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The overarching argument of the book is that Godard's conception and practice of cinematic language opens new, important possibilities for thinking about radical alterity. This book reads a series of Godard films as interventions in contemporary debate about the language of difference. Godard has something he wants both to preserve (singularity) and destroy (visual and aural totalitarianism). How is it possible to speak about the Other? How is it possible for the Other to speak? Does all speaking about or by the Other render that speaking common, thereby rendering what is different identical? These questions gather together a number of issues that cross and intersect disciplinary boundaries: signification, representation, ethics, politics.The problematics with which Drabinski is concerned begin in the debate between Levinas and Derrida, then later in dialogue with Blanchot and Irigaray. To this extent, Godard is particularly well-suited as an interlocutor. Godard's work, especially in the 1970s, is itself a self-conscious form of philosophy. His films theorize themselves, produce a reflexive sound-image language, and so in many ways match the very essence of philosophy: thought thinking thought.Still, the medium of sound and image complicates any rendering of Godard's work as philosophy. Godard produces a philosophically significant cinematic language rather than simply narrating or representing philosophical ideas in the medium of film. And this language must be taken seriously in the context of the problem of difference. For, if difference is concerned with signification as such, then the visual and aural retain equal rights with writing (and all questions obtaining therein).The nature of the debate in this project - how the language of alterity is possible or impossible - immediately breaks disciplinary borders between philosophy, literary theory, film studies and cultural studies. What it means to engage with film in this context, however, is complicated. To wit, there are two standard treatments of film in philosophy. Film is typically either an example of a philosophical position or philosophy is used to interpret motifs, characters, plot lines, etc. In neither case is film engaged as a form of philosophizing itself,that is, as a language engaged with philosophical problems. The aim of the project is to read Godard's work as primary texts, with all the attention due the idiosyncratic language of those texts. Framed by the debate about difference and signification, these primary texts register and resonate as transformative interventions.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780826428066
ISBN-10: 0826428061
Format: Hardback
(235mm x 155mm x 19mm)
Pages: 176
Imprint: Continuum International Publishing Group Ltd.
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Publish Date: 15-Aug-2008
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

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Author Biography - John E. Drabinski

John E. Drabinski teaches at Hampshire College. He is the author of Sensibility and Singularity: The Problem of Phenomenology in Levinas.

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