Department of Comparative Literature
Cinema Ontology Revisited: Rethinking Film Theory through the Lens of Buddhism
What is to be done after André Bazin (1918–59) and Gilles Deleuze (1925–95)? With the emergence of the digital image in the 1990s and the proliferation of social media platforms afterwards, a renewed understanding of the cinema as a medium that has fundamentally redefined humanity and its relationship with techne (technics) has been debated. In this discussion, Buddhism may offer us new insights into what cinema is and what it can be.
In my presentation, I use Buddhist philosophy to re-examine cinema ontology. I first conduct a close analysis of Bazin’s own text by contextualising it both within European philosophy and in conversation with the Buddhist understanding interdependent relationships. Under such a renewed scrutiny, I argue, reality is perhaps not the ontological ground of the photographic image. Rather, an alaya (storehouse)-consciousness gives rise to the photograph as a technical milieu, which performs reality as a form without any existential value. In this sense, cinema ontology can be understood anew a crisis of the image generated from a deeper perturbation about human existence.
Speaker: Dr Victor Fan
Victor Fan is Senior Lecturer at Film Studies, King’s College London and Film Consultant of the Chinese Visual Festival. His articles appeared in journals including Camera Obscura, Journal of Chinese Cinemas, Screen and Film History: An International Journal. His book Cinema Approaching Reality: Locating Chinese Film Theory was published in 2015 by the University of Minnesota Press.
Moderator: Dr Alvin Wong
Date: 16 October 2018 (Tue)
Venue: Room 436, 4/F, Run Run Shaw Tower, Centennial Campus, HKU
All are welcome!
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