Film-Philosophy Conference, Film-Philosophy Conference 2011

How Does a Film Show Its Purpose? A Husserlian Perspective on Manipulation and Reflection in Contemporary Cinema

Christian Ferencz-Flatz

##manager.scheduler.building##: Art and Design Academy Roderick Walker Seminar Room
Date: 08-07-% 09:30 AM – 11:00 AM


In a notation from the 1920s, Husserl suggests an interpretation of images as “artifacts”. For Husserl, “artifacts” are apprehended as such by an apperception involving empathy, as: a) objects made on purpose the way they are, and not products of mere accident and b) objects destined for a certain use. Thus, every artifact – be it a tool, a sign or a work of art – “indicates”, generally or only to members of a certain tradition, both the activity by which it gained its current shape, as well as the purpose for which it was designed. The same obviously applies for images, which we immediately: perceive as purposeful creations (even if their purpose is not entirely manifest) and see as objects destined for a pictorial apprehension. By taking Husserl’s exposition as our starting point, we will question the various modes this “artifactual character” becomes patent in cinema perception. Thus, we will dwell on Michael Haneke’s opposition between “manipulation” (designating the manner in which mainstream cinema reaches its purpose by disguising it) and cinematic “reflection” (as a possibility of the filmmaker to unmask manipulation, by using it against its purpose). We will illustrate this opposition on two examples: Haneke’s own Funny Games (1997), with its attempt to unravel the un-reflected position towards violence in mainstream action-cinema and Andrei Ujica’s use of propaganda material – against its own purpose – in The Autobiography of Nicolae Ceausescu (2010).

Only abstracts are available on this site

About the Presenter

Christian Ferencz-Flatz
Romanian Society for Phenomenology, Bucharest