Intersecting Ecology and Film: A Paradigm Shift
Screening Nature: Cinema Beyond the Human
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Film theory and film studies have only recently rediscovered what is surely most visible about film: its entanglement in the world it shoots, edits, and projects. As a representational art, film ‘screens’ nonhuman nature as both revelation and concealment. The ambivalence of the screen and of the act of screening, whether as projecting and exhibiting or as filtering and veiling, comes to define film’s relationship to its materiality: its locations, onscreen lives, mise-en-scène, narrative structures, spectators, exhibition spaces, its carbon footprint and chemical building blocks, from celluloid to silicon. All of these are part of cinema’s diverse ecologies. Accordingly, the present study does not focus only on nature and animal films. We take as a point of departure films that foreground ecology in the wider sense of the word. The essays in this book are primarily interested in how something that figures as ‘nature’ becomes entangled and enmeshed in everything else. Many of the concerns Morton mentions are found here: ideology, race, class, gender, and sexuality, interspecies relations, questions of justice, politics, and aesthetics. We hope the collection offers a well-rounded demonstration of cinematic ecology in action. This introductory essay inscribes ecology and nature back into film studies, back to where nature always already is, in the hope of encouraging to ‘normalise,’ even institutionalise, a more ecocentric attention to cinema—attention to the interconnectedness of the natural world and humans within it as integral parts of the study and practice of film.
AuthorsPICK, A; Narraway, G
- Film Studies