The Evolution of Film: rethinking film studies

Author: 
Harbord, Janet

Directly engages with Deleuze to discuss the role of space in formulating notions of space-time in cinema, the film chosen as example is Beau Travail. (pp. 20-40)

How is film changing? What does it do, and what do we do with it? This book examines the reasons why we should be studying film in the twenty-first century, connecting debates from philosophy, anthropology and new media with historical concerns of film studies.

When the common frameworks for studying film - the nation, identity, representation, Hollywood industry - have ceased to yield explanatory power, how do we conceive of film's doings? In this fresh and innovative book, Janet Harbord argues that film no longer represents or stands in for particular cultures, but acts isomorphically, showing us how the world works. Film here is action, energy, matter, moving across space to forge connections, provide encounters, and create schisms in our knowledge of others. The book brings together key thinkers of the contemporary in an innovative exchange between film and theory. Marc Auge's concept of 'non-place' is brought to bear on, and disrupt, the category of national cinema. Manuel DeLanda's notion of morphogenesis frames an understanding of film as a process of constant evolution, in which the terms of change are immanent to matter itself. And the concept of inertia, from Paul Virilio's work, allows us to comprehend the different energies of film. Arguing that there is no higher position from which to view the present, either in theory or in film, we move blindly and yet with faith, discovering the present frame by frame. The Evolution of Film demonstrates how this is an intangible yet critical medium in the contemporary, mediating relationships to place, technology and thought itself.

Citation: 
Janet Harbord, The Evolution of Film: rethinking film studies (Polity, 2007)