Chapter

Cinema: Photography, Comedy, Melodrama

Stephen Mulhall

in Stanley Cavell

Published in print January 1999 | ISBN: 9780198238508
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191679643 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198238508.003.0012
Cinema: Photography, Comedy, Melodrama

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Cavell's work on cinema can be divided into two types: analyses of specific films and examinations of the medium of cinema itself (with particular reference to the relationship between the screened image and the viewer of that image). Nonetheless, his work possesses real unity; in part, this is because he finds that the films he studies themselves study their relation to their medium and its audience; but it is also because his work focuses upon precisely the same issue at both levels — that of scepticism. In other words, Cavell claims to detect a thematic doubling or mirroring which itself is a version of the doubling examined with respect to Shakespeare: scepticism is not simply a topic examined by certain films but an issue central to the any real understanding of our relationship to the medium of cinema. This chapter begins by examining Cavell's reflections on the medium, before looking into the two genres of film to which he paid most attention in his work, i.e., melodrama and comedy.

Keywords: Cavell; cinema; films; scepticism

Chapter.  10840 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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