Since the films’ uses of history were a prominent feature
of their representational strategies, my object in this chapter is to
examine how cinema appropriates the past so as to recognise ‘the power
it holds from its shameful kinship with the makers of history and the
tellers of stories’, in JacquesRancière’s words. 12 Therefore in
the films that I have chosen to discuss I probe their kinship
perfect example of what French philosopher
JacquesRancière, one of several intellectual inspirations of the thinking behind the
present study, terms mésentente, or dissensus. He introduces the term to describe a
peculiar form of misunderstanding, which is
Directing scenes and senses
not the conflict between one who says white and another who says black. It is the conflict
between one who says white and another who also says white but does not understand
the same thing by it or does not understand that the other is saying the same thing in the
name of whiteness
This positioning of the theatre as a crucial space in the public sphere
is a concrete move away from the one-way relationship between theatre,
audiences and critics, which renders the former as a passive object to be
interpreted by the latter. As Paweł Mościcki has argued, political theatre
today is not, contrary to a widespread opinion, an empty word. ‘You just
need to fill it with new content, discarding old habits and unnecessary
nostalgia. Activating new interactive forms of engagement’ (2008: 9).
JacquesRancière claimed that ‘politics is, above all, an
, does not.
As JacquesRancière notes, the Aristotelian
distinction between human and animal can only be the result of a
rather unlikely forgetting of Plato. In particular, it involves
suppressing the passages in the Republic that are all too
clear on the animalistic nature of crowds who, at the instigation of
an orator, will express pleasure and displeasure. 11 Rancière argues
’s report for Les Inrockuptibles, 27 January 2009.
Fabienne Pascaud, Télérama n° 3079.
Bernard Stiegler, De la Misère symbolique, La catastrophe du sensible (Paris: Galilée,
2005), pp. 281–2.
Fabienne Pascaud, Télérama.
H. Barker, Ces tristes lieux, pourquoi faut-il que tu y entres?, Actes Sud, 2009, p. 18.
JacquesRancière, Le Spectateur émancipé (Paris: La Fabrique éditions, 2008), p. 20.
My translation of « […] les processus de production aussi bien que de consommation […] qui vise à capter et à canaliser la libido des individus, et à réduire toutes
that argument was Maurice Blanchot in his 1959 Le Livre à venir .
8. JacquesRancière makes a powerful argument affirming and defining Mallarmé’s engagement with the world in La Politique de la sirène (1996), which builds on Marchal’s research in La Religion de Mallarmé , as does Anna Sigrídur Arnar, from a different angle, in The Book as Instrument (2011). Arnar also gives a useful overview situating many works of Mallarmé criticism over several decades with respect to this question.
9. All of these texts can be found with extensive critical apparatus
Giraud, Le murmure des plantes, web, https://fr.ulule.
com/murmure/ (created December 2012, last accessed November 2017).
9 The nature of that participation varies from one practice to the next, and
the politics of participation are (of course) contested. See Bishop, Artificial
Hells; Claire Bishop, ed., Participation (London: Whitechapel Gallery,
2006); Grant Kester, The One and the Many: Contemporary Collaborative
Art in a Global Context (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2011);
JacquesRancière, The Emancipated Spectator (London: Verso, 2011); and
passive and voyeuristic, and the latter an uncomfortable thought of the
ways in which spectatorial appetites –especially those that spectators
are unwilling to admit –may be catered for by people who produce
spectacles. I consider this latter worry in Chapter 1, in a discussion of
the IS murder videos produced for western spectators.
In terms of the debates around spectatorial ‘passivity’, JacquesRancière’s The Emancipated Spectator is still one of the most valuable
contributions of recent years. Rancière dismisses the ‘passive’ argument,
Aesthetico-political misprision in Derricke’s A Discoverie of
polyscenic frames, which, as in the present instance,
invite viewers to assume or imagine both continuous connections and discontinuous collisions
between juxtaposed actions or events. In so doing, I plan to apply to these scenes an
understanding of the ‘aesthetico-political’ – a term JacquesRancière and others employ to identify aesthetic transactions that cross and
complicate established orders of reason and channels of perception – that mainly
signifies a politically motivated and ideologically informed aesthetic choice
JacquesRancière, The Emancipated
Spectator , trans. Gregory Elliott (London: Verso, 2009), pp
122–3; Judith Halberstam, The Queer Art of Failure
(Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2011), pp. 60, 80 et
Hugh Grady, Shakespeare and Impure