Wars have played a momentous role in shaping the course of human history. The ever-present specter of conflict has made it an enduring topic of interest in popular culture, and many movies, from Hollywood blockbusters to independent films, have sought to show the complexities and horrors of war on-screen.
In The Philosophy of War Films, David LaRocca compiles a series of essays by prominent scholars that examine the impact of representing war in film and the influence that cinematic images of battle have on human consciousness, belief, and action. The contributors explore a variety of topics, including the aesthetics of war as portrayed on-screen, the effect war has on personal identity, and the ethical problems presented by war.
Drawing upon analyses of iconic and critically acclaimed war films such as Saving Private Ryan (1998), The Thin Red Line (1998), Rescue Dawn (2006), Restrepo (2010), and Zero Dark Thirty (2012), this volume's examination of the genre creates new ways of thinking about the philosophy of war. A fascinating look at the manner in which combat and its aftermath are depicted cinematically, The Philosophy of War Films is a timely and engaging read for any philosopher, filmmaker, reader, or viewer who desires a deeper understanding of war and its representation in popular culture.
About the Author
David LaRocca is Visiting Assistant Professor in the Cinema Department at Binghamton University, and recently was Visiting Scholar in English at Cornell University, Visiting Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the State University of New York College at Cortland, and Lecturer in Screen Studies at Ithaca College. In addition to other books, he is the editor of The Philosophy of Charlie Kaufman and The Philosophy of Documentary Film: Image, Sound, Fiction, Truth.
Table of Contents
Introduction: War Films and the Ineffability of War David LaRocca 1
Part 1 The Aesthetics of War On-Screen
War and Representation Fredric Jameson 81
War Pictures: Digital Surveillance from Foreign Theater to Homeland Security Front Garrett Stewart 107
Lenses into War: Digital Vérité in Iraq War Films Stacey Peebles 133
Beyond Panopticism: The Biopolitical Labor of Surveillance and War in Contemporary Film Joshua Gooch 155
Seeing Soldiers, Seeing Persons: Wittgenstein, Film Theory, and Charlie Chaplin's Shoulder Arms Burke Hilsabeck 179
Part 2 War as Condition of Self-Formation and Self-Dissolution
Apocalypse Within: The War Epic as Crisis of Self-Identity Garry L. Hagberg 205
The Violated Body: Affective Experience and Somatic Intensity in Zero Dark Thirty Robert Burgoyne 247
"All in War with Time": Medium as Meditation in Sherman's March Lawrence F. Rhu 261
The Power of Memory and the Memory of Power: Wars and Graves in Westerns and Jidaigeki Inger S. B. Brodey 287
Part 3 The Ethical Tribulations of War
The Ubiquitous Absence of the Enemy in Contemporary Israeli War Films Holger Pötzsch 313
General Patton and Private Ryan: The Conflicting Reality of War and Films about War Andrew Fiala 335
The Work of Art in the Age of Embedded Journalism: Fiction versus Depiction in Zero Dark Thirty K. L. Evans 355
Part 4 War, Nature, and the Absolute
Vernacular Metaphysics: On Terrence Malick's The Thin Red Line Robert Pippin 385
War and Its Fictional Recovery On-Screen: Narrative Management of Death in The Big Red One and The Thin Red Line Elisabeth Bronfen 413
"Profoundly Unreconciled to Nature": Ecstatic Truth and the Humanistic Sublime in Werner Herzog's War Films David LaRocca 437
Appendix. The Multifarious Forms of War Films: A Taxonomy of Subgenres 489