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Joshua Foa Dienstag in dialogue
Series: Critical Powers

This book engages in a critical encounter with the work of Stanley Cavell on cinema, focusing skeptical attention on the claims made for the contribution of cinema to the ethical character of democratic life. In much of Cavell's writing on film he seeks to show us that the protagonists of the films he terms "remarriage comedies" live a form of perfectionism that he upholds as desirable for contemporary democratic society: moral perfectionism. Films are often viewed on television, and television shows can have "filmlike" qualities. The book addresses the nature of viewing cinematic film as a mode of experience, arguing against Cavell that it is akin to dreaming rather than lived consciousness and, crucially, cannot be shared. It mirrors the celebrated dialogue between Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Jean D'Alembert on theatre. The book articulates the implications of philosophical pessimism for addressing contemporary culture in its relationship to political life. It clarifies how The Americans resembles the remarriage films and can illuminate the issues they raise. The tragedy of remarriage, would be a better instructor of a democratic community, if such a community were prepared to listen. The book suggests that dreaming, both with and without films, is not merely a pleasurable distraction but a valuable pastime for democratic citizens. Finally, it concludes with a robust response from Dienstag to his critics.

Visual Advocacy in the Early Decades of Humanitarian Cinema
Valérie Gorin

pictures to produce an immersive spectacle, relying on the cinematic realism of non-fiction movies to increase the ‘perceptual experience’ and the ‘aesthetics of astonishment’ of the viewers ( Crawford-Holland, 2018 ). Back in the 1920s, ‘cinema … “virtually” extended human perceptions to events and locations beyond their physical and temporal bounds’ ( Uricchio, 1997 : 119). Humanitarian cinema thus participated in transnational campaigns aiming to mobilize and sensitize national audiences. More specifically, these movies also advocated on behalf of distant

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Open Access (free)
Valérie Gorin and Sönke Kunkel

’s reportage of the visually displaced in Europe between June 1918 and April 1919, published in the mass-circulated and popular Red Cross Magazine of the American Red Cross. Valérie Gorin’s analysis dives into the early use of humanitarian cinema in the 1920s, during the pivotal period of 1919–23 and the first international humanitarian response in Europe, to show how cinema participated as a set of communication practices convergent with transnational activism and advocacy. Sönke Kunkel

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Open Access (free)
Jeffrey Flynn

humanitarianism as influenced by different cultures is crucial. Reeves also hits on a common theme raised in other essays: the ways that public portrayals of humanitarian organisations are often wrapped up with specific national projects. This is as true of the Red Cross in China as it was of the Red Cross in Switzerland in the wake of WWI, as Francesca Piana shows in her essay, ‘Photography, Cinema, and the Quest for Influence’. Piana highlights the extent to which the

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
The Visual Politics and Narratives of Red Cross Museums in Europe and the United States, 1920s to 2010s
Sönke Kunkel

action at a patient’s bed. Others included poster collections or TV screens that showed documentary film footage. In Geislingen, the exhibit also featured computers and a cinema tent, but that was an exception. Given the low budget of most German Red Cross museums, presentations were usually organized around historical objects, not by way of immersive multimedia environments. The visual politics of German Red Cross museums open an important window on a third variant of

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Valérie Gorin

Introduction Humanitarian films in the 1920s served to blame or impel audiences, without naming or shaming perpetrators most of the time. Instead of being proper political advocacy, early humanitarian cinema displayed more educational advocacy, which aims to impose a transformative agenda based on solidarity. Advocacy developed more systematically as a form of humanitarian communication in the 1970s and 1980s. It was influenced by the French and British schools of humanitarianism ( Dolan, 1992 ; Edwards, 1993 ; Gorin, 2018 ). While British NGOs such as

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Lost futures and new horizons in the ‘long peace’

The Good Friday Agreement is widely celebrated as a political success story, one that has brought peace to a region previously synonymous across the globe with political violence. The truth, as ever, is rather more complicated than that. In many respects, the era of the peace process has seen Northern Irish society change almost beyond recognition. Those incidents of politically motivated violence that were once commonplace have become thankfully rare, and a new generation has emerged whose identities and interests are rather more fluid and cosmopolitan than those of their parents. In many other regards, however, Northern Ireland continues to operate in the long shadow of its own turbulent recent past. Those who were victims of violence, as well as those who were its agents, have often been consigned to the margins of a society clearly still struggling to cope with the traumas of the Troubles. Furthermore, the transition to ‘peace’ has revealed the existence of new, and not so new, forms of violence in Northern Irish society, not least those directed towards women, ethnic minorities and the poor. In Northern Ireland a generation after Good Friday, we set out to capture the complex, and often contradictory, realities that have emerged more than two decades on from the region’s vaunted peace deal. Across nine original essays, the book provides a critical and comprehensive reading of a society that often appears to have left its violent past behind but at the same time remains subject to its gravitational pull.

Auteurship and exploitation in the history of punk cinema
Bill Osgerby

11 Silver screen sedition: auteurship and exploitation in the history of punk cinema Bill Osgerby ‘Will your school be next?’: mischief and mayhem at Vince Lombardi High Teen rebellion is a force to be reckoned with at Vince Lombardi High School. The setting for the punk-musical-comedy Rock ’n’ Roll High School (1979), Lombardi High has seen a succession of principals driven to despair by the recalcitrant students. Led by Riff Randell (P. J. Soles) – a nonstop party girl and fervid fan of punk stalwarts, the Ramones – the school kids are a font of adolescent

in Fight back
Celtic Tiger cinema
Ruth Barton

15 Between modernity and marginality: Celtic Tiger cinema Ruth Barton By the late 1990s, it was obvious that Irish film production had changed sufficiently for the phrase ‘Celtic Tiger cinema’ to signal something new. Although the term is used consensually, its exact definition is elusive. In keeping with the debate around what we knew and what we said during the boom, I will be considering later in this chapter the various political and social interpretations the films offer. In particular, I will be discussing how themes of social and geographical marginality

in From prosperity to austerity
Letter to M. Cavell about cinema (a remake)
Joshua Foa Dienstag

shadow; for, as for me, I am less, and more, but not equal to the task. I How many questions I find to discuss in what you appear to have unsettled! Whether the cinema, or even just the genre you specify, is good or bad in itself? What it is that attracts us to it? What sort of experience the cinema is? What the time of cinema signifies or whether it

in Cinema, democracy and perfectionism