Search results

Joshua Foa Dienstag in dialogue
Series: Critical Powers

This book engages in a critical encounter with the work of Stanley Cavell on cinema, focusing skeptical attention on the claims made for the contribution of cinema to the ethical character of democratic life. In much of Cavell's writing on film he seeks to show us that the protagonists of the films he terms "remarriage comedies" live a form of perfectionism that he upholds as desirable for contemporary democratic society: moral perfectionism. Films are often viewed on television, and television shows can have "filmlike" qualities. The book addresses the nature of viewing cinematic film as a mode of experience, arguing against Cavell that it is akin to dreaming rather than lived consciousness and, crucially, cannot be shared. It mirrors the celebrated dialogue between Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Jean D'Alembert on theatre. The book articulates the implications of philosophical pessimism for addressing contemporary culture in its relationship to political life. It clarifies how The Americans resembles the remarriage films and can illuminate the issues they raise. The tragedy of remarriage, would be a better instructor of a democratic community, if such a community were prepared to listen. The book suggests that dreaming, both with and without films, is not merely a pleasurable distraction but a valuable pastime for democratic citizens. Finally, it concludes with a robust response from Dienstag to his critics.

Open Access (free)
Thomas Dumm

Cavell suggesting that he is somehow naive or ignorant or disingenuous is simply a non-starter. (It is remarkable as well to me that you are arguing so extensively on a turf of Cavell’s own making: after all, both the terms “remarriage comedy” and “moral perfectionism” are inventions – exclusively, in the case of his identifying the genre of remarriage, and largely in the

in Cinema, democracy and perfectionism
Clare Woodford

. Two models of exemplarity In much of Cavell’s writing on film he seeks to show us that the protagonists of the films he terms “remarriage comedies” live a form of perfectionism that he upholds as desirable for contemporary democratic society: moral perfectionism. However, there appear to be two ways in which we can interpret exemplarity in Cavell

in Cinema, democracy and perfectionism
Open Access (free)
Joshua Foa Dienstag

connection between Emersonian perfectionism and the “remarriage comedies” of the 1930s and 1940s . Rather than demonstrating moral improvement, the film reveals the dangers and pleasures involved in the representation of the instability of erotic relations. It warns, I argue, against thinking that we can learn to democratize by watching a representation of democracy, however artful

in Cinema, democracy and perfectionism
A reply from Saturday Night to Mr. Dienstag
Tracy B. Strong

it. The “remarriage comedies” to which Mr. Cavell draws our attention, and the intention of which you wish to contest, are thus presentations of the achievement of a “meet and happy” marriage. They show us perfected marriage, not in the sense of the best of the best, but in the sense of having become more of a true marriage. There is no Platonic agathon here

in Cinema, democracy and perfectionism
Letter to M. Cavell about cinema (a remake)
Joshua Foa Dienstag

with the idea of film as an instructive democratic medium: when the lesson displeases the audience, they can shut their eyes against it, and they do. I see nothing in your presentation of the joys of remarriage comedy that could solve this problem or even address it. * * * The Rules of the Game was made as the happy family of European nations were

in Cinema, democracy and perfectionism