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Screening Nature: Cinema beyond the Human

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Screening Nature

Cinema beyond the Human

Edited by Anat Pick and Guinevere Narraway

304 pages, 16 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78238-226-3 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (November 2013)

eISBN 978-1-78238-227-0 eBook

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"The writers here make you see the world inside and outside of the cinema anew. Screening Nature contains ideas that are as varied and colourful as birds' feathers. This is an important book that pushes cinema forward."  ·  Apichatpong Weerasethakul, winner of the 2010 Cannes Film Festival Palme d'Or prize

"From Avatar to Zen, this remarkable collection of essays goes everywhere in the contemporary film environment to discover remarkable things about what that medium can tell us about ecology. It's fully cognizant of philosophical and theoretical developments in the field, generously global in scope and inclusive of the myriad nonhumans who coexist with us and our films."  ·  Timothy Morton, Rita Shea Guffey Chair in English, Rice University


Environmentalism and ecology are areas of rapid growth in academia and society at large. Screening Nature is the first comprehensive work that groups together the wide range of concerns in the field of cinema and the environment, and what could be termed “posthuman cinema.” It comprises key readings that highlight the centrality of nature and nonhuman animals to the cinematic medium, and to the language and institution of film. The book offers a fresh and timely intervention into contemporary film theory through a focus on the nonhuman environment as principal register in many filmic texts. Screening Nature offers an extensive resource for teachers, undergraduate students, and more advanced scholars on the intersections between the natural world and the worlds of film. It emphasizes the cross-cultural and geographically diverse relevance of the topic of cinema ecology.

Anat Pick lectures in Film Studies at Queen Mary, University of London. Her book Creaturely Poetics: Animality and Vulnerability in Literature and Film was published by Columbia University Press (2011).

Guinevere Narraway lectures on cinema at the University of Tasmania, Hobart, Australia. Her research focus is ecocriticism and moving image culture.

Subject: Film Studies General Cultural Studies


List of Illustrations

Introduction: Intersecting Ecology and Film
Anat Pick and Guinevere Narraway

Part I: Eco-poetics: Film, Form, and the Natural World

Chapter 1. Three Worlds: Dwelling and Worldhood on Screen
Anat Pick

Chapter 2. Ten Skies, 13 Lakes, 15 Pools – Structure, Immanence and Eco-aesthetics in The Swimmer and James Benning’s Land Films
Silke Panse

Chapter 3. Land as Protagonist – An Interview with James Benning
Silke Panse

Part II: Zoë-tropes: Envisioning the Nonhuman

Chapter 4. Anthropomorphism and Its Vicissitudes: Reflections on Homme-sick Cinema
James Leo Cahill

Chapter 5. Animism and the Performative Realist Cinema of Apichatpong Weerasethakul
May Adadol Ingawanij

Chapter 6. Was Blind But Now I See: Animal Liberation Documentaries’ Deconstruction of Barriers to Witnessing Injustice
Carrie Packwood Freeman and Scott Tulloch

Chapter 7. Filming the Frozen South: Animals in Early Antarctic Exploration Films
Elizabeth Leane and Steve Nicol

Part III: Eco-politics: Environment, Image, Ideology

Chapter 8. Dirty Pictures: Framing Pollution and Desire in ‘new New Queer Cinema’
Sophie Mayer

Chapter 9. Utopia in the Mud: Nature and Landscape in the Soviet Science Fiction Film
Elana Gomel

Chapter 10. Animals, Avatars and the Gendering of Nature
Claire Molloy

Chapter 11. Buried Land: Filming the Bosnian Pyramids
Steven Eastwood and Geoffrey Alan Rhodes    

Part IV: Eco-praxis: Film as Environmental Practice

Chapter 12. Strange Seeing: Re-viewing Nature in the Films of Rose Lowder
Guinevere Narraway

Chapter 13. The Art of Self-emptying and Ecological Integration: Bae Yong-kyun’s Why Has Bodhidharma Left for the East
Chia-Ju Chang

Chapter 14. An Inconvenient Truth: Science and Argumentation in the Expository Documentary Film
David Ingram

Chapter 15. Planet in Focus: Environmental Film Festivals
Kay Armatage

Notes on Contributors

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