Stardust

Stardust

Cinematic Archives at the End of the World

Hannah Goodwin

An exploration of the fundamental bond between cinema and the cosmos

200 Pages, 6 x 9 in

  • Paperback
  • 9781517916503
  • Published: May 14, 2024
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  • eBook
  • 9781452971186
  • Published: May 14, 2024
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  • Hardcover
  • 9781517916497
  • Published: May 14, 2024
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Details

Stardust

Cinematic Archives at the End of the World

Hannah Goodwin

ISBN: 9781517916503

Publication date: May 14th, 2024

200 Pages

13 black and white illustrations

8 x 5

"Like images from the James Webb space telescope, Hannah Goodwin’s Stardust brings into sharp relief an entire universe of ideas from a century-long conversation between stargazing and cinema that were previously only known in fuzzy contours. A dazzling work of scholarship that mobilizes the most ambitious promises of cinema and cinema studies to give us perceptual and imaginative access to the cosmos in all their sublime beauty, mystery, and fragility across the registers of science, eschatology, aesthetics, and popular fantasy." —James Leo Cahill, author of Zoological Surrealism: The Nonhuman Cinema of Jean Painlevé

 

"Elegantly blending cinema history, philosophy, and science studies, Stardust powerfully delineates a cosmic impulse in filmmaking and film theory. Engaging with a rich constellation of feature and experimental films, aerial views and Hubble images, space and atomic-era records, Hannah Goodwin probes the relation between the cosmological and the apocalyptic and offers crucial insights for this moment of planetary precarity." —Lisa Parks, University of California, Santa Barbara

 


An exploration of the fundamental bond between cinema and the cosmos
 

The advent of cinema occurred alongside pivotal developments in astronomy and astrophysics, including Albert Einstein’s theories of relativity, all of which dramatically altered our conception of time and provided new means of envisioning the limits of our world. Tracing the many aesthetic, philosophical, and technological parallels between these fields, Stardust explores how cinema has routinely looked toward the cosmos to reflect our collective anxiety about a universe without us.

 

Employing a “cosmocinematic gaze,” Hannah Goodwin uses the metaphorical frameworks from astronomy to posit new understandings of cinematic time and underscore the role of light in generating archives for an uncertain future. Surveying a broad range of works, including silent-era educational films, avant-garde experimental works, and contemporary blockbusters, she carves out a distinctive area of film analysis that extends its reach far beyond mainstream science fiction to explore films that reckon with a future in which humans are absent.

 

This expansive study details the shared affinities between cinema and the stars in order to demonstrate how filmmakers have used cosmic imagery and themes to respond to the twentieth century’s moments of existential dread, from World War I to the atomic age to our current moment of environmental collapse. As our outlook on the future continues to change, Stardust illuminates the promise of cinema to bear witness to humanity’s fragile existence within the vast expanse of the universe.

Hannah Goodwin is assistant professor of film and media studies at Mount Holyoke College.