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Open Access Disputing Rossellini: Three French perspectives

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In his burgeoning body of film theoretical work the French philosopher Jacques Rancière repeatedly turns to some canonical films by Neorealist pioneer Roberto Rossellini. Not simply retreading tired motifs of Neorealism, Rancière’s comments offer some profound new insights, revolutionising prior perspectives on Rossellini. In this article I shall put Rancière’s perspective into dialogue with two of the most significant of these perspectives: André Bazin’s and Gilles Deleuze’s. In doing so I shall claim that Rancière’s approach departs radically from the canonised, standardised Neorealist conception of Rossellini. Instead, I wish to claim that he describes a modernist artist primarily concerned with aesthetic clashes. In doing so I shall contemplate how the meaning of these films has evolved since the era of their contemporary reception, demonstrating the congruence and disparity between these three disparate approaches.
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Keywords: Andre Bazin; Gilles Deleuze; Jacques Rancière; Neorealism; Roberto Rossellini; modernism; realism

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: James Harvey-Davitt is a PhD student and teacher in the Department of English, Communication, Film and Media at Anglia Ruskin University. His thesis focuses on the production of agency in contemporary global cinema through consideration of the political and aesthetic philosophies of Jacques Rancière.

Publication date: September 1, 2014

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  • NECSUS is an international, double-blind peer reviewed journal of media studies connected to NECS (European Network for Cinema and Media Studies) and published by Amsterdam University Press. The journal is multidisciplinary and strives to bring together the best work in the field of media studies across the humanities and social sciences. We aim to publish research that matters and that improves the understanding of media and culture inside and outside the academic community. Each volume includes feature articles, a special thematic section, a video essay section, and a reviews section that covers books, festivals, and exhibitions. NECSUS is targeted to a broad readership of researchers, lecturers, and students, and will be offered as a biannual open access, online journal.

    The journal is published in Open Access, with the following Creative Commons copyright license: Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0).

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