Because of its automatic way of recording reality, film has a privileged relation to the problem of skepticism. If early film theorists celebrate cinema for overcoming skeptical doubt about the power of human vision, recent film-philosophers argue that our postphotographic, digital cinema is heading toward a general acceptance of skepticism, as though nothing on screen has anything to do with reality any longer. Emerging from the interaction of Stanley Cavell’s and Gilles Deleuze’s film-philosophies, Cinematic Skepticism challenges both these views. Jeroen Gerrits takes the issue of skepticism beyond concern with knowledge, turning skepticism into an ethical problem that pervades film history and theory. At the same time, he rethinks a Cavello-Deleuzian approach across the digital and global turns in cinema. Combining clear explanations of complex philosophical arguments with in-depth analyses of the contemporary films Grizzly Man, Amélie, Three Monkeys, and The Headless Woman, Gerrits traces how cinema invents ways of dis/connecting to the world.
“This book opens up Cavell’s work to new films, and thus it makes an important contribution to the reception of Cavell’s work among film scholars and philosophers alike. It is also the most sustained and engaging attempt to read Cavell alongside Deleuze, offering an original argument on the many philosophical issues both writers commit their work to.” — Daniele Rugo, author of Philosophy and the Patience of Film in Cavell and Nancy
Jeroen Gerrits is Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature at Binghamton University, State University of New York.