Film-Philosophy

International Salon-Journal (ISSN 1466-4615)

Vol. 9 No. 11, February 2005

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wilhelm S. Wurzer

 

Filming (In) Futures:

A Response to the _Film-Philosophy_ Special Issue

 

 

Special Issue on Wilhelm S. Wurzer

_Film-Philosophy_, vol. 9 nos 6-11, February 2005

http://www.film-philosophy.com/vol9-2005

 

When reviewing philosophical texts about theory, it is difficult to practice *philology*, if we understand by it 'the art of reading well -- of reading facts without falsifying them by interpretation, without losing caution, patience, delicacy, in the desire to understand'. [1] My readers have, to a great extent, been *philological* in their analysis of _Filming and Judgment_/_Filmisches Denken_. [2] While none have caught the allusion of my title to Husserl's _Experience and Judgment_, they have all noted an unprecedented reading of judgment in relation to a cinematic site of thinking. This idea, in its pre-cinematic configuration, is in part inspired by Hoelderlin's _Ueber Urteil und Seyn_ (1792), where the poet criticizes Fichte for regarding self-consciousness as a sovereign point of departure for philosophy. Indeed, Hoelderlin, more than any other modern thinker, explores the notion of *abyss* (Ab-grund), which later becomes a 'grounding question' for Heidegger. Hoelderlin's poetic thought captures the intensity and wisdom Nietzsche and Heidegger expand. The readers' disagreements with my arguments, which have sometimes been amusing, have alerted me to the necessity of being more precise, and have taught me to better understand the relation between philosophy and film. I do not read the criticisms negatively but rather as a sign for rethinking the complex strategy of a philosophical turn to cinema. Nor do I read the readers' agreements merely positively, but rather as exhibiting and expanding *a film 'theory' to come*, with regard to *a post-metaphysical abyss*, expressed by the cinematic (i.e. Adornian) constellation of Kant, Nietzsche, and Heidegger.

 

 

1. Imre Szeman's 'Film Beyond Metaphysics'

 

According to Szeman, _Filming and Judgment_ 'undertakes a genealogy of filming, in order to examine some of the problems which filming encounters in its withdrawal from metaphysics'. He is right in pointing out that the origins of such a genealogy can be found in the works of Kant, Nietzsche, and Heidegger. While filming is closest to Heidegger's *phainesthai*, the origins of filming in Kant and Nietzsche are much more extensive than I suggested in _Filming and Judgment_. Nonetheless, traces of the Kantian and Nietzschean intensity of this matter can be found on pages 17-20 and 66-79. There it becomes clear that Kant already introduces a *judging* radically different from the one encountered in the history of philosophy up to his time. Beyond Nietzsche's ironic political 'imaging', I have only begun to consider the esoteric texts associated with Heidegger's innovative, major work, _Contributions to Philosophy: From Enowning_, highlighting the importance of thinking the *enowning* or *event* (*Ereignis*) from the standpoint of the very fate of the west, namely, history as a *filmic* story of be-ing (*Seyn*). There are so many fascinating ideas in Heidegger's _Contributions_ and the corresponding six major unpublished works between 1939-46. Only a few have appeared in German and only one (_Contributions_) has so far been translated into English. My current project on 'Filming Futures' explores in greater detail the genealogical origins of filming in Heidegger's philosophy of the 30s and 40s. This *being-historical* approach to filming is quite different from the psychoanalytic, the semiotic, and many of the postmodern/deconstructive accounts. Nor does this 'post-essentialist' orientation replicate Gilles Deleuze's view of cinema. Neither my current nor my earlier orientation remains 'haunted by the last traces of ground', as Szeman points out, but rather by a distinctive interlacing of *abyss and world*, subverting the principle of ground and a dominant subjectivity. Indeed, my readings of Adorno's critique of *mimesis* and his post-aesthetic view of *second reflection* refer to his main work, as Szeman concedes, as 'just such a space of transition'. In turn, the principle of ground, pervasive throughout the history of western philosophy, can no longer be a point of departure for filming. The *electro-techno* adaptation of filming marks the dissipation of ground.

 

Szeman has done a superb job in unraveling the intricate problems regarding the relation of judgment and freedom explored in the aesthetic writings of Kant and Adorno. He writes: 'Just as imagination is free with regard to art, so too is judgment, since it need not conform to cognition or morality with regard to something that is neither *noumenon* nor *phenomenon* . . . [but to] that *beautiful thing* which is art'. In this uncanny freedom of spirit, *judging* (*Beurteilung*) is drawn into a counter-metaphysical *abyss* (*Ab-grund*). Filming is shown to be the contemporary event of the *abyss*. Heidegger already caught the drift of this 'aesthetic' deconstruction of subjectivity in his brilliant hermeneutic readings of Hoelderlin and Nietzsche. (One of my original titles for _Filming and Judgment_ was _Heidegger in the Epoch of Filming_.) The matter of Heidegger's *event-philosophy* needs to be addressed more fully in light of the question of filming, raised explicitly with regard to task of thinking (*Denken*). I have argued that 'the history of philosophy, at least from Plato to Spinoza, has consistently repressed the notion of imaging and confined its importance to a logocentric view of reason'. [3] My text provides a *phenomenology of filming* without confining *filming-as-thinking* to the epistemic constrains of a *self-consciousness* oriented 'phenomenology'. To be sure, *filming-as-thinking* has opened the door to *other phenomenologies*, evidenced in the texts of Kant's _Critique of Judgment_, Nietzsche's _Birth of Tragedy_, Heidegger's esoteric texts (1936-46), and, notably, Adorno's fluid _Aesthetic Theory_. But what do these texts have in common with *actual* films? Ironically, what Heidegger calls 'the splendor of the simple' -- namely *thinking*. In the history of modern aesthetics, especially in cinematic art, Alfred Hitchcock is one of a few who were able to interlace the delicate boundaries of the imaginal and the 'philosophical'. [4] He and the philosophers mentioned made it possible to free *filmic thought* from the frequently inflated *spiritus* in psychoanalysis and post-structuralism.

 

In his challenging review, Szeman discerns the various strategies of exploring 'judgment in a space of filming, unencumbered by its metaphysical debt'. He notes that the filmic critique of ground introduces a notion of capital that anticipates a time radically different from that of communism and capitalism. More than a cursory glance at the ecstatic obscenity of commodified images, capital erodes dialectical anchoring and grants spirit's unknown, luminous distance from the principle of ground. It is too fluid to be captured as a being or a concept. The cinema participates in that fluidity. A discussion of this issue is merited from the standpoint of the intimacy of capital and *the history of be-ing*, if by be-ing we understand the *events of futures*. Straying from beings toward a filmic extension of be-ing, capital is no longer secured by the presence of any power. A sublime fading of spirit into *sigetic* homelessness, [5] capital (a new site for films) *is* power beyond a subject.

 

The last part of Szeman's review focuses on his basic disagreement with 'the overall project of rescuing judgment' both from metaphysics and a post-essentialist philosophy. The heart of his criticism can be summed up in the statement: 'Wurzer believes that imagination and judgment have been repressed by metaphysics; the overthrow of metaphysics will allow them to attain their true character'. Throughout _Filming and Judgment_ I have never used the phrase 'overthrow of metaphysics'. Indeed, this would make the project, as Szeman notes, 'hopelessly ontological'. I am well aware (as is Szeman) that Heidegger often alludes to the error of simply wanting to overthrow metaphysics. If my project were merely 'a nostalgia for an earlier, modernist politic', there would have been no need to explore the question of *filming* as a post-cinematic gaze of judging, that is, as a 'new phenomenological' event, de-lighting in imaging off images to clear the way for a novel literature of judging. There is an essential difference between 'overthrowing metaphysics' and 'overcoming metaphysics', or even *coming to terms with* (*Verwindung*) it. Marxism, which has yet to show its 'success', attempted to do the former. Philosophy since Hoelderlin has tried to do the latter. But as Szeman notes, quoting Heidegger, 'a regard for metaphysics still prevails in the intention to overcome [it]'. Here I would defer to Adorno, who makes a distinction between 'the metaphysical' and 'metaphysics'. While it is absurd to continue to engage in metaphysical explorations for their own sake, it is quite fruitful to 'think metaphysically' in strategies to exceed metaphysics. This is what I have done especially in part 3 of my work, 'A Post-Aesthetic of Filming', confined by Szeman's review to 'an inscription of an ontology of plurality and difference over a former ontology of identity'. Nowhere in the text do I propose another version of a politics of difference. Instead, I argue that 'once *phainesthai* is deontologized, filming *activates* judgment's disruption, severing its dis-course from received metaphysical formations whose determinate, logical, and aesthetic manifestations appear to have locked imagination into limited and limiting channels' (102). I emphasize that *mimesis* is still the core of filmmaking, and, to be sure, of film theory. Filming, however, cannot be guided by a strong mimetic act. As it fades from the scene of things, even from the screen of images, filming appears without appearing while thinking-judging cinematic images. In exposing capital, filming exceeds modern-postmodern groundings. Beyond an inside or outside of metaphysics, capital, an open theater of probing, has nothing to imitate and is simultaneously inimitable.

 

Aspects of this open cinematic theater of futures and the highly problematic film called *logos* are explored quite rigorously in chapters 6-9. Szeman touches upon some of these aspects but in the end concludes that they are more 'prophetic' than 'philosophical'. I do not presume to provide any spiritual or moral insights. A more careful reading of part 3 will indicate that my approach is perhaps too 'phenomenological' in a post-phenomenological sense. For filming is related to the matter of *phenomenon* as explored by Heidegger. The difference, however, between filming and Heidegger's take of 'phenomenon' lies in reason's divergence (*Entfernung*) from ontological reflection. Filming transposes Heidegger's insight of 'showing' into a 'reflective' mirroring, beyond the ontological intensity of presence that marks his early phenomenological orientation. Yet Heidegger's path of thinking (from the 30s and 40s), indebted to the later Hoelderlin and to Nietzsche, guides our mindfulness of filming, mostly with regard to *Gelassenheit* (letting-be). So, I do not regard film as a form of theory in the mode of Deleuze but as a form of *Denken* in the mode of Heidegger. The com-posure of reason (*Gelassenheit*) makes filming as *phusis* of our epoch possible. Thus, Heidegger's reading of *phainesthai* already broaches filming. The very aim of 'phenomenon' converges with filming's turn from metaphysics to a disseminative com-posure of reason. The Heideggerian texts point to a distinctive showing of *Denken* beyond the 'postmodern', a *sigetics* that filming carries to its radical conclusion -- namely, capital.

 

Contrary to Szeman's otherwise careful enumerations, there is no nostalgic-ontologic dimension in our post-phenomenological reading of *phainesthai*. Filming may be regarded as an 'appearing', yet neither in the transcendental-subjective (Kantian) sense nor in the ontological (early Heideggerian _Being and Time_) sense of 'showing-itself'. Something more distinctive occurs: a thinking that fades from the 'showing' of presence without fading from 'showing'. The notion of presence still determines the Kantian and the early Heideggerian concepts of 'showing'. In Kant's critical philosophy, we are challenged by the transcendental subject. In the early Heidegger's phenomenology, we are overwhelmed by the presence of Being (Sein). Filming, on the other hand, ruptures Heidegger's phenomenological concept of phenomenon articulated in section 7 of _Being and Time_ -- although it marks 'a distinctive way something can be encountered', in exposing capital, filming finally exceeds the 'light' of essence, what Heidegger defines as 'the *transcendens* pure and simple'. [6] This does not attribute a new ground to filming as Szeman speculates. Rather, capital, shown in reflective *kinesis*, marks a nonidentical dispersion. Filming, perhaps, signifies a radical historical remarking of Spinoza's 15th proposition in Book 1 of the _Ethics_: 'Everything that exists, exists in capital, and nothing can be or be conceived of without capital.' Spinoza's own statement is, of course: 'Quicquid est, in Deo est, et nihil sine Deo esse neque concipi potest.' [8] Filming indicates this distinctive, unfolding of human history by deconstructing the dialectic priority of capital as historical substance or essence. Capital, therefore, is not the last referent or 'the last god' (as Heidegger names the historical event of the future), but a former signified fading into the new terrain of judging, in Szeman's words, 'the old cloth of metaphysics'.

 

 

2. Martin Donougho, 'Rethinking Cinema as Philosophy'

 

Martin Donougho regards _Filming and Judgment_ as an original attempt to rethink cinema as philosophy but fears that I have not gone far enough *cinematographically* in my 'resolutely post-Heideggerian and post-Adornian' description of *filming*. He is also concerned about 'the paratactic density' of my language as well as the 'stratospheric' heights of discussion, not to mention the 'radical surgery' performed on Kant's and Adorno's aesthetic. Rethinking cinema philosophically and philosophy cinematically, we are not inclined to rush into discerning, visually resourceful 'conditions of reception and perception'. Instead, we are left to wonder what *thinking* (*Denken*) is still about in a *counter-metaphysical* terrain. We might want to trace the camera movements through the twists and turns of a post-metaphysical judging but we do not want to fall into the convenient immediacy of cinematographic discourse. We can do this perhaps more readily once we read *filming* as a new 'distant' *home* for thought and once we better understand how *thinking* takes on *filming*. This may merit more arguments and illustrations as Donougho prefers. On the other hand, we do not want to push *filming* into 'the clarity of the ordinary and familiar' lest we fall into a methodology that rests upon a cause-effect relationship. [8] My study shows that *filming* is not about the immediacy of images but concerns a cinematic transfiguration of be-ing, I might add, in Adornian fashion, *the apparition of be-ing* that allows the filmic medium to be transposed into a nonimaginal region (of art), a judging with unlimited narrative and cinematic possibilities. The apparitional nature of the cinematic and its filmic futures come to light in Wong Kar-wai's _Days of Being Wild_. This and his more recent _2046_ liberate cinema from the sovereignty of making final judgments, freeing it for the freely open -- beauty naturally displaced in the radiance of passages of desire.

 

I do not test Kantian and Adornian aesthetics, as Donougho claims, but I insert 'post-metaphysical' traces of their aesthetics into an unprecedented, erotically revolutionary judging. Adorno's new style of deframing allows for judgment's eccentric turn from Kant's 'cultural' free play of imagination to Heidegger's post-ontological *abyss* (*Ab-grund*). It is here (*Da-sein*) that thinking finds a cinematic *Heimat*. Hence, it is not odd at all that the text focuses on Leni Riefenstahl's _Triumph of the Will_, a film that disrupts the very movement it pretends to film just as Gibson's _The Passion of the Christ_ disturbs our notions of Christianity while showing the serene individuality of Jesus. There are cinematic counterpoints here that need to be addressed more fully with regard to *filming*. As we penetrate both of these films it becomes clear that they are not to be read literally but in a *rhetorically-cinematic* mode. Read in this way, the films signify a 'will to power' that breaks the images dominating the cinematic experience. In both films, there is a singular post-aesthetic turn away from the very will of a highly charged institutional movement (*Bewegung*). The proof of filming, therefore, is not 'in the seeing and hearing', as Donougho believes, but in showing that there is no need for such a proof, since we are not trying to demonstrate that filming is anything in particular. If 'anything', filming is a *form* of thinking that in-forms us about a site beyond mimetic reflections akin to Adorno's *the beautiful-in-nature* (*das Naturschoene*). While filming initially relies on the cinematic, stepping out of the light of metaphysics into the filmic bed of a freely open text, it does not exhaust the cinematic in its mindful rise beyond *mimesis*.

 

Contrary to Donougho's view, my analysis of filming is not opposed to Baudrillard's 'aesthetics', which I find fruitful and fascinating, yet insufficiently free and open. Nor do I have a desire to engage the enemy since there is no 'enemy' when it comes to filming. Capital's 'sublime' futures, filmed by filming, erases the dialectical urge to provide security of argumentation. The filmic erosion of a 'safe place', however, does not mean that anything goes. A new site, instead, reveals intimate joinings (*Gefuge*) of Heidegger's *Gelassenheit* and Adorno's *imago* of the artwork as something 'unexchangeable'. Adorno receives more praise than Donougho thinks. My 'post-aesthetic' reservations are mostly related to Adorno's modernist despair of capital. This philosophic desperation is present in the history of modern and 'postmodern' philosophies, such as in Derrida, Deleuze, Baudrillard, the early Lyotard, and Jean-Luc Nancy. It is, what I would like to call, a *softmodern paranoia* that determines in part the thinking from Nietzsche (note his focus on *money-tendency*,*Geldtendenz*) to and after Heidegger. Drifting away from 'postmodern' reflections, filming does not share common 'theory-oriented' negative readings of capital. Nor does it uphold a 'positive' interpretation. Since art could not keep its promise (it is just as commodified as anything else), it needs (a la Adorno) 'second reflection'. This is the beginning of filming. Filming is also 'critical' of cinema. Only when we see capital as art (of apparition) can we become 'critical' of that art. Only when we regard capital as art of abyss (*Ab-grund*), do we note its post-ideological 'value'. In turn, a discussion of capital is subtle and provocative, especially when it is not a political category but a dis-position in futures, filming linked to how it is yet-to-be.

 

 

3. Fabienne-Sophie Chauderlot, 'Filming as the Art of Thinking'

 

Fabienne-Sophie Chauderlot captures the singularity of filming as a distinct art of thinking. She reiterates Fichte's claim that it is impossible to reflect without having abstracted: 'What constitutes the singularity of philosophy and determines its power may be conceived through the abstract propositions which it is capable of formulating and ordering.' While I agree with Donougho's statement that the language of _Filming and Judgment_ is at times too Heideggerian and Adornian, it is still necessary to retain the kind of abstraction Chauderlot draws attention to. Readers today have become much more sophisticated and demanding in their deconstruction of the Cartesian heritage. Abstraction is not a disguise for weak argumentation. On the contrary, it is, as Hegel believed, the strength of critical reflection. Chauderlot, who takes my text to be a 'complex thought production', discerns filming as indelibly opening the interval between Heidegger and Adorno. She understands the text as 'a theory of the potentially cinematic dimensions of postmodern philosophy'. She proposes to see but not to read the text 'as *imaging* certain concepts that characterize a Deleuzian approach to film and to theory in general'. This 'part art and part thought' strategy (which incidentally is not as 'postmodern' as she believes) is intriguing and innovative. She writes: 'What matters is how the book *works for you*, namely how it plugs into the disparate elements that traverse your own life.' Here I sense a *parergonal* orientation that appears to be more indicative of Derrida than Deleuze. While I value Deleuze's work on film enormously, my reading of *filming* is much closer to the works of Derrida and Heidegger than to Deleuze. I am sure this is why Chauderlot underscores that she does not intend to read but to see the text from a Deleuzian vantage point. Perhaps she sees more in this text than can be read. This is particularly so when she claims that the issue is not film but filming, 'a concept whose gerund is crucial as it keeps morphing between numerous variants that articulate [a] non-teleological elaboration . . .'. I am very happy that she hit the hammer on the nail without bending or missing it altogether.

 

My text is indeed about filming, and film is merely a 'postmodern' technique that may or may not express thinking-in-filming. Filming makes it possible to attend to something that is 'repressed' by Heidegger and not explicitly articulated by Adorno: what to do with judgment; or. more properly, judging in light of the demise of representation and the problematic nature of subjectivity. Lyotard begins to address this matter in _Just Gaming_. However, he does not view filming from the standpoint of a disruptive opening of judgment. My contribution is rather simple: filming, as a new mode of thought (*Denken*), allows for the possibility of retaining *judgment* beyond its constitutively-epistemic and aesthetically-reflective functions operative in Kant. Rather than withdrawing from judgment, filming draws nearer to *judging* (*Beurteilen*) films and filmmaking without confining itself to cinematography. As Chauderlot writes: 'Filming therefore connects with the making of films' -- insofar as in filming '*Dasein* may be viewed as enabling viewer, director, producer, writer, actor, and critic to see, make, write, and reflect upon a montage of images.' [9] The novel power of judgment lies in playing with a modality of thought inspired by films. It is, in turn, a cinematic attempt to deframe the transcendental-subjective power of metaphysics. Filming begins when judgment in the metaphysical sense ends. It is here viewed as the 'look' of judgment, *der Blick des Urteils* (the *thea* of *aletheia* in *phainesthai*). This cinematic look reveals judgment's fall from metaphysics *and* fundamental ontology (early Heidegger), so that images capture imagination as she comes to end in different beginnings. Thus, we encounter in this falling, as Chauderlot notes, a filming of *futures*, 'what Foucault had called in the mid 1960s, the thought from the outside'. This filmic outside, however, is not the reverse of a dialectical inside. The outside is just *being-in-the-world* including *being-in-the-web*.

 

Films may grant a view of being beyond the viewer's images. This historical viewing regards filmic images without being bound by them. Adorno appeals to historical works of art straying toward an 'appearing that does not exist'. [10] He does not deny the empirical reality of these works and suggests that we ought not to view them as objects but as *Ereignisse* (*events*) of 'second reflection'. The irony of this turn to *Ereignisse* -- Heidegger prefers the singular -- grants filming a new look at the cinematic rhythms of judging. In Werner Herzog's _Kaspar Hauser_ images project a narrative in which viewers begin to wonder how to 'judge' the feeling of being withdrawn from all things. The socio-cultural attempts to educate Kaspar Hauser, whose origins are unknown, and to bring him into the structural domain of civilization, dissolve when faced with Herzog's powerful counter-images (and counter-music) of a 'first nature', a mimetic paradox, a *phainesthai* shining from the historical abyss of cinematic imagination. Herzog invites the viewer to rethink the future, exploring new futures in which to locate thinking in the age of filming. He began to do this early when he studied Heidegger and Husserl at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in the 1960s.

 

Filming may also be regarded as philosophy's expressionist turn, which Heidegger articulates in his esoteric texts of the 30s and 40s. His turn to *Enowning* (*Ereignis*) marks a thinking away from ourselves (a transcendental *Seinsdenken*) to a new consideration of *being-historical*. Filming, however, is more intensely expressionist insofar as it exposes the history of be-ing within a haunting com-posure of capital. An entirely different context suddenly appears on the philosophical stage. A sense of this is illustrated in Anton Kaes's reading of Hans Jurgen Syberberg's _Hitler, a Film from Germany_. [11] This film is an astonishingly 'postmodern staging' of an entire nation's withdrawal from filming, if filming means a necessary *post-histoire* (but not anti-historical) judging. While I do not explore Syberberg's film in _Filming and Judgment_, the discontinuous presentation of his Hitler montage is akin to, what Chauderlot calls, 'a postmodern lexical collage with unexpected depth'. The excitement of exploring the precarious itinerary of Hitler's dream detaches judgment 'from the bonds of dialectics, and wanders nomadically, building a mode of judging, i.e. filming, not fueled by the principles of ground or identity'. Chauderlot suggests that filming brings metaphysics to an end. Yet Syberberg wants to revive the metaphysical fantasy, if only for a few 'historical' moments. His poetic cinematizing of *Germania* announces a 'nonrealistic', 'nonidentical', expressionist theatricality of judging. This subversive presentation of 'what it means to judge', when almost everyone appears to be quite certain how to judge the Hitler phenomenon, is linked to a filmic reconstruction of Hoelderlin's 'new mythology'. The myth in cinema displaces the resounding myth of logocentrism. Syberberg's point is not to embrace the pseudo-philosophy of the Third Reich, nor to espouse disjunctive sets of cultural simulation, but to superimpose -- over the inner landscape of Hitler's dream -- the necessity for an expressive, radically different post-essentialist 'evaluating'. Filming articulates this unforeseeably new site of judgment by pointing at once to the filmic rupture in metaphysics without imposing a metaphysical script. Syberberg does not quite go this far. His film relates to filming but blends into an inseparable unity with a metaphysics of fantasy. In a post-Heideggerian mindfulness (*Besinnung*), filming is not enframed by a politico-social power of fantasy. It provides no place of repose, especially not the kind of mythologizing by Hitler and Goebbels. Filming is disinterested in the Third Reich, or any context that falls within the polarities of ground and surface.

 

Despite what Chauderlot calls 'the constitutive difficulty' of writing filming, it is hoped that a philosophical reading will not only demonstrate the importance of this imaginal terrain in relation to Heidegger's innovative readings of be-ing, but will also reveal films to be instances of philosophical texts worthy of the same consideration we give to philosophers' written texts. Cavell, Deleuze, Rentschler, Rothman, Kaes, and others have clearly demonstrated the importance of the filmic in relation to the reflective. They study films not on the basis of metaphysical discourse but with regard to an appreciative constellation of image, music, and narrative. Nonetheless, we need to penetrate this constellation more rigorously. As Chauderlot points out, 'what is at stake is a theory of filmic thought, an investigation of the possibilities for an art form (cinema) to transform not only its processes but also the very space of thinking'. Filming is invariably open to this time-space in cinematic and narrative forms of judgment's disruptive twists and turns, scrupulously exemplified in Syberberg's _Hitler, a Film from Germany_. He shows how film may become the social antithesis of historical reality and that we live in a country (or time) without judgment. Kaes writes: 'A condition of abeyance is generated that cannot be resolved by the use of reason'. [12] Still, we need to address the matter of historical reality. That we can better address it by fantasy and images does not set us free from judgment. Filming helps us make a judgment not only or primarily by a rhetoric of the visual but also by virtue of a new anticipation of thought. With regard to this, Werner Herzog's films are closer to filming than Syberberg's _Hitler_. An exception might be Syberberg's _Parsifal_, a brilliant paradoxical rewriting of Wagner's last music-drama, where filming reveals metaphysics' final encounter with western mythology.

 

Beyond a theory of filming, Herzog regards film as an imaginal artform that provokes a judging not determined by images. The irony of filming can be said to lie in a disappearance of images so that film music, dialogue, and cinematic techniques exceed the initial viewing impressions. Torn from a vertical structure of reason, filming hovers in instants of cinematic materiality: montage, diverse angle shots, zooming, lighting, and editing. These well-known acts of filmmaking initially 'determine' the process of judging. Indeed, their cinematographic operations disclose a visual breaking out of representation, discerned not only in Herzog but also in Rainer Werner Fassbinder. When Hermann Hermann (in Fassbinder's _Despair_) remarks: 'Filming is about to begin . . . What if it's all a lie? We are making a film here, I am a film actor. I am coming out. Don't look at the camera . . . I am coming out' -- *judging* can be seen to come out of metaphysics into what Rilke and Heidegger regard as *the freely open*. Thus the language of film (and not so much the history of philosophy) makes it possible to point to a desire to exceed 'historical' representation without being ideological. So, with the question of despair, Fassbinder's new history of filming turns into a provocative errant *de-lighting*. Denuding the sovereignty of *mimesis* during, beyond, and after the film, filming unwittingly disrupts the very center of judgment as it used to be practiced. In unleashing a narrative terrain of fantasy, judging forms a shadowing of time, inseparable from a radical displacement of representation. It is this new cinematic sensitivity that connects with filmmaking in order to read and judge how things will be *in futures*. To Chauderlot's question, 'what is philosophy today', the answer is simply -- filming.

 

This subversion of modernity is not a reconstruction of metaphysics nor solely a deconstruction in the 'postmodern' sense. Contrary to Chauderlot's rigorous and highly creative analysis, filming resists the impact of what is modern and postmodern and this is something not sufficiently explored in _Filming and Judgment_. The title of chapter 9, 'Filming -- A Postmodern Mode of Judgment' ought to have 'postmodern' in quotation marks. In the first paragraph of this chapter and in others it is in quotes. The discussions in the text indicate that filming and the 'postmodern' are not collated. Clearly, there are more 'postmodern' than 'modern' traces in filming, but the montage (of judging-filming) exceeds the modern and the postmodern. Therefore, there is no strong Deleuzian extension in filming, despite Chauderlot's detailed and rewarding explication of the text along those lines.

 

Her wish that the text serve more 'actual illustrations' is halted in part by an unusual reading of Foucault's reading of Velazquez's _Las Meninas_. Foucault's 'philosophical laugh' is introduced as 'warped and twisted forms of reflection', [13] operative in presuming to be able to continue the discourse of subjectivity. His genealogical allusion to Velazquez's artwork, and the seventeenth-century artist's own strife with regard to representation, provides an intangible yet inevitable link to filming several hundred years prior to the invention of film. Whether we are talking about painting, photography, or cinema, the *eye* in 'representation' grants an artwork beyond the constraints of a mimetic order. Hence, Velazquez's aesthetic disruption of the power of totality, visualized in the very absence of the royal couple in the painting, opens a post-metaphysical judging, uniquely phenomenological, of how *futures* have not yet been thematized. Velazquez's highly revolutionary genealogy of power, which clearly exceeds 'a nostalgia for an earlier modernist politic' (Szeman) as well as an 'aporetic detour', finally dissolves the seriousness of western sovereignty. Velazquez introduces an alluring, aesthetic interaction between *eye* and *representation* that prepares for judgment's other beginning. In the end, the subject *of* representation becomes a 'subject' *in* judging differently. Foucault does not thematize the open scene of Velazquez's thought. He does not realize that this 'open scene' may dissolve silently into the machine-oriented scenes of Fritz Lang's _Metropolis_. Velazquez's sigetic painting may serve to be transformed into the powerful moving images of a catastrophic *Ge-stell*. There is a leap in judgment from painting to filming *representation (gone) astray*, not knowing where it is going, not caring that it is fading obscenely. Between the painting and the film lies a 'postmodern' beginning of filming. Both Velazquez and Lang lure the viewer into *judging* a work of art ready to become one with the artist, the figures, the scenes, and the imaginal dispersion of logocentrism. Chauderlot insists that the key to _Filming and Judgment_ lies, paradoxically, in the 'cuts and motion, mobile sections, incised movement, emulating the cinematic process and presenting a series of possible snapshots of the images-motion . . . The reader's task -- quite similar to a film editor's -- then becomes to locate these recurring images, collate them, and flip them rapidly enough to set them in motion from which meaning derives.' It is here, somewhere between Heidegger and Adorno, that filming embraces Hitchcock's _Vertigo_, an elegant constellation of cinema and music, fantasy and reality, in which a 'truly, different beginning', another style of thinking, another way of filming is made possible. [13]

 

 

4. Steve Choe, 'The Film Theory to Come'

 

The films I discuss are not, as Steve Choe believes, utilized to illustrate my claims about filming. A post-aesthetic materiality of cinema initiates the process of reading judgment, i.e. filming differently. The analysis of cinematic technique is indeed scarce (as Steve Choe suggests) but sufficient for the purposes of _Filming and Judgment_. The text was never intended to be another filmic analysis but rather, as Choe concedes, 'a text that holds out for the promise of an adequate judgment' about the cinema of the future. Choe is reviewing my _Filmisches Denken_, the German translation of _Filming and Judgment_. This title change and the extensive new introduction by Erik Michael Vogt, including some modifications in the German text, highlight a work that is still in progress and not merely by its author. _Filmisches Denken_ captures the mindfulness of a theme often simply confined to film theory. This text is first and foremost a slightly (according to Choe, a frustratingly) esoteric reading of the philosophical demise of modernity and postmodernism. That it is done from the perspective of film lies in the historical nature of this problem. For it is film that opens our eyes to the limited and limiting modern and postmodern ('aesthetic') projects. Modern operations sublimely dissolve the principle of ground and postmodern strategies cinematically and, now, techno-electronically, celebrate a commodified absence of ground. Neither modern nor postmodern readings of our epoch have focused on a radically different reading of capital, which I have urged in 1990, a year prior to Derrida's inclination to do this in _L'autre cap_ (1991). When Derrida became more explicit about reading capital differently in _Spectres de Marx_ (1993) he did not focus, as I did three years earlier, on *late-capital* and its unlimited economy of filming. Indeed, Derrida never meant filming to be about *capital*. In my text it emerges neither in the metaphysical-Marxian sense nor in a strictly capitalist, 'postmodern' mode.

 

Choe regards this peculiar turn to a *post-aesthetic capital* to be 'one of the more interesting challenges', notably for its alignment with a post-Heideggerian *letting-go* (*Gelassenheit*) imputed to capital 'itself'. Filming turns out to be a *non-ideological* event (*Ereignis*). Beyond Hegel and Marx, it exposes the intimacy of *spirit* (*Geist*) and *letting-go* (*Gelassenheit*). Choe writes: 'Rather than simply opposing capital and art, as many high modernists have been wont to do, it is capital itself that dissolves the binarized verticality of mimesis, and promises the coming of a radically new structure of *imaginal* (re)presentation.' Choe notes very carefully that filming's turn to capital is not to be confused with making a turn to critique. The text embraces neither Heidegger nor Adorno but something in-between: a letting-be of capital, a new temporality (futures) in the free play of being-in-the-web, and as Choe remarks, 'while announcing imagination-in-transit(ion), a thinking disinclined to make univocal judgments'. This is indeed a short section. It deserves a more extensive exploration as Choe suggests. Nonetheless, it captures the mood of filming by showing that, for the first time in another (cinematic) beginning, philosophy is finally communicating widely, effectively, and adequately.

 

Hitchcock's _Vertigo_ in particular and his films (especially the silent ones) are emblematic of the communicability of thinking. Without drifting aimlessly, he is filming a unique affair with time -- a *temporalizing* (Heidegger). He scans the filmic terrain of many philosophical neighborhoods. In his unique directing, editing, and poetic cinematizing, he rethinks time as passion. Suddenly, the complex itinerary of passion is communicated without falling into mere 'representative communication'. It is not just we who are viewing, reading, and thinking images. Images are looking at us -- the filmic eye -- looking (back) at them. The images are no longer enframed by mere social or private content. They take on the 'meaning' of a desire for intimacy with *being-with*. Hitchcock has made Heidegger's *Da-sein* into an *earth-spirit* (*Erdgeist*). He has made Heidegger's *Denken* communicable, marked by a filmic opening not limited to the psychological tensions of an audience. The cinematographic grammar in _Vertigo_ is not merely linear. Nor is it merely the narrative of a detective, or the end of a dialectic journey. What matters in this film is the elegance of precision and intrigue, the dark power of film music, and the twists and turns to an 'existential', cinematic abyss. Beyond the powerful story line, there are 'the pieces of film and the photography and the sound track and all of the technical ingredients that make the audience scream' [15] that point to a configuration of shock, fear, and anxiety.

 

The restored 70mm theatrical reissue of _Vertigo_, with its digitized DTS stereo rendition of Bernard Herrmann's inordinate music, intensifies the cinematic communication of woman, regarded primarily as *the beautiful-in-nature*, an overused word that names indelible futures. At the end, however, the sublime visual presence of nature dissolves into capital, a cinematic shining of natural splendor and simplicity. Scottie may no longer see Madeleine in her *being-t-here*. The abyss of filming dramatizes the former privilege of presence. We are reminded of a conversation Socrates had with Alcibiades: 'Then, the eye, looking at another eye which is most perfect and which is the instrument of vision, will it see itself? But looking at anything else either in man or in the world except at what this resembles, it will not see itself.' [16] For Socrates, the eye that is most powerful is the *logos* -- reason. Yet here lies the origin of Scottie's vertigo and its hidden carnality. Reason in its proprietary essence is insufficient to challenge the disappearance of totality. Filming begins with the powerlessness of reason and the twilight of the commanding eye of the west. Paradoxically, it invites the eye to pause, browse, and plunge toward unseen openings. As filming exposes capital wandering off the dialectic path, we see a judging beyond judgment. Like the classic redwood, capital's splendor shines through ancient, modern, contemporary, and post-contemporary passages. Unlike these trees, capital is rootless, integrating seamlessly with natural and virtual landscapes. Like rugs from Marrakech that beautified Hitchcock's home, capital imprints a standing still of love and self, a touching of feet moving back and forth, yet all the while, simply desirably there, neither *objective* nor *subjective* (neither *vorhanden* nor *zuhanden*). In that regard, capital is the last gesture of the erotic. Beyond subject and object -- notoriously awake in dream, it calls out to be named. Possible names are: *Shadow and Substance*, *Too Late My Love*, *The Mask and the Face*, *The Face Variations*, *The Dark Tower*, *Dream Without Ending*, *Without a Trace*, and, of course, a very Adornian title, *The Apparition*. While Hitchcock preferred and retained the name *Vertigo*, I prefer *capital* -- a constellation for all these names and for naming what really cannot be named but is communicated nonetheless. Hence, we no longer confine filming to ontic or ontological communicability but, by interlacing it with capital, we are opening thought to a montage of be-ing and time.

 

Pedro Almodovar's _Bad Education_ marks a more recent immersion into naming what cannot be named but what can be communicated intensely in cinema. He highlights the darkness of *being-t-here* by challenging the viewer's traditional judgment. Indeed, judgment takes on a vertiginous turn to reckless and 'nihilistic' desires, intensified by Alberto Iglesias's moving flamenco guitar score supplementing the film music of Herrmann. Neither appearance nor essence determine the cinematic demand to judge differently once we see that our epoch has culminated in *bad education*. Visual narratives move through 'bewildering' passages of time without toying with the idea of 'giving up'. Every relation to a being is cinematically questioned without moralizing. Almodovar gives us a glimpse of the leap to *Gelassenheit*. Viewers may not appreciate the ambiguity of the leap. Nonetheless, they are seductively drawn into various visual paths of 'androgynous' filming and judging. As long as the illusion persists that there is only one way ('logocentric') to judge, the tensions, shadows, and longings of *being-t-here* remain horrific. This film opens freely to a montage of *temporalizing*, continually modifying the forms of human presence. Such *temporalizing* announces capital in cinematic forms of futures.

 

We are not assigning capital a place under a concept. Instead, we see ourselves, exposing and exposed to capital, in Kant's words, rethinking 'something we strive to produce in ourselves even if we are not in possession of it'. [17] Capital may here be linked to Nietzsche's 'wild wisdom' and, to some extent, to Merleau-Ponty's 'wild being'. Wild because be-ing is capital rather than a concept, and historical rather than transcendental. As such, it is a meta-textual, post-textual, exceedingly out-of-textual, visible in-visible *relation*. A new *Kunstreligion*, capital is both artistic and 'religious'. A non-objective, non-subjective 'theme' for filming, it is neither foundational nor anti-foundational. Erotically silent, it is exemplary in its desire for new and different futures. Whether we are talking about its ontic appearance, the concrete bank-note as a form of exchange, or its onto-historical extension as a *letting-be-of spirit* (*Geist-Gelassenheit*), capital plays forth anticipations that take precedence over the filmic past and present. In that regard, it is *the new openness* of futures that sway smilingly in their carnal radiance while inviting the filmic eye to let the film begin. This resplendence reveals 'sounds and gods and gardens' [18] providing a 'global', primordial cohesion. Yet, it is not merely an economy of virtual incorporations. A sole emphasis of the virtual is virtually the obverse of the real. Being-in-the-world exceeds being-in-the-web. Filming exposes capital abiding in-between the virtual and the real. Choe suggests that this in-between expresses capital falling from the sovereignty of western consciousness. More acutely, filming marks the transition from metaphysics and Christianity to a mindfulness (*Besinnung*) that freely opens future relations. Contrary to Choe's claim, in this play there is no confusion between filming and the actuality of films themselves. For it is the cinema that is a projecting-open of capital, first in the ontic and then in a more reflective sense. Films are not arbitrary for filming. They determine onscreen and offscreen viewing and judging. Filming occurs during both modalities. The disclosure of onscreen/offscreen collisions marks the *turn* (*Kehre*) to futures. This is not a metaphysical turn but a turn to anticipated sendings from a new historical direction. The reason there is no confusion here is precisely because filming's concretely historical turn moves towards actual films. But it is one thing to focus on the cinematic and another to get bogged down in detailed movie-analysis. Choe concedes that cinema serves as a springboard for filming insofar as it paves the way for a novel mode of *thinking* about images.

 

Filming relates to cinematic images initially but wanders just as freely beyond them. It is neither confined to the imaginal nor to the real. It exceeds the Lacanian mode of thought and is free from the latter's post-Freudian-Hegelian transcription of the subject. Choe recognizes this difference. He also notes that the issues dealt with in the German version of _Filming and Judgment_ 'transcend the binarized positions -- hegemony vs counter-hegemony, reality vs illusion, commerce vs art -- that have previously structured so many theoretical debates within the field'. To be sure, capital is not a name or handy concept from which we can deduce convenient worldviews (*Weltanschauungen*). The new historical *relation* always already exceeds binary dimensions. Straying from political to filmic images, capital is now freed from a commodified metaphysics of technology, yielding a filming of *futures*. Beyond a postmodern image-system, it is always more than a cursory glance at the ecstatic obscenity of capitalism. Disengaged from mirroring a particular cultural text, it sketches time beyond presence *and* simulation in a 'being-historical' constellation of films and filming.

 

Perhaps, for the first time in the history of humankind, *Gelassenheit* is beginning to pervade our 'global consciousness'. This is at least what *filming* shows. No divine right of kings, no sovereignty of ideology or religion, no monolithic mode of thought, just -- technology aligned to capital. A letting-be-of-judging inhabits the era we dwell in. Whether we are at home in this distinctive space we have yet to see. Nonetheless, *judging from com-posure* (*Geist-Gelassenheit*), capital grants a new enthusiasm (*Begeisterung*) of world. But what does *judging from com-posure* mean? The technical naming indicates *filming capital* or *filming (in) futures*. The name *futures* (in the plural) marks the end of a particular metaphysical event in the future. Filming films futures (*events*, *Ereignisse*). With regard to this naming, we take into account *relations of and in futures* about to be 'judged'. Beyond the sovereignty of 'structures', futures mark passages of time filmed according to com-posure. Com-posure is a special form of composition -- a calmness or tranquility yet to be. As com-posure, capital is an ongoing composing or playing forth (*weiter spielen*). _Filming and Judgment_ refers to 'Reason's Radical Com-posure'. Breaking out of metaphysical continuity and postmodern discontinuity, capital sets the stage for an anticipatory movement (one of letting-go) that 'seizes' representation before it imposes a metaphysical or 'physical' (modern/postmodern) script on time. Capital is therefore filmed in futures ever ready to be composed into dispositions of 'becoming'.

 

These beginnings, anticipations, and styles of becoming mark a new, intense, historical yet 'tranquil' *letting-go*. This does not simply mean letting philosophy go. As Choe observes, filming is not a matter of simply overcoming (*Ueberwindung*) philosophy, but of 'coming to terms' with it (*Verwindung*). In short, there will be more not less communication despite Heidegger's advice that *Denken* not be reduced to communication. Yet, communication marks an imparting or sharing of something. This is precisely what Kant has in mind when he talks about 'aesthetic judgment'. Finally, filming communicates *futures*. Prior to this, philosophy had a hard time communicating 'its message'. Of course, 'the message' (even in the Marxian sense) was not *capital*. Indeed, capital and its communicability (filming) had been furthest from philosophy's 'interest'. Now, filming exposes the transition from Christianity to post-capitalism. [19] This does not make capitalism into a cult based upon debt and guilt as Benjamin suggests in his unpublished essay, 'Kapitalismus als Religion'. [20] Nor is post-capitalism the ruin of being or a mental disease (*Geisteskrankheit*). Beyond theology and dogma, post-capitalism signifies a state of composition and expression, perhaps, a new political landscape or, all together, a new 'post-contemporary' *religion*.

 

Filming does not replicate the moorings of tradition. It thinks capital as *first nature*, exceeding appearance and essence, absence and presence, and links capital to the promise of *second reflection*. Posed this way, filming frees 'spirit' from a precarious will to power for the com-posure that capital manifests. This com-posure is not unlike the praxis Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson had in mind when they elaborated a revolutionary understanding of individual freedom. The freedom that capital projects is not to be aligned with a metaphysical notion of subject or object. Always a 'historical' becoming, capital signals the spirit of a time to come. Some readers may indeed find themselves in the dark (as Choe suggests) when they review some of the sections in chapters 7 and 8 where 'the strife of filmic surfaces' -- *surflectants*, that is to say, sur[face] [re]flect[ive] a[ge]nts are introduced. There is little excuse for this abstruse allusion, indicative of an undeserved political emptiness. It is therefore urgent to propose a filmic rewriting of the extraordinary accomplishments of George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, and Thomas Jefferson. No doubt their application of *judging* made the American Revolution possible. Their *Gestalt* of judging makes filming capital fruitful. More extensively, capital, now freed from the power of Rome and Athens, still continually challenged by Washington and Hollywood, 'means' not merely 'inventing a nation' but 'inventing the world anew'. An immense economy of post-aesthetic possibilities (*futures*) -- capital -- opens an unforeseeably new landscape. Power is no longer delegated to a subject per se (take George Washington, for instance) but to a post-metaphysical revolution of *Geist* in *Gelassenheit*. Judging or filming, in turn, 'resists' the 'machinations' of capitalism as it encounters a being-historical playing forth of capital. Contrary to Shaw, capital is not 'the impure, skewed spirit and body of eternal forces' [21] but *the* invention, style, and delivery of possibilities.

 

 

5. Jakob Hesler, 'Filming Without Film'

 

It is clear, but seemingly not to Jakob Hesler, that filming without film is not an option. Filmic thinking relies on films but not on 'empirical filmmaking'. Thus it is, as Hesler underscores, 'freely inspired' by Heidegger even though 'filming's roots are also traced in Kant, Nietzsche, Foucault, and Adorno'. The 'immense undertaking', Hesler describes so rigorously, turns out to be, on his view, 'a virtual history of filming':

 

'because the term 'filming' is obviously not mentioned by [these thinkers], but also because its focus lies in the future: filming is not yet fully accomplished by contemporary thinking. Filming is perhaps best understood to be [a] suggestion for how to overcome [better, perhaps, how to come to terms with] not only metaphysics, but also the postmodernist confusion -- by embracing it and reversing its inherent danger of nihilism into affirmative, optimistic way of thinking.'

 

If filming merely transforms a 'nihilistic' outcome of metaphysics into an optimistic state of reflective affairs then Hesler's claim that the concept of filming remains 'a philosophical lab construction' is accurate. But filming is not a matter of helping philosophy move from nihilism to optimism. As a com-posed exit from philosophy as such, filming is much more radical than the end-of-philosophy discourse by Heidegger.

 

The text Hesler reviews is based upon ten chapters, two of which have been previously published. Alongside readings of films by Herzog, Fassbinder, Riefenstahl, and Hitchcock, readers have sometimes not taken notice of a very special interpretation of Luis Bunuel's film, _That Obscure Object of Desire_: another way of reading capital. Indeed, in chapter 6, 'Transgressing the Kantian Aesthetic', the *eccentric course* of capital is paradoxically prefigured in Kant's third critique and Bunuel's film. Of the five reviewers, I believe only Chauderlot alludes to the unusual account of Bunuel's work. While capital is not mentioned in this chapter, it already haunts the analysis of a filmmaker's *obscure object of desire*. Indeed, capital is here regarded as invention of an obscure desire. Since the resources of Kant's third critique are immense, not to mention Baudelaire's _Fleur du Mal_ and Hoelderlin's late poetry, there is no need to attend to Freud or Lacan with regard to the theme of filming capital. The enticing appearance of Conchita (in Bunuel's film), has been equaled more recently by the cinematic *glissement* of Monica Bellucci in the Wachowski brothers' _The Matrix Reloaded_. Both of these 'surflectants' displace themselves as 'subject-objects' into a new mode of judging. In Bunuel's film, capital is dis-played by a woman (Conchita), played by two different actresses (Carole Bouquet and Angela Molina), who set the mood for the world of Mathieu Fabert (Fernando Rey).

 

Without attending to the cinematic texture and coloration of Bunuel's work, _Filmisches Denken_ is somewhat indifferent to the technical configuration of the film. What is of concern is capital's personification-presentation by Conchita. A *Doppelganger* theme sets in and it is no other than capital. While the text does not explicitly illustrate this, chapter 6 indicates that Conchita has two sides to her being: one that draws near (and embraces) Mathieu, and the other that draws away from him, tantalizing him endlessly. In short, capital, presented as a sublime synecdoche of two different actresses (although both are thought to be (the one) Conchita by Mathieu), marks the filmic contours of desire in her simultaneous being-near and being-away. That this also suggests the inscription of a 'sensuous com-posure' adds to the intensity and intimacy of a new history of be-ing. What is at issue, then, is the double cinematic play of presence and absence. The viewer encounters the presence of lust, love, obsession, and trust (in sum, friendship) with regard to a 'being-historical' overflow of capital and the absence of the same in elusive passages of time. Capital abides in a succession of presentations by means of which Mathieu's reason is continually obscured. A transposition occurs in the eclectic presentations of filming possible futures. Merely looking at Bunuel's film does not require that everyone consider Conchita to be the cinematic synecdoche for capital. Here we have a desirable *schema* illustrating a general idea. Indeed like Conchita, capital is sublimely beautiful in a persistent desire to film beyond representation. While there is representation (and the subject) in capital, there is, more importantly, a presentation (of Conchita) beyond representation. Capital overcomes the ontological distress which drives men toward beings. The collision of Carole and Angela in the surprising event of Conchita prepares the viewpoints of capital as be-ing, if by be-ing we are not solely enowned to Heidegger's project. Capital, in turn, brings into play the genuine power of thinking. This power, however, is not freed from the 'essential' obscurity of a 'composed' (i.e. *being-historical*) desire for time.

 

What precisely do we mean by *being-historical*? In particular, we mean Heidegger's emphasis on a new history of be-ing rather than beings. How we relate to be-ing (*Seyn*) is where we differ from Heidegger. He does not pursue the question of filming. While films are about beings, filming is about be-ing. And be-ing in its filmic exposure is capital. The first and last question of philosophy may indeed be be-ing. The task of thinking at the end of philosophy is capital. Here Bunuel's film, notably Conchita's form, becomes relevant. An unforeseeably new alliance of aesthetic presentations envelops a space of dispersion. Conchita's diverse itinerary exhibits countless presentational possibilities. Bunuel's film elides the subject, letting Conchita bloom cinematically in opulence, hubris, and silent purposiveness. She and her lover disappear from the scene of desire. Stepping out into the open, the film freely forgets the house philosophy dwelled in Athens, and moving closer to Paris, the film illuminates a figurability, metonymically capital, nearer to the flowers of evil of which Baudelaire says: 'I come and go -- the Demon tags along, hanging around me like the air I breathe'. [22]

 

In his fine review, Hesler surmises that the principle of ground operative in the history of philosophy is displaced, transformed, and reinscribed into the rhetorical naming of *filming capital*. This happens beyond the seminal events of texts by Nietzsche, Kant, Foucault, Adorno, and Heidegger. From Nietzsche's new economy of presence to Heidegger's be-ing-historical *Ereignis*, philosophy has made an implicit shift to *filming*. As Hesler remarks, this *Kehre* already becomes epistemically-aesthetically clear in Kant's _Critique of Judgment_. It is in this revolutionary text that Kant frees aesthetics from its ethical sovereignty, thereby radically transforming his transcendental system. Hesler points out that Kant begins to disrupt the transcendental notion of judgment (*Urteil*), opting for a 'pre-filmic' *judging* (*Beurteilen*). He adequately discerns the methodological origin of filming in *judging* when he writes that _Filmisches Denken_ 'sees in the third Critique an epistemic leap from the transcendental method of distinction of ground to an aesthetic manner of seeing, which dissolves this distinction in free play'. Suddenly, beyond phenomenon and noumenon, *a beautiful thing* radiates -- capital-to-be-filmed. Cinematically exposed, this 'artwork' serves as the *abyss* of judging. Hesler notes that once we read judging as filming capital, 'Kant's aesthetics can no longer be (mis)construed as subjectivist'. Indeed, that *obscure, disinterested, com-posed 'object' of desire also named *capital* turns into a sublime constellation of relations. This letting be of *futures* marks a decisive turn from philosophy to cinematic judging. Hesler explains: 'Phainesthai is now to be understood as *free play* of shining without shining *for* someone or *at* something, i.e. an imaginal relation beyond representational thinking.'

 

Thus neither alienation nor reification determines this 'post-metaphysical' showing of capital. Entirely freed from ideological and psychological inventions, only a filming beyond metaphysical judgment can fade from the 'showing' of presence without fading from the 'showing'. It would be absurd to insist that alienation and reification suddenly disappear from world view. Yet it is not absurd to say that capital involves a serenely sensuous imaging (and non-imaging) that no longer captures a particular self, person, or face. Instead, we encounter a bodily com-posure that diminishes the 'spiritual' distress of a former epoch. There is a showing of something super-sensuous-supersensible. It is not something we are merely looking at. Capital is strikingly drawing near *being-t-here* while it draws *being-t-here* into its showing. Presence fades into the pleasure of showing. Nothing in particular is shown except for the playing forth of *Gelassenheit* (*com-posure*). Be-ing, therefore, becomes historically, minimally, cinematically fluid. With regard to capital, it becomes a montage of anonymous images, relations, and different beginnings. Still, there is 'filming' and *filming*. And capital can be drawn into either depending upon how we 'judge'. Hesler explains: 'Filming (as coating) means the instrumental, technical use of imagination under the rule of (pleasure). Filming (proper) is a judgment free from teleology, judging in the mode of capital (*Gelassenheit*).' Filming, therefore, still adheres to a sigetic conjoining. This is not another metaphysical totality but a *playing-together* related to 'pleasure', rather than a definite concept. Hence it always involves a simultaneous *doing* and *thinking* directed toward freely open futures.

 

Hesler's rigorous and rich reading of _Filmisches Denken_ addresses each of the chapters very carefully and critically. This is especially the case with regard to chapters 4 and 5 on Adorno's contributions. He highlights two important 'positive' notions in Adorno's aesthetic that make filming in transgressing metaphysics possible: *das Naturschoene* and *apparition*. Both may be compared to Heidegger's powerful notion of com-posure. Without these filmic tropes the turn to another way of reading capital would be problematic. Nonetheless, Hesler does not see the connection between Heidegger's 'eschatology of being' and Adorno's 'utopianism', a relation that illuminates the relation of relations, namely, capital as capital. _Filmisches Denken_ does not dismiss Adorno's Marxism, as Hesler claims. There is very little Marxism left in Adorno's thought. His aesthetic *events* (*Ereignisse*), including 'the glaring ray of fascination' in artworks, eviscerate the traditional power of mimesis. History emerges anew not as biography with regard to the 'history' of individual men, but as 'a playing forth' while filming capital as capital. There appears a turn in and away from philosophy that does not keep us locked in limited and limiting reflections.

 

Hesler concedes that the idea of filming is exciting and that it is important to attempt to think filming beyond images. He is correct in asserting that I have not filmed enough films. For that matter I have not filmed any films. But what he really means is that (my) filming hovers above the filmic so remotely that one wonders why it is called filming in the first place. In more recent articles on films by Hitchcock and Mel Gibson I have been more specific regarding the 'filmic content' in filming. However, filming is not the same as the filmic. Hesler also concedes this point: 'Filming is more radical than Heidegger's 'Eraeugnis' because it goes beyond images as such: it is an 'imaginal de-sighting of being', an 'imaging-off images'. [23] A disruption of *imago-centrism* belongs to the very itinerary of capital, that precarious yet infinitely 'erotic glance of glances'. Hesler quotes passage from _Filming and Judgment_: 'We are granted a reflective com-posure of images, not proto-images of metaphysical anticipation, but images turning themselves, against themselves, withdrawing from representation, drawn into an aesthetic explosion of appearances, what Adorno calls 'apparition'.' [24] The films I have chosen are, perhaps, more intimately 'reflective' than the many I have not brought into play. Heidegger's newly published 'esoteric' texts (mostly available only in German at this time) will shed more light on this kind of *film theory*.

 

Hesler's remark that capital, 'detached from (its) material ground' and its socio-political practice as *letting be*, happens to be a 'theoretical mimesis of the signature of late capitalism' disregards entirely the absence of *telos* in filming. Filming takes precisely the metaphysical (i.e. the socio-political) anticipation out of thinking in anticipation of thinking's ability to film in a radically different space. Capital, therefore, is something yet to be seen. It is indeed the film in filming that has not yet been shown. Nonetheless, it is t-here. There is a difference (here) between cinematic expression and 'reflective' presence. In its non-mimetic play of free relations, capital is yet to be exposed adequately in films and film music. This does not mean that it is not 'present' in its abiding *playing forth* discerned in thinking-judging-filming. The text continues to name capital by its name expressly for breaking the mirror of mimesis. Capital has nothing left to imitate. It is 'un-conditional' in its conditional relations and futural in its filming. This is what metaphysics (and most, if not all of cultural theory) has left unthought -- a composed rather than a received notion of capital. Consequently, capital is not channeled into a 'positive' or 'negative' reading of world. While allusions to 'discourse' ('running about') and 'surflectants' may need to be displaced, replaced, or better illustrated in order not to be regarded as neologisms that lead readers astray, capital is clearly articulated as non-imaginal scene of futures linked to the subversive, filmic explosion of rationality. [25]

 

Duquesne University

Pittsburgh, USA

 

 

Notes

 

1. Friedrich Nietzsche, _The Portable Nietzsche_, trans. Walter Kaufmann (New York: Penguin Books, 1982), p. 633.

 

2. Wilhelm S. Wurzer, _Filming and Judgment: Between Heidegger and Adorno_ (Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey: Humanities Press International, 1990); and _Filmisches Denken: Zwischen Heidegger und Adorno_ (Wien: Turia and Kant, 2000).

 

3. Wurzer, _Filming and Judgment_, p. 32.

 

4. See my 'Beyond an Aesthetics of the West: Hitchcock's _Vertigo_', in L. Nagl, ed.,  _Filmaesthetik_ (Oldenbourg, Germany: Akademie Verlag 1999). Here I focus in much greater detail on the cinematic structure of filming.

 

5. *Sigetic*, derived from the Greek 'sigan', means 'to be silent'. For Heidegger, sigetics is the pre- and post-aesthetic beginning of thinking. It refers to *originary* thinking, philosophy's *other beginning* -- as articulated in his seminal text, _Contributions to Philosophy: From Enowning_, trans. P. Emad and K. Maly (Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press, 1999). A similar naming for Adorno would be *apparition*, to highlight the very events (*Ereignisse*) of a radical opening in judgment. It conveys an 'aesthetic' rupture by showing what cannot be seen.

 

6. Heidegger, _Being and Time_, trans. John Macquarrie and Edward Robinson (New York: Harper and Row, 1962), p. 62.

 

7. 'Everything that is, is in God, and nothing can be or be conceived without God.' _Opera Quotquot Reperta Sunt_, eds J. Van Vloten and J. P. N. Land (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1914), p. 47.

 

8. See Heidegger's 'argument' against methods of argument in _Contributions to Philosophy_. Texts from the years 1938-1944 associated with _Contributions to Philosophy_ that have yet to be published by Vittorio Klostermann (Frankfurt am Main) are: _Besinnung_ (_Mindfulness_); _Die Geschichte des Seyns_ (The History of Be-ing_); _Die Ueberwindung der Metaphysik_ (_Overcoming Metaphysics_); _Ueber den Anfang_ (_Of the Beginning_); _Das Ereignis_ (_Enowning_); and _Die Stege des Anfangs_ (_The Paths of Beginning_).

 

9. _Filming and Judgment_, p. 26.

 

10. Adorno, _Aesthetic Theory_, trans. C. Lenhardt (London and New York: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1984), p. 121.

 

11. Kaes, _From Hitler to Heimat -- The Return of History as Film_ (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1989), pp. 39-72.

 

12. Ibid., p. 70.

 

13. Michel Foucault, _The Order of Things_, trans. A. Sheridam-Smith (New York: Random House, 1970), pp. 342-43.

 

14. I discuss this in great detail in 'Beyond an Aesthetics of the West', pp. 210-228.

 

15. 'Beyond an Aesthetics of the West', p. 216.

 

16. See Luce Irigaray's reference to Plato in _Speculum of the Other Woman_, tr. Gillian C. Gill (Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press, 1985), p. 327.

 

17. Kant, _Critique of Judgment_, trans. W. S. Pluhar (Indianapolis: Hackett, 1987), p. 117.

 

18. From Rilke's poem 'The Dolphins', in _The Rose Window_, selected by Ferris Cook, (Boston: Liitle, Brown, 1997), p. 91.

 

19. Post-capitalism might also be regarded as 'a new carnality'.

 

20. In an intriguing, unpublished essay, 'Kapitalismus als Religion' (from 1921), Walter Benjamin corrects Max Weber's thesis that Christianity promoted capitalism. Benjamin claims Christianity has turned into capitalism. See _Kapitalismus als Religion_, ed. Dirk Baecker (Berlin: Kulturverlag Kadmos, 2003), pp. 15-18.

 

21. See Walter Benjamin, _Shaw: Frau Warrens Gewerbe_, a.a.O., Bd. II, pp. 613-615.

 

22. Charles Baudelaire, _Les Fleurs du Mal_, tr. Richard Howard (Boston: David R. Godine, 1983).

 

23. See _Filming and Judgment_, pp. 4 and xiv.

 

24. Ibid., p. 54

 

25. Descriptions of such a non-imaginal scene can also be found in the general introduction and epilogue of my _Panorama: Philosophies of the Visible_ (New York and London: Continuum, 2002).

 

 

Copyright Film-Philosophy 2005

 

 

Wilhelm S. Wurzer, 'Filming (In) Futures: A Response to the _Film-Philosophy_ Special Issue', _Film-Philosophy_, vol. 9 no. 11, February 2005 <http://www.film-philosophy.com/vol9-2005/n11wurzer>.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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