ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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​​​​​​​A Foreword to a Manifesto of Political Cinema

As all art forms are increasingly influenced by late stage capitalism, what does this mean for cinema that is political?

As the title suggests, this article is only a foreword to a more serious discussion on political cinema. Twenty-first century art in general, and cinema in particular, has forsaken serious theory for an appreciation of just the nuances, as is typical of any postmodernist approach. This occurs during an era when there is an explosion in the realm of images at our disposal, as Walter Benjamin put it: “a new depthlessness” and “the (frantic) economic urgency of producing fresh waves of evermore novel-seeming commodities, at greater rates of turnover.” Here, the question arises: What is to be done with the immense amount of material available for consumption, and amidst this chaos, what are the possibilities of political interventions in the field of image (movie) and (or) its production? Benjamin once again assists us in arriving at a perspective: “(all these could) be read as peculiar new forms of realism (or at least of the mimesis of reality), while at the same time they can equally well be analysed as so many attempts to distract and divert us from that reality or to disguise its contradictions and resolve them in the guise of various formal mystifications.”

In the age of mechanical reproduction, the authenticity of an artwork is lost; nevertheless, much more is gained. When an artwork is created to be reproduced, the reproductions do not just serve as copies; instead, they themselves serve the intended purpose of the original. And thus is lost the aura associated with the authenticity of the original, the aura of a cult, and what it has paved the way for is the possibility of a new form of secular art. Cinema, since its origin, has been secular, and therefore never burdened with exploring ways to uproot itself from a religious base, from which all other pre-existing art forms have had to sever themselves.

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Updated On : 14th Mar, 2023
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