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Circulating within the Postmodern Cinematic Image

Class at Faculty of Arts |

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Class time and place:

Tues. 08.30–11.25, F.A.M.U. in the projection hall in Room 124 on the first floor, Lažanský palác, Smetanovo nábřeží 2, Praha 1

Faculty: doc. Erik S. Roraback, D.Phil. (Oxon.)

Docent, Habilitation: Charles University, Faculty of Arts; Dir., American Literature & Cultural-Studies, Charles University; FAMU-International, 2003–present; Affiliate Associate Professor, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA, 2019–present; University Visiting Research Fellowship, University of Winchester, Winchester, UK, 2014–23; Visiting Scholar, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA, 2015–19; Visiting Researcher, Universität Konstanz, Konstanz, Germany 2004–14; Visiting Professor, Université de Provence, Aix-en-Provence, France 2005; Doctor of Philosophy (viva voce examiners, Terry Eagleton, St. Catherine’s College, Oxford & Maud Ellmann, King’s College, University of Cambridge) & College Tutor (Magdalen College & Mansfield College), University of Oxford, Oxford, UK; Oxford/École Normal Supérieure Exchange, Paris, France; Rotary Foundation Graduate Ambassadorial Scholar, University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia; Bachelor of Arts, Pomona College, Claremont, CA, USA; Pomona College Program (Dir., All Souls College) at University College, Oxford

Contact: e-mail: or

Individual web site:

Office hours:

After seminar and by appointment; to be announced, Room 219c, Faculty of Arts, Charles University, Jana Palacha 1/2, Prague 1


The aim of this course is to awaken for the active spectator, in terms of aesthetics, cultural capital and politics, new utopian ways of being, dreaming, interpreting, looking, and thinking as so many forms of “labor” and of “movement”. Combining these will promote an ecology of dialectical questioning and thinking about new, utopian post-capitalist forms of beauty, equality and freedom for the twenty-first century. These movement and labor forms are dialectically subject within the space of the cinematic frame and institution to both regressive-capitalist and progressive-emancipatory-post-capitalist forms of “circulation”. The seminar thus draws on, and explores egalitarian and novel non-hegemonic ways of engaging gestures, ideas, images, and scenes in films from a range of postmodernist/postwar global films and world-auteurs: Chantal Akerman (Belgium), Michelangelo Antonioni (Italy), Rainer Werner Fassbinder (Germany), Terrence Malick (USA), Alain Resnais (France), Andrei Tarkovsky (USSR), Agnès Varda (France), and Orson Welles (USA). Cinema as the art of forms of movement thus will be evaluated anew. Attention will be given to those cinematic moments and scenes that teach and that train us in new non-dominatory and emancipated viewing strategies of movement and circulation as so many utopian forms of thinking and looking. In so doing, we consider arts and forms of movement and circulation as not only subject to capitalist commodification, but also as modes of active engagement, interpretation, and thinking that take place precisely in a shared space for post-capitalist common content, creation, and thought in post-capitalist and emancipated utopian forms of circulation. The role of cinematic silence and of the unconscious in film culture will also be given critical coverage.

Critical and theoretical literature engaged will include film aesthetics, criticism, and philosophy from Theodor Adorno (Germany), Giorgio Agamben (Italy), Nico Baumbach (USA), André Bazin (France), Jonathan Beller (USA), Walter Benjamin (Germany), Leo Bersani-Ulysse Dutoit (USA), Jan Campbell (UK), David A. Cook (USA), Gilles Deleuze (France), Georges Didi-Huberman (France), Mark Fisher (UK), Owen Hulatt (USA), Fredric Jameson (USA), Niklas Luhmann (Germany), Todd McGowan (USA), Edgar Morin (France), Hannah Patterson (USA), Jacques Rancière (France), Josh Robinson (USA), Erik S. Roraback (USA/Czechia), Marion Schmid (France), Nicolás Salazar Sutil (UK), Steven Shaviro (USA), Bernard Stiegler, (France), Robert T. Tally Jr. (USA), François Truffaut (France), and Slavoj Žižek (Slovenia/UK). Cultural Mobility: A Manifesto by Stephen Greenblatt (USA), inter alia, will also be engaged. All films are either in English or have English inter-titles or sub-titles. Clips and special features will also be shown. The course is conducted in English and consists of three clock-hour-long sessions (i.e., four academic hours) to allow sufficient time for both the screenings and for seminar lecture/discussion. Strategically, we shall engage our target pictures in an unorthodox counter chronological way in order to undercut overly facile teleological ways of thinking and of reasoning; it will also provide us with a different perspective on the development of the cultural system of film.


FAMU-International; CDM: e.g., CDM Digital Media, CDM2, CDM2 Scriptwriting, CDM3; CET/Film Production; CIEE; DAMU Arts Management; DAMU Directing; Free Mover; Photography; PTS; ERASMUS-FAMU/HAMU; Centre for Critical & Cultural Theory (core course) and American Literature and Cultural Studies (elective course) (Anglophone Literatures and Cultures, Charles University).


DVD and Blu-ray videos: see schedule; selections from the following critical and theoretical texts will be available in a course-reader or: will be adduced in the lectures or readings authored by the instructor:

Agamben, Giorgio: Profanations, trans. Jeff Fort (Zone, 2007). _____ . Infancy and History: On the Destruction of Experience, trans. Liz Heron

(Verso, 2007).

Baumbach, Nico: Cinema/Politics/Philosophy (Columbia, 2019).

Beller, Jonathan. The Cinematic Mode of Production: Attention Economy and the

Society of the Spectacle (Dartmouth/New England, 2006).

Benjamin, Walter: selected texts from the series of volumes with Harvard Univ.

Press to be announced.

Bersani, Leo and Ulysse Dutoit: Arts of Impoverishment: Beckett, Rothko, Resnais

(Harvard, 1993). _____ . Forms of Being: Cinema, Aesthetics, Subjectivity (BFI, 2004).

Bird, Robert: Andrei Rublev. (BFI, 2004).

Campbell, Jan. Film & Cinema Spectatorship (Polity, 2005).

Casetti, Francesco: Eye of the Century: Film, Experience, Modernity, trans. Erin

Larkin with Jennifer Pranolo (Columbia, 2008).

Conrad, Peter: The Mysteries of Cinema: Movies and Imagination (Thames & Hudson, 2021). _____ . The Stories of His Life: Orson Welles (Faber & Faber, 2003).

Cook, David A.: A History of Narrative Film (Norton, 2004).

Deleuze, Gilles: Cinema 1: The Movement-Image, trans. Hugh Tomlinson and Barbara

Habberjam (Minnesota, 1986). _____ . Cinema 2: The Time-Image, trans. Hugh Tomlinson and Robert Galeta

(Minnesota, 1989).

Didi-Huberman, Georges: The Eye of History: When Images Take Positions, trans.

Shane B. Lillis. (RIC, 2018)/MIT, 2018).

Docherty, Thomas: Literature and Capital (Bloomsbury, 2018).

Durham, Scott and Dilip Gaonkar, With an afterword by Jacques Rancière:

Distributions of the Sensible: Rancière, between Aesthetics and Politics

(Northwestern, 2019).

Fisher, Mark: The Weird And The Eerie (Repeater, 2016).

Heylin, Clinton. Despite the System: Orson Welles Versus the Hollywood Studios

(Canongate, 2005).

Jameson, Fredric: Archaeologies of the Future: The Desire Called Utopia and Other Science Fictions (Verso, 2005). _____ . Raymond Chandler: The Detections of Totality (Verso, 2016). _____ . The Geopolitical Aesthetic: Cinema and Space in the World System (Indiana, 1995).

Kline, T. Jefferson, ed. Agnès Varda: Interviews (Mississippi, 2014).

Lambert, Gregg: “The Brain is the Screen: An Interview with Gilles Deleuze” in

Flaxman, Gregory, ed., The Brain is the Screen: Deleuze and the Philosophy of Cinema (Minnesota, 2000).

Le Fanu, Mark: “Stalker” in The Cinema of Andrei Tarkovsky (BFI, 1987) pp. 92–107.

Luhmann, Niklas: The Reality of the Mass Media, trans. Kathleen Cross (Stanford:

Stanford UP, 2000).

McGowan, Todd: The Real Gaze: Film Theory after Lacan (SUNY, 2007).

Margulies, Ivone: Nothing Happens: Chantal Akerman’s Hyperrealist Everyday (Duke

UP, 1996).

Morin, Edgar: The Cinema, or The Imaginary Man, trans. Lorraine Morimer (Minnesota, 2005). _____ . The Stars, trans. Richard Howard, foreword Lorraine Mortimer (Minnesota, 2005).

Morrison, James and Thomas Schur. The Films of Terrence Malick. (Praeger, 2003).

Nancy, Jean-Luc: The Creation of the World; or, Globalization, trans. with an intro. François Raffoul and David Pettigew (Albany: SUNY P, 2007).

Naremore, James: The Magic World of Orson Welles (Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 1978 reprinted at Dallas: Southern Methodist Univ. Press, 1989).

Patterson, Hannah: “Two Characters in Search of a Direction: Motivation and the

Construction of Identity in Badlands” in The Cinema of Terrence Malick:

Poetic Visions of America (Wallflower, 2003) pp. 24–36.

Rancière, Jacques: Film Fables, trans. Emiliano Battista (Berg, 2006). _____ . The Future of the Image, trans. Gregory Elliott (Verso, 2007).

Richards, Rashna Wadia and David T. Johnson: For the Love of Cinema: Teaching our

Passion In and Outside of the Classroom (Indiana, 2017).

Roraback, Erik S.: a select band of essays adduced below (some published and / or presented at conferences) from a two-volume work that is being prepared for publication, Forms of Cinematic Capital: Circulation, Movement, and


Salazar Sutil, Nicolás: Motion and Representation: The Language of Human Movement

(MIT, 2015).

Schmid, Marion. “The Visual Artist’s Gaze Agnès Varda’s Intermedial Layering” in