• Precariousness in the Frames of War: Dynamics of a Sensate Cosmopolitics: An “affect-oriented” reading of Haneke’s Code Unknown

    cecinove2017 (see profile)
    Film Studies, German Literature and Culture
    Item Type:
    Conference paper
    Conf. Title:
    German Studies Association of Australia
    Conf. Org.:
    Conf. Loc.:
    Canberra, Australia
    Conf. Date:
    November 30 - December 2, 2016
    cosmopolitanism, German film, judith butler, Michael Haneke, precariousness
    Permanent URL:
    Just prior to 9/11 the film Code Unknown: An Incomplete Tale of Different Journeys (2000) was released: a series of successive tableaux depicting the random and generally ‘aggressive’ encounters among strangers, neighbours, family members, lovers etc. displays a network of challenging interdependence amongst Parisians. The film was variously critiqued as conservative reproduction of the idea of the clash of civilizations, static in form and essentialist in its politics, a politics that, allegedly, underwrites the doom and decline of the West, here presented as inescapably imprisoned in a ‘spatial’ present, a horizontal world, where the historical / vertical power relations have turned sour, so to speak. The few critics who have observed the film’s engagement with hospitality have for their part emphasized how the film insists on hospitality’s failure and indeed intrinsic impossibility. Contra these readings, I suggest that the film provides us both with the commonsensical reading of the clash of civilizations publicly proclaimed and sustained post 9/11 and with its antidote. I see the antidote as lying in the film’s aesthetics of “long shots” through which it calls close attention to the (characters’) body as injurable and vulnerable –indeed injured—as well as grieving. This is a body that the film captures as impelled and overwhelmed by grief, a grieving for another’s pain, another distant being in whose violation one sees and feels oneself inextricably involved. The film, I argue, allows the spectator to see the interdependence of all in the precariousness of everyone’ s life, as exposed to the other (Butler, Frames of War). In showing that all habitation is co-habitation, and that co-habitation is always fragile, the film impels us to demand a politics that takes into account and responds to the radical vulnerability of agency.
    This is just a draft of an oral paper. It is being reworked for publication.
    Last Updated:
    7 years ago
    All Rights Reserved
    Share this:


    Item Name: pdf cn_gsaa_paper_nov-27_10-40-pm_typos-corrected.pdf
      Download View in browser
    Activity: Downloads: 108