Film and Ethics

Cinema: Journal of Philosophy and the Moving Image welcomes submissions to its 11th issue on Film and Ethics
Call for papers

A special focus will be given to enquire film’s aesthetic/ethical relationship: film’s path from normative ethics to applied ethics; the extent to which aesthetic form, or style, determine ethical meaning; the way it instigates ethical understandings and cultural-political awareness and how it involves ethical/political statements.

Exploring the issue of film and ethics also provides a rich way of revisiting the legacy of film theory, especially with regard to cinema’s ideological and political dimensions, since film’s aesthetics and ethics have always enjoyed a close, if sometimes troubled, relationship. Examples can be found in such different developments such as Jean Epstein’s notion of the ‘enhanced moral value’ of photogenie; the political and moral capacities of montage by Eisenstein; Kracauer’s and André Bazin’s moral and aesthetic realism, Cinéma Verité’s concerns about the ethics of the medium and its claimed objectivity; documentary film’s ethical enquires on ‘realism’; Jean Luc-Godard’s famous statement ‘les travellings sont affaire de morale’ (‘tracking shots are a question of morality’), and Werner Herzog’s notion of Ecstatic truth. On the other hand, the films of Lars von Trier, Quentin Tarantino, Michael Haneke, or the New French Extremism, are recent examples of ethical experiences done against ethics itself.

The very same insight of the intricate relationship between aesthetics and ethics in film can be found in philosophy. Stanley Cavell’s books on popular film genres forays into finding a means to articulate the ethics of everyday life, and we can find in Gilles Deleuze’s book on cinema deep readings on the ethics of the aesthetics of the films of Dreyer, Bresson, Rossellini, Rohmer, Godard, Kurosawa and Mizoguchi. Levinas’ philosophy has being used to evaluate the ethical encounter with the ‘Other’; and phenomenological approaches to cinematic ethics have been stressing the emotional engagement, embodied experience, and moral empathy produced by film’s aesthetics and content.

This issue of Cinema: Journal of Philosophy and the Moving Image, will privilege essays that endorse the perspective of film as ethics. Studies on the ethics of film, or on ethics in film will also be accepted.

Themes of interest include, but are not limited to, the following subjects:

Aesthetics as ethics (example: ethical meaning of montage, long takes, deep focus, etc.); The moral and political significance of aesthetics in film; Phenomenological approaches to film’s ethics: emotional engagement, embodied experience, and moral empathy; Philosophy, ethics and film (ex: Lacan, Foucault, Levinas, Derrida, Ricoeur, Badiou, etc.); Philosophical views on the aesthetic/ethic relationship (Kant, Plato, Heidegger, Nietzsche, Nussbaum, etc.); Agamben’s view on Gesture in cinema: its political and ethical consequences; Deleuze’s modes of existence; The ethical and moral dynamic of the classical Hollywood film genres: the melodrama, the western, etc.; Film’s use for moral pedagogy or for political propaganda and censorship; Film criticism and values; The ethics of ‘objectivity’ and ‘truth’ in documentaries; Technology and ethics in different recording and/or exhibition formats: digital versus analogical film; movie theatre, personal transportable devices, TV, internet, etc.

Submissions are accepted in English, Portuguese and French and should be sent to Patrícia Castello Branco or Susana Viegas.

Prospective authors should submit a short CV along with the abstract. Abstract proposals (max. 500 words) are due on March 8th, 2019, and a notice of acceptance will be sent to the authors on March 15th, 2019.

A selection of authors will be invited to submit full papers according to the journal’s guidelines. Acceptance of the abstract does not guarantee publication, since all papers will be subjected to double blind peer-review.

Cinema also invites submissions to its other sections: Interviews, Conference Reports and Book Reviews

For further information or questions about the issue, please contact the Editors Patrícia Castello Branco or Susana Viegas.

Please consult the web site of the journal for further details.

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