AMMI colloquium - JULIAN HANICH: "On Varieties of Beauty in Film"
|Mo 07-06-2021 17:00 - 19:00
Research colloquium of the theme group Arts, Medium and Moving Images.
Julian Hanich (UG)
"On Varieties of Beauty in Film"
Film is undoubtedly an artform that affords moments of striking beauty. But while this may be hard to deny, praising a film as beautiful is also fraught with the risk of sounding apolitical at best and retrograde at worst. In fact, the history of film theory has been a story of growing suspicion towards this aesthetic category and thus follows the “abuse of beauty” (Arthur C. Danto) in the arts more generally. To some degree, early and classical film theory may still be considered an attempt to leave room for the beautiful. We can find traces of it in the work of Hugo Münsterberg, Jean Epstein, Louis Delluc, Georg Lukács, Victor Oscar Freeburg, Béla Balázs, Siegfried Kracauer and others. Yet this has subsequently changed drastically, culminating in the outright aversion to the beautiful in political modernism, counter-cinema and the avantgarde of the 1970s, most obviously in Laura Mulvey’s famous “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema” (1975) but also in Tom Gunning’s praise of attractions over contemplation (1986) and other contemporary manifestations in film theory. Over the last decades beauty was not an aesthetic category that carried any cachet in film studies. Nevertheless, I believe it is time to pay new attention to the beautiful in film and the beauty of film—and also to defend it as an aesthetic category. In this talk I will make a first foray by distinguishing several types of beauty.
About the speaker
Julian Hanich is Associate Professor of Film Studies at the University of Groningen. From 2017 to 2020 he was also Head of the Department of Arts, Culture and Media. He is the author of The Audience Effect: On the Collective Cinema Experience (Edinburgh UP, 2018) and Cinematic Emotion in Horror Films and Thrillers: The Aesthetic Paradox of Pleasurable Fear (Routledge, 2010). Recently, he co-edited The Structures of the Film Experience by Jean-Pierre Meunier: Historical Assessments and Phenomenological Expansions (with Daniel Fairfax, Amsterdam UP, 2019). In his research he focuses on film aesthetics, film and imagination, cinematic emotions, film phenomenology and the cinema experience.