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Beyond Representation

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This article argues that the films of Abbas Kiarostami and Pedro Costa propose new forms of political subjectivity which hover between the real and the fictional, the present and the future. What distinguishes their films is a focus on marginalised groups that resists representing them either in a predetermined ‘documentary’ manner or in a ‘fictional’ form in which identities are granted psychological ‘interiority’. In their films ‘real’ characters play themselves rather than simply ‘be’ themselves. This is cinema that insists on what Gilles Deleuze calls ‘the power of the false’, which allows a character not to be ‘represented’ but to become-another. The films are thus emblematic of recent theoretical efforts to articulate a political form of subjectivity that will not be subsumed under a unified form of representation.

Keywords: Abbas Kiarostami; Alain Badiou; Gilles Deleuze; Jacques Rancière; Pedro Costa; becoming-minor; crystal-image; fabulation; multitude; time-image

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: May 1, 2012

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