Selfless Cinema?
Ethics and French Documentary

Sarah Cooper

Research Monographs in French Studies 20

Legenda

17 January 2006  •  112pp

ISBN: 978-1-904713-12-8 (hardback)  •  RRP £75, $99, €85

ContemporaryFrenchFilm


In Selfless Cinema?, Sarah Cooper maps out the power relations of making, and viewing, documentaries in ethical terms. The ethics of filmmaking are often examined in largely legalistic terms, dominated by issues of consent, responsibility, and participants' or film-makers' rights, but Cooper approaches four representative French film-makers - Jean Rouch, Chris Marker, Raymond Depardon, and Agnès Varda - in a far less juridical way, drawing on the ethical philosophy of Emmanuel Levinas. She argues that, in spite of Levinas's iconoclastic, anti-ocular thinking, his concept of visage is richly applicable to film, and especially to documentary.

Sarah Cooper is Lecturer in Film at King's College London.

Reviews:

  • ‘This engagingly written and lucid examination of the relevance of Levinasian thought for cinema... diligently attends to the ways in which creators, through a variety of techniques, unsettle conventional boundaries and relationships within documentary film and persuasively argues that they thus encourage new ways of seeing amongst viewers.’ — unsigned, Forum for Modern Language Studies 46.1, January 2010, 110
  • ‘An important and original intervention... Selfless Cinema? is impressive in the range and depth of ideas it addresses within a relatively short span, which makes it highly practicable. I have assigned individual chapters in an undergraduate seminar on contemporary French cinema with very positive results, and the entire book would serve as an excellent cornerstone for a graduate course.’ — Anne Kern, French Review 83.5, 2010, 1092-93

Bibliography entry:

Cooper, Sarah, Selfless Cinema?: Ethics and French Documentary, Research Monographs in French Studies, 20 (Cambridge: Legenda, 2006)

First footnote reference: 35 Sarah Cooper, Selfless Cinema?: Ethics and French Documentary, Research Monographs in French Studies, 20 (Cambridge: Legenda, 2006), p. 21.

Subsequent footnote reference: 37 Cooper, p. 47.

(To see how these citations were worked out, follow this link.)

Bibliography entry:

Cooper, Sarah. 2006. Selfless Cinema?: Ethics and French Documentary, Research Monographs in French Studies, 20 (Cambridge: Legenda)

Example citation: ‘A quotation occurring on page 21 of this work’ (Cooper 2006: 21).

Example footnote reference: 35 Cooper 2006: 21.

(To see how these citations were worked out, follow this link.)


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