film philosophies treat as philosophical in film only those contents and questions for which there are precedents within well-established philosophical tradition. The concern is that film is not then allowed to challenge philosophy, or to teach new ways of doing philosophy, or to open up new domains for philosophical thought, but becomes, rather, at best a tool in the hands of the philosopher, for sharpening intuitions regarding ideas whose proper locus remains within philosophy proper. The point is important, and Mullarkey shows that even thinkers who raise such concerns explicitly tend still to treat film as dependent upon philosophy to articulate and clarify its thinking. Still, his emphasis of this point, and his tendency to raise flags where philosophical accounts of film motivate their inquiries by appeal to the relevance of specific films to enduring philosophical questions, means that Mullarkey doesn't tend to emphasize areas in which cinematic and philosophical thinking share basic concerns. Rather than look for film's own "thinking" in its resistance to philosophical theorizing, perhaps it would be fruitful to consider philosophy and film as "in conversation" regarding a range of shared concerns, which may very well include traditional philosophical questions.
The sense in which Mullarkey holds that cinema thinks for itself is quite distinct from but more inclusive than that proposed by, say, Deleuze or, more recently, Daniel Frampton. Deleuze, on the one hand, associates the thinking he finds in film with the auteurs who create it, and, on the other hand, sees the types of images they work into their films to be conceptual. By creating new types of images, filmmakers create new concepts, and the thinking of film is embedded in these concepts. He focuses, in particular, on a "conceptual" shift that took place in the course of the history of cinema, in which a new kind of image - the "time-image" - made it possible for film to think or project new realities. Frampton is more reluctant to identify the thinking in film with anything or anyone outside of the film, and so treats the film itself as a kind of consciousness or mind, a "filmind", whose thinking is manifest in the film's activity of attending to or focusing on this or that subject matter. For Mullarkey, both accounts are too narrowly selective. Both aim to place the thinking of the film on the screen itself, but overlook, for example, the socially mediated nature of the encounter with the cinematic encounter, and the temporally mediated nature of the images themselves. An image that appears initially to its audiences as an instance of temporal rupture, or an affective response to a situation, can later come to appear quite differently. What a cinematic image is or shows depends on what it has shown before, and on what the audience has seen as point of reference, and there is in principle no limit to what can turn out to be relevant to a reading of what is "on the screen itself."
What Mullarkey advocates is a turn away from the "hierarchy of hermetic discourses" - each claiming the superiority of its own approach - that dominates film studies now, and a turn instead towards a pluralistic proliferation of discourses on film, something akin to the post-war French research program known as "Filmology" that aimed to look at film from (nearly) every possible perspective. If film's thinking appears in its resistance to any fixed definition of what it can be, then this proliferation would reveal that thinking by manifesting that resistance from the perspective of several distinct aspects of film. Film thinks for itself, in other words, insofar as filmmakers encounter and overcome the limits of what film has been, how it has been interpreted, how it has solved problems and creatively engendered solutions. Film, one might say, just is its development of new means of expression, new contents for exploration, new ways of relating to its audience, and this creative responsiveness is revealed as "thinking" by the various discourses that give account of these transformations.
Mullarkey links his own approach to film with the "non-philosophy" of François Laruelle, by way of contrast with the various philosophies of film that he examines. "Non-philosophy" does not aim to define or dictate norms towards a subject matter it takes to be perfectly capable of defining itself and of setting up and challenging its own standards on its own terms. It aims, rather, to "think alongside" its subject matter, tracing its contours by noting the ways in which it resists definition by the various discourses that describe it. The most promising sketch of the illuminating potential for a "non-philosophy" of film comes in the final chapter of the book, when Mullarkey outlines several dimensions of film that "refuse to stand still and be 'classical'" (191). The affective dimension of film, for example, whose potential resistance to "theories of cinematic emotions" Mullarkey illustrates by way of an example that appears in varied guises throughout the text. The experience of waiting, say, for a cube of sugar to dissolve into a cup of coffee, can be both a subject matter depicted on film and can generate the associated affects in the viewer, of anticipation, of impatience. The capacity of film to curtail or prolong that experience, or to direct the viewer's attention selectively towards movements that transform boredom into fascination, or otherwise reshape the affective experience of time, challenges attempts to characterize film affects independently from the effects of cinema. Even time, or at least the experience of its duration, is shown thereby to resist characterization by way of the clock (and to thereby challenge the alleged objectivity and clarifying impact of "empirical" descriptions of cinema that rest on temporal measurements, say of the average time between cuts): "we dissolve into the film's duration just as it mixes itself with ours" (192).
One potential drawback to defining the thinking of film in the way that he does is that a similar account would seem to apply to any subject matter whatsoever, insofar as every reality is complex and resists to some degree or other the range of discourses that might aim to characterize it. In his concluding remarks that urge philosophers to learn from the resistance of film to any and all attempts to circumscribe it, Mullarkey comes close to offering a manifesto for any future (non-)philosophy, that loses sight of what is distinctive to the philosophy (or non-philosophy) of film as such. Still, along the way he offers exceptionally lucid and penetrating accounts and criticisms of a wide-ranging body of work on film. While it may be daunting for beginners, Mullarkey's book is an essential contribution to the field for anyone who aims to take the philosophy of film seriously.
© 2011 Nathan Andersen
Nathan Andersen is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Eckerd College, where he teaches a wide range of courses on the history of philosophy, environmental philosophy, philosophy of film, and philosophy of mind. He has published articles on Hegel, Aristotle, Collingwood, Environmental Ethics and the Philosophy of Film. He is also the director of an award-winning Tampa Bay International Cinema series, and the co-director of the "Visions of Nature/Voices of Nature," Environmental Film Festival.