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For Alain Badiou, films think, and it is the task of thephilosopher to transcribe that thinking. What is the subject towhich the film gives expressive form? This is the question thatlies at the heart of Badiou’s account of cinema.
He contends that cinema is an art form that bears witness to theOther and renders human presence visible, thus testifying to theuniversal value of human existence and human freedom. Through theexperience of viewing, the movement of thought that constitutes thefilm is passed on to the viewer, who thereby encounters an aspectof the world and its exaltation and vitality as well as itsdifficulty and complexity. Cinema is an impure art cannibalizingits times, the other arts, and people – a major art preciselybecause it is the locus of the indiscernibility between art andnon-art. It is this, argues Badiou, that makes cinema the socialand political art par excellence, the best indicator of ourcivilization, in the way that Greek tragedy, the coming-of-agenovel and the operetta were in their respective eras.read more