Book Review: Ranciere on Film
Jacques Rancière’s books, Film Fables and The Future of the Image, are really trying to do what his work in politics often does. If his collection of essays, On The Shores of Politics (1), proposes that we shouldn’t take the end of history seriously, and that politics isn’t necessarily about end goals but ongoing struggle, then in his recent books on the cinema (Film Fables) and on the image more generally (The Future of the Image), Rancière is again wary of declarative eschatology, of making statements that suggest the end of anything. As he says on the first page of The Future of the Image, he wants to examine “how a certain idea of fate and a certain idea of the image are tied up in the apocalyptic discourses of today’s cultural climate” (p. 1). But, he adds, “does not the term ‘image’ contain several functions whose problematic alignment precisely constitutes the labour of art?” (p. 1). Central to Rancière’s project is an aesthetic optimism: a sense that there are stories still to be told, and images constantly awaiting creation.
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