The Bordwell-Žižek Antagonism

Cinema and Media Studies: Key Concepts

Many philosophers, film critics, and other parties interested in the debate between Slavoj Žižek and David Bordwell, perceive the two thinkers as being fundamentally different in many ways. Indeed, when observed with one eye closed, Bordwell’s analytical/cognitive “middle-level research” of film cannot share anything in common with Žižek’s Marxist/psychoanalytic (i.e. Continental) “interpretation” of film’s meaning. However, the particularities of the theoretical and philosophical discord between the two authors are numerous, complex, and tangled in an endless amount of disciplines so much so that the simple word “antagonism” does not provide enough descriptive power to express the intricate relationship between their relatively different standpoints on film. I intend to deconstruct this often-simplified interpretation of the dispute (summed up in the word “antagonism”) between Bordwell’s and Žižek’s theories of film and media, North-American and European intellectuals, and analytical and continental philosophies. I will perform a close reading of Bordwell’s and Žižek’s writings…

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