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Haptic film spaces and the rhythms of everyday life in São Paulo in Lina Chamie’s A via láctea

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In dialogue with Henri Lefebvre’s concept of ‘rhythmanalysis’ and Giuliana Bruno’s notion of ‘haptic cinema’, this article examines the ways that Brazilian director Lina Chamie’s 2007 film A via láctea explores imagined and material experiences of everyday life in the megalopolis of São Paulo. It suggests that a rhythmanalytic approach to the study of film spectatorship can offer new perspectives on multisensorial engagement with the cinematic city that move beyond the traditional focus on gaze in film studies. Via close ‘readings’ of the form and content of the film, the article explores how the cinematic apparatus (e.g. camera placement, editing, soundtrack) can create a haptic filmic space for viewers, where the multiple, contradictory temporal and spatial rhythms of urban environments can be felt and ‘touched’. The article contends that by placing the notions of rhythmanalysis and haptic cinema into a productive dialogue, we can explore new ways to link socialscience-based urban studies and humanities inflected film studies in critical engagement with both the imagined and material city.
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Keywords: Giuliana Bruno; Henri Lefebvre; Lina Chamie; São Paulo, Brazil; cultural studies; haptic cinema; rhythmanalysis; urban space

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of South Carolina

Publication date: July 1, 2017

More about this publication?
  • Cities have been increasingly at the forefront of debate in both humanities and social-science disciplines, but there has been relatively little dialogue across these disciplinary boundaries. Journals in social-science fields that use urban-studies methods to look at life in cities rarely explore the cultural aspects of urban life in any depth or delve into close readings of the representation of cities in individual cultural products. As a platform for interdisciplinary scholarship from any and all linguistic, cultural and geographical traditions, the Journal of Urban Cultural Studies prioritizes the urban phenomenon in order to better understand the culture(s) of cities.
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