Demystifying Deleuze: French philosophy meets contemporary US cinema

Martin-Jones, D. (2009) Demystifying Deleuze: French philosophy meets contemporary US cinema. In: Buckland, W. (ed.) Film Theory and Contemporary Hollywood Movies. Series: AFI film readers. Routledge: New York, NY, USA, pp. 214-233. ISBN 9780415962629

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During the 1980s, French philosopher Gilles Deleuze wrote two books on cinema, Cinema 1: The Movement-Image (1983), and Cinema 2: The Time-Image(1985). For some scholars working in Anglo-American film studies, Deleuze’s works appear to be throwbacks to the “bad old days” of the 1970s and early 1980s, when high theory dominated the fi eld. Deleuze’s at time dense and complicated texts are often criticized for being impenetrable, too focused on auteur cinema, and only applicable to European art films. By contrast, this chapter unpacks Deleuze’s film philosophy to demonstrate its usefulness for analyzing contemporary US cinema, both in its mainstream and alternative, independent forms. Firstly, the Hollywood rom-com Fifty First Dates (2004) is examined, to provide an understanding of the route into mainstream films offered by Deleuze’s philosophy. Fifty First Dates falls somewhere in between Deleuze’s categories of the movement-image and the time-image. When analysed in relation to these categories it provides valuable insights into both the development of the incredibly popular genre of the rom-com, and its ability to negotiate issues pertinent to contemporary US society. In the second half of the chapter, the very different idea of “minor cinema” is examined. The concept of minor cinema is typically used to discuss films from Africa, South America, or peripheral European countries. Here, however, it is applied to Gregg Araki’s The Doom Generation (1995) to illustrate how Deleuze’s philosophy offers a new approach to the analysis of alternative US cinema. In both instances, the advantages of using Deleuze’s philosophy is that it retains the “engaged interventionist analysis” (Collins et al. 3) of film theory in the 1970s and 1980s, but is still applicable to these US movies of the 1990s and 2000s.

Item Type:Book Sections
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Martin-Jones, Professor David
Authors: Martin-Jones, D.
College/School:College of Arts > School of Culture and Creative Arts > Theatre Film and TV Studies

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