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Showtime: the phenomenology of film consciousness

By Spencer Shaw


The thesis argues that the notion of film consciousness deepens a wide-range of philosophical issues in ways which are only accessible through film experience. These issues, directly related to the continental tradition, deal with consciousness, experience, intentionally and meaning. We look to the implications of the initial acts of film reproduction as it creates 'images' of the world which reconceptualise vision in terms of space, time and dimension. We move from ontology to experience and examine an aesthetic form with radical implications for spectator consciousness.\ud \ud These issues are explored from two philosophical positions. Firstly, phenomenology, especially Edmund Husserl and Maurice Merleau-Ponty. Secondly, the work of Gilles Deleuze who presents the most penetrating insights to date into film consciousness and its repercussions for thought and affectivity.\ud \ud The focus of this study is to draw together these two philosophical positions, showing their fundamental differences but also similarities where they exist. This approach is rarely attempted but the belief running through this thesis is that film is one arena which is invaluable for making such comparisons. It is argued philosophically that film writes large key phenomenological concepts on intentionality, time-consciousness and the relation of the lifeworld to the predicative. In terms of Deleuze, film is shown as a unique artform which in allowing us to link otherwise casts light on Deleuze's own complex system of thought.\ud \ud Chapters 1-3 are concerned with phenomenology and detail the role of film in terms of the lifeworld, intentionally, reduction and the transcendental in a way which has not been attempted elsewhere. The linking chapter on time (4) is used to introduce the work of Henri Bergson and its influence both on phenomenology's inner time-consciousness and Deleuze's fundamental categories of film movement and time imagery. The final two chapters look at the way film is reconfigured through montage and the implications of this for film's unique expression of movement and time

Topics: B1, PN1993
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