Film-Philosophy Conference, Film-Philosophy Conference 2012

Thanathology in Film Studies

Olga A Kyrylova


The purpose of this paper is to introduce Thanathology (Death Studies) of Film as a new approach in Film Philosophy. This approach is focused both on the imagery of death, its "aesthetic paradigms" in film and on the element of death inherent to cinema as a kind of art, on the perspectives of exploration of death by means of filming. Such implicit "film thanathology" can be found in works in film theory by A.Bazin, J.Cocteau, G.Deleuze; nowadays it is Russian and American film theorist M.Yampolsky implicitly working in this genre basically using the material of films directed by Alexander Sokurov. Hereby we analyze "paradigms of death" in film which is illustrated in our paper by "Orphee" (1950) by J.Cocteau (a mirror trip to the Otherworld), "Oedipus Rex" (1967) by P.P.Pasolini (a picture of the Underworld and its inhabitants), "The Mirror" (1975) by A.Tarkovski (identification of the viewer with the Gaze of the camera as with the Death Gaze), "Faust" (2011) by A.Sokurov (film reality represented as a "body" decaying, infected by death). Film thanathology represents cinema as a kind of "death research" as, after J.Cocteau, "it is filming death at work".

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About the Presenter

Olga A Kyrylova
Kyiv National Pedagogical University n.a. M.P.Dragomanov