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Creating is resisting: A Spinozian-Deleuzian reading of Andrei Rublev

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The aim of this article is to outline a Spinozian-Deleuzian analysis of audio-visual experience and to combine this account with an embodied cognitive perspective on cinema. Thus, film experience integrates affection and intellection and is not a passive and contemplative phenomenon, but a constructive interaction that involves a creative encounter between the screen and the viewer. Furthermore, I will address the role of sad passions and the problematic relation between creation and resistance, also by drawing upon Primo Levi’s work on memory and on the shame of being human. Consequently, I will argue that my Spinozian-Deleuzian perspective involves an idea of cinema and art as ethically productive events since they allow a creative opposition against all those forces that mortify and enclose existence. Andrei Tarkovsky’s masterpiece Andrei Rublev offers the possibility to develop this discussion; in this biopic, the life of the famous Russian painter is pervaded by problematic questions upon the nature of God, the necessity of Evil, the role of art within a world of violence and misery and, at the same time, the tension and the marvel in the discovery of the real. Following the ideas on spectatorship outlined by Deleuze and combined with Spinoza’s thought, we can say that the film makes us perceive these issues through the embodiment and the engagement of the relations it describes. At the same time, the movie gives us the possibility to re-discuss these terrible questions revealing the active and productive nature of art, as different sequences (like the enigmatic prologue) demonstrate. A further aim of this article is, then, to show how this assemblage of different concepts is possible through the vivid and interactive dimension of film experience.
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Keywords: Andrei Rublev; creation; embodied cognition; resistance; sad passions; shame of being human

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Oxford Brookes University

Publication date: November 1, 2017

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  • Empedocles aims to provide a publication and discussion platform for those working at the interface of philosophy and the study of communication, in all its aspects. This Journal is published in cooperation with the Section for the Philosophy of Communication of ECREA, the European Communication Reserach and Education Association.
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