James Batcho, PhD | Terrence Malick’s Unseeing Cinema
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Terrence Malick’s Unseeing Cinema

ZHUHAI. I’m very pleased to announce the release of my book Terrence Malick’s Unseeing Cinema: Memory, Time and Audibility for Palgrave-Macmillan. This has been such an incredibly long project that sustained me though an amazing six years, beginning with my dissertation on Malick, cinema and philosophy, then leaving my university job to become a peripatetic, living in different places and writing. I’ve since returned to university life, this time in Zuhai, but this will always be for me a book about movement, transition, ephemerality.

The starting points were my appreciation of Malick’s filmmaking and my interest in sound, hearing and memory, but it became something else as I moved through it and absorbed more literature. Deleuze and Heidegger were there from the beginning, then came the concept of a Heraclitean (rather than post-Aristotelian) logos, Piercean semiotics, particular aspects of feminism and psychoanalysis, and in the end I returned to an old love of Kierkegaard which brought everything together in a way that was lacking before he came along. It was a lot of sustained thinking and dwelling that frequently resonated other events of my life during the process, all somehow leading to the development of concepts and themes that I hope add to a philosophical approach to cinema—an immanent, experiential cinema. I do wish the book was more affordable, but this is how monographs work. For those in academia, it should show up in university libraries. (And if not please request!) Every writer, I think, only has the one wish: being read. So I’m grateful for any amount of time one chooses to spend with it.

I’ve got another book already underway, but I’m not sure what form or which emphasis it will take. It will not be about cinema, more an epistemology of hearing and listening, continuing the theme of audible experience. I won’t abandon cinema, more that I want to move in different directions. Indeed the subject will stay with me in the immediate future. I’m off in a couple of weeks to read a paper on simultaneity and coexistence in cinematic time at the Film-Philosophy Conference in Gothenburg. I’m very much looking forward also to seeing old friends from EGS in Berlin, traveling through Ireland for a while, and going back to the states to visit my family.