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A Framework for an Eco-Philosophical Hermeneutics of Cinema


A Framework for an Eco-Philosophical Hermeneutics of Cinema

Rosadiuk, John Adam (2018) A Framework for an Eco-Philosophical Hermeneutics of Cinema. PhD thesis, Concordia University.

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Through long-form interpretations of four films all released in the early 2010s—CAVE OF FORGOTTEN DREAMS (Werner Herzog, 2011), HUGO (Martin Scorsese, 2011), UNCLE BOONMEE WHO CAN RECALL HIS PAST LIVES (Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2010), and MELANCHOLIA (Lars von Trier, 2011)—this dissertation takes up the challenge of thinking non-anthropocentrically. Treated as neither theoretical illustrations nor as case studies, I engage with these films as examples of an evolving cinematic medium and use my interpretations to develop a unique framework for both analyzing filmic texts and for understanding mediation itself as an important eco-philosophical and eco-ethical concern.

As expounded by the pioneering eco-philosopher Hans Jonas (1903-1993), a self-aware Anthropocene requires a new “image of the human” suited to the emergence of an “integral monism” that can reconcile what Jonas argues is our unsustainable contemporary dualism. The foundation of this new eco-ethics is a bold philosophical project to extend metaphysics to all living things. While Jonas’ diagnosis and proposed treatment for humanity’s anti-ecological tendencies is precise, his interest in what he characterizes as the fundamental biological phenomenon of mediation reveals the difficult and recursive thinking inherent to this kind of metaphysics. This dissertation contends that film studies is well suited to exactly this kind of self-reflexive ontological analysis, and draws inspiration from how thinkers like Siegfried Kracauer and Stanley Cavell understand the cinematic medium as both material and metaphysical.

The ontological and methodological problems of ‘exploring’ and ‘understanding’ a medium like cinema are rejuvenated by Jonas' eco-ethical provocation. Using the hermeneutic philosophy of Hans-Georg Gadamer and Stanley Cavell's “cinematic circle” as precedents, this study crosses interdisciplinary boundaries to uncover a set of eco-ontological themes that join aesthetic mediation and the phenomenon of life in a mutually illuminating hermeneutic circle.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Fine Arts > Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Authors:Rosadiuk, John Adam
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Ph. D.
Program:Film and Moving Image Studies
Date:1 July 2018
Thesis Supervisor(s):Lefebvre, Martin
Keywords:cinema, mediation, interpretation, hermeneutics, eco-philosophy, eco-criticism, eco-ethics, ontology, Hans Jonas, Siegfried Kracauer, Stanley Cavell, skepticism, Martin Scorsese, Hugo, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Uncle Boonmee, Werner Herzog, Cave of Forgotten Dreams, Lars von Trier, Melancholia, Tree of Life, Terrence Malick, dualism, materialism, idealism, consciousness, camera movement, point of view, post-human, non-anthropocentrism
ID Code:984812
Deposited On:10 Jun 2019 13:00
Last Modified:10 Jun 2019 13:00
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