[SydPhil] CHANGE: MQ Philosophy Seminar on Tuesday the 20th of March: Robert Sinnerbrink (MQ)

Michael Olson michael.olson at mq.edu.au
Sun Mar 18 07:42:15 AEDT 2018

There’s been a change in the program for this week.  The new details are as follows:

‘None of all that deserves to be shown': Cinematic Ethics in Haneke's Amour
Robert Sinnerbrink (Macquarie)

Date: 20 March
Time: 13:00-14:00
Venue: Blackshield Room, W3A (6 First Walk) 501*
All welcome

*Note the changing venues this semester

Abstract: Michael Haneke’s celebrated film Amour (2012), depicting the mercy killing of ailing ex-music teacher Anne [Emmanuel Riva] by her devoted husband Georges [Jean-Louis Trintignant], offers a fascinating case study in cinematic ethics. While most critics have focused on the theme of euthanasia, praising the film for its sympathetic presentation of it (or criticising it for the same reason), I suggest that the film does not offer a straightforward cinematic argument for or against euthanasia, or a ‘violent’ depiction of existential finitude, or a deflationary critique of the moral egoism at the heart of romantic love and altruistic ethics (including euthanasia). Rather, my approach to the film is concerned with its potentiality as a work that enacts a cinematic ethics, by which I mean cinema’s capacity to solicit ethical experience through emotional, cognitive, and aesthetic engagement. Amour engages the spectator in an experiential encounter that is confronting and compassionate, fraught with moral-cognitive dissonances that thwart our attempts at moralising judgement. In short, the film stages a complex provocation to think: it elaborates an ethically charged, emotionally ambiguous situation that we are invited to experience and reflect upon, without, however, being coerced into judging hastily the characters’ moral-psychological condition. By focusing on the couple’s conflicting attempts to cope with the reality of Anne’s illness, culminating in Georges’ unexpected and brutal mercy killing, the film offers spectators a provocative form of ethical proximity (witnessing characters’ responses sympathetically but maintaining an aesthetic distance that eschews psychological interiority). From this point of view, Haneke’s Amour is a powerful example of a cinematic ethics: one that both solicits and resists our emotional engagement and moral judgment, evoking and exploring the ethical ambiguities and emotional ambivalences of romantic love and existential care.

Contact: Adam Hochman (adam.hochman at mq.edu.au<mailto:adam.hochman at mq.edu.au>) or Mike Olson (michael.olson at mq.edu.au<mailto:michael.olson at mq.edu.au>)

A google calendar with details of other events in this series is available here<https://protect-au.mimecast.com/s/PSkKCwVLQmigZv5WhV2dDC?domain=michael-olson.com>.

Dr Michael Olson
Lecturer, Modern European Philosophy
Department of Philosophy
Level 2, The Australian Hearing Hub
16 University Avenue
Macquarie University, NSW 2109, Australia
T: +61 2 9850 6895  |  arts.mq.edu.au<http://arts.mq.edu.au> |  www.michael-olson.com

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