[SydPhil] Notification: Robert Sinnerbrink, Macquarie @ Wed 13 May 2015 13:00 - 14:30 (Seminars)

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Thu May 7 13:00:15 AEST 2015

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Title: Robert Sinnerbrink, Macquarie
Gangster Film: Cinematic Ethics in The Act of Killing

This paper is part of a project on 'cinematic ethics': the idea of film as  
a medium of ethical experience, one with the power to evoke critical  
reflection through emotional engagement and aesthetic involvement. Although  
film can be used for moral pedagogy (or for political propaganda), it can  
challenge our moral assumptions, dogmatic beliefs, and ideological  
convictions, forcing viewers to see their world in more psychologically  
nuanced, socially complex, and ethically confronting ways. This ethical  
capacity of cinema is particularly evident in the documentary or  
non-fiction film. Far from assuming a transparent or veridical relationship  
between cinematic image and documentary evidence, contemporary filmmakers  
have explored the possibilities of non-fiction film to include fictional  
elements, to question the constructed nature of images, and to investigate  
the dialectical complicities between filmmaker, subject, and spectator.

All of these elements are at play in one of the most confronting and  
original non-fiction film in recent years, Joshua Oppenheimer's The Act of  
Killing (2012). It explores the ongoing legacy of Indonesia's  
state-sanctioned death squads, who killed over a million alleged Communists  
and ethnic Chinese following the military coup of 1965. An extraordinary  
fusion of reflexive 'perpetrator documentary' and cinematic investigation  
of the traumatic effects of political violence, The Act of Killing focuses  
on the perspectives of a number of 'gangster killers' involved in the  
1965-66 massacres, men who are not only treated as heroes by their  
community, freely boasting about their past, but are filmed making their  
own fictional movie re-enactments of their crimes. Its provocative,  
self-reflexive exploration of the intersection between cinema, violence,  
and politics, makes Oppenheimer's meta-cinematic documentary experiment a  
uniquely challenging case study in cinematic ethics.

When: Wed 13 May 2015 13:00 - 14:30 Eastern Time - Melbourne, Sydney
Where: Muniment Room (S401), Main Quad, Univ of Sydney
Calendar: Seminars
     * Dalia Nassar- creator

Event details:  

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