Cinema Illuminating Reality

Media Philosophy through Buddhism

2022
Author:

Victor Fan

A new critical approach to cinema and media based on Buddhism as a philosophical discourse

Victor Fan’s dialogue between Buddhism and Euro-American philosophy is the first of its kind in film and media studies. From Chinese queer cinema to a reexamination of Japanese master Ozu’s work and its historical reception to Christian Petzold’s 2018 existential thriller Transit, Cinema Illuminating Reality castsforges a remarkable path between Buddhist studies and cinema studies, casting vital new light on both of these important subjects.

How can a philosophical discourse generated in Asia help us reframe and renew cinema and media theory? Cinema Illuminating Reality provides a possible way to do this by using Buddhist ideas to examine the intricate relationship between technicity and consciousness in the cinema. The resulting dialogue between Buddhism and Euro-American philosophy is the first of its kind in film and media studies.

Victor Fan examines cinema’s ontology and ontogenetic formation and how such a formational process produces knowledge, political agency, and in-aesthetics. Buddhism allows Fan to deconstruct binary thinking and reimagine media as an ecology, rethinking cinema in relational terms between the human and the machine. Along the way, Fan considers a wide variety of case studies from around the globe, while paying special attention to how contemporary Tibeto-Sinophone filmmakers have adopted relational thinking to detail ways of rebuilding a world that appears to be beyond repair.

From Chinese queer cinema to a reexamination of Japanese master Ozu’s work and its historical reception to Christian Petzold’s 2018 existential thriller Transit, Cinema Illuminating Reality forges a remarkable path between Buddhist studies and cinema studies, casting vital new light on both of these important subjects.

Victor Fan is reader in film and media philosophy in the Department of Film Studies, King’s College London. He is author of Cinema Approaching Reality: Locating Chinese Film Theory (Minnesota, 2015) and Extraterritoriality: Locating Hong Kong Cinema and Media.

Contents

Dependent Originations

Note on Languages

Introduction: Cinema: A Technicity-Consciousness

1. Meontology

2. The Karma-Image

3. The Insight-Image

4. Cinema Ecology

5. In-Aesthetics

Conclusion: Cinema and Nonviolence

Multilingual Glossary of Buddhist Terms, Names, and Titles

Notes

Filmography

Index