De battre mon coeur s’est arrêté, Sur mes lèvres and De rouille et d’os
The body, and the boundaries that can be transgressed by and within it, are essential to the cinema of Jacques Audiard. His cinematographic focus on bodies is inherently connected with the experience of sensation, the expression of sexuality, the articulation of gender and the negotiation of disability. This chapter analyses the films De battre mon cœur s’est arrêté (2005), Sur mes lèvres (2001) and De rouille et d’os (2012). In each of these case studies, the primacy of the body extends from the cinematography to the narrative, with storylines centred on disability, creation, violence and sensation that place the physical body at the forefront of plot and aesthetics. The chapter begins with De battre, reading its masculinist portrayal of the body through the motif of the hands. It then analyses Sur mes lèvres, in which the protagonist’s deafness and lip-reading skills radically foreground her desiring gaze and reorient our own sensory perceptions. It concludes with De rouille et d’os, Audiard’s second film to feature a physically disabled female protagonist, in which double amputation becomes the unexpected site of sexual agency and transformation.
In this interview, Rasmus Degnbol describes his experience of documenting the migrant’s trail through Europe’s new borders from above. The interviewer, Andreas Immanuel Graae, inquires what kind of emotional distance as well as visual proximity the bird’s eye views of the drone creates between the photographer and the migrants. And he asks which practical and social challenges this vertical perspective implies – and how, according to Degnbol, it might help the viewer grasp the massive scale of the humanitarian crisis as well as the radical transformation of territories and communities in the age of drones and mass migration.
Stemming from a year-long research initiative that has compiled a comprehensive portfolio of works encompassing the drone art movement, this chapter explores the features and functions of the many artistic interventions that have sought to address, interrogate, and often protest the advent of unmanned vehicles and their growing use in both peacetime and wartime skies. Focusing on the genre’s most active years, particularly in the period from 2010 to 2016, the chapter discusses the common assumptions, contradictions, and motivations behind these works, and describes their role in providing an arena and vocabulary for an effective and wide-ranging community and political discourse around drones and the attendant issues of transparency, human rights, privacy, and automation. Looking to the future of the movement, the author will theorise as to how the genre’s forms, functions, and communities will evolve in light of ongoing shifts in both prevailing public attitudes toward drones and the evolution of the technology itself, and ultimately ask whether ‘drone art’ as it has been understood and defined heretofore can remain a viable and influential proposition given the increasingly familiar, though no less resolved, technological realities and tensions of our drone-filled world.
At its heart, Audiard’s cinema is defined by border-crossing in myriad forms: by the building of physical and symbolic walls, and the process of climbing – or dismantling – them. Audiard’s protagonists transgress geographic borders, physical limitations, social norms and class lines. Simultaneously violent yet intimate, dark yet hopeful, French yet ‘foreign’, grounded in an established film tradition and continually shrugging it off, these films are both informed by the heritage of French national cinemas and transcendent of it. This brief conclusion homes in on a key passage from Les Frères Sisters to reveal how Audiard and his films both occupy the metropolitan French cinematic space, and stretch far beyond it.
The Conclusion reflects on the book as a whole and considers how major changes to the London diasporic space, instigated by the post-2016 political landscape, renders it a work of contemporary history as much as ethnography. It underscores the distinctiveness of the migrant group examined and the book’s theoretical contribution to the field of migration studies. The Conclusion reminds readers how participants’ narratives exposed powerful, if latent, ideological and affective forces, and how their aspirations were projected onto the diasporic space so that the homeland, particularly Paris, emerged as comparatively hostile, unsafe, judgemental and segregated, whereas London was apprehended as open, secure, liberated and (super)diverse. This normative evaluation process, it contends, produced a sense of embeddedness and diasporic belonging in pre-EU-referendum London. The chapter also discusses the meanings garnered from the book’s blended ethnographic methodology arguing that online diasporic spaces function as microcosms for the wider London-French experience and that cultural and linguistic situatedness ultimately constrains hybridisation. It recommends several future areas of enquiry, including those related to Brexit, to London-French sub-communities and/or to new digital methodologies, again drawing on archived web material. To finish, it returns to the words of the migrants’ themselves and provides a range of responses to the ‘London-in-a-nutshell’ interview question, which sums up the overall appeal of London as a migratory destination at the dawn of the twenty-first century.
To understand how subjects are constructed socially and historically in terms of power, and how they act through power on others and on themselves, but not to see this as a purely random process or activity where ‘anything goes’, or conversely, portray ethical actions in terms of fixed universal rules or specified teleological ends, constitutes the objective of this book. What a normative Foucault can offer us, I claim, is a critical ethics of the present that is well and truly beyond Kant, Hegel. and Marx, and which can guide action and conduct for the twenty-first century.
Chapter 4 examines the senses in which continuance ethics derived from Foucault, Canguilhem, and Nietzsche can claim objectivity by comparing the sense of objectivity claimed to the metaphysical sense of objectivity argued for by Derek Parfit. While it is claimed that the objectivity established is certainly different to traditional metaphysical conceptions, it still warrants being labelled as objective, and is clearly not a species of subjectivism, the dominant approach in moral philosophy for most of the twentieth century. It is objective also in that it avoids any possibility of being classified as relativistic. After this cartography of the concept, Kantian ethics is considered and rejected. Life continuance is then restated as embodying a new reconciliation of the right with the good, as well as going beyond universalism to consider contingency and cultural difference as important contextual considerations.
In 1183 Ibn Jubayr, a Muslim bureaucrat from Granada, undertook a two-year pilgrimage to Mecca, a journey he subsequently recounted in a text known as the ‘Travels’ (or Riḥla). The Rihla describes a chaotic, fractured political world in which devout Muslims frequently suffer abuse. Throughout, Ibn Jubayr communicates this disorder by using the word fitna. Commonly translated as ‘temptation’, ‘discord’ or ‘civil strife’, fitna has a wide range of connotations. This chapter traces how its meaning shifts over the course of the Riḥla, identifying three distinct phases as Ibn Jubayr travels first through polities governed by Muslims, then through the kingdom of Jerusalem, before finally arriving in the Sicily of William II. The initial, wholly negative connotation of the word eventually gives way to one that stresses the idea of fitna as a test of faith. This idea of divine testing becomes more prevalent in Ibn Jubayr’s account of Sicily, where a Christian ruler and populace coopted elements of Islamic culture and exhibited a surface-level generosity towards Muslims. Ibn Jubayr uses this final instance of fitna to praise the devotion and piety of Sicilian Muslims, even those who had publicly renounced their faith.
Chapter 8 continues the theme of ethical engagement and the senses in which Foucault’s work can be said to support a democratic ethic. It starts by examining the critical commentary of Foucault by the American political theorist Ella Myers, in order to position Foucault in relation to her conception of democratic politics. The second part of the chapter turns its attention to a current of political philosophy in North America, notably Stephen K. White’s ‘weak ontology’ thesis, and the ethic of ‘presumptive generosity’ that White, as well as influential philosophers such as William Connolly and Charles Taylor, have supported. After doing this, Foucault’s relevance for education is explored, and the chapter concludes by seeking to relate continuance ethics to virtue ethics and asking what a Foucauldian ethic for a global world might look like.
Bridget Jones’s journey from the ‘edge of reason’ to marriage and motherhood
Chapter 3 focuses on Bridget Jones’s ongoing search for ‘Mr Right’ as examined in three films released between 2001 and 2016: Bridget Jones’s Diary, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason and Bridget Jones’s Baby. This series of romantic comedies reveal how Bridget tries to find a sense of direction and meaning in her romantic/sexual life and careers in publishing and television. Bridget has uneasy relationships with serious (but trustworthy) Mark Darcy, charming (but unreliable) Daniel Cleaver and sincere (but slightly underwhelming) Jack Quant. The films therefore explore from a woman’s point of view how complicated and sometimes farcical a woman’s search for a suitable and satisfying partner might turn out to be. The movies engage with important issues around selfhood, dating conventions and achieving sexual fulfilment and job satisfaction in the modern age. The varied narrative strategies deployed in the films also find ways of alluding to dictatorships, creativity and criticism in British culture, same sex relationships and international diplomacy from comic perspectives. The impressive international success of the trilogy demonstrates that British singleton Bridget’s (mis)adventures (as enacted, somewhat ironically, by American star Renée Zellweger) have made an emotional connection with audiences around the world, making them fascinating and worthy subjects for sustained critical analysis and exploration.