Cinema and Language Loss: Displacement, Visuality and the Filmic Image

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Cinema and Language Loss provides the first sustained exploration of the relationship between linguistic displacement and visuality in the filmic realm, examining in depth both its formal expressions and theoretical implications. Combining insights from psychoanalysis, philosophy and film theory, the author argues that the move from one linguistic environment to another profoundly destabilizes the subject's relation to both language and reality, resulting in the search for a substitute for language in vision itself - a reversal, as it were, of speaking into seeing. The dynamics of this shift are particularly evident in the works of many displaced filmmakers, which often manifest a conflicted interaction between language and vision, and through this question the signifying potential, and the perceptual ambiguities, of cinema itself. In tracing the encounter between cinema and language loss across a wide range of films - from Billy Wilder's Sunset Boulevard to Chantal Akerman's News from Home to Michael Haneke's Cache - Mamula reevaluates the role of displacement in postwar Western film and makes an original contribution to film theory and philosophy based on a reconsideration of the place of language in our experience and understanding of cinema.