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Performing Ethics Through Film StyleLevinas with the Dardenne Brothers, Barbet Schroeder and Paul Schrader$
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Edward Lamberti

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781474444002

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474444002.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM EDINBURGH SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.edinburgh.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Edinburgh University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ESO for personal use.date: 25 May 2022

Introduction: Textual Performances in Levinas and Film

Introduction: Textual Performances in Levinas and Film

(p.1) Introduction: Textual Performances in Levinas and Film
Performing Ethics Through Film Style

Edward Lamberti

Edinburgh University Press

The introduction begins by exploring how Emmanuel Levinas’s ethical philosophy has been taken up by film theorists to date. Much of this scholarship centres on Levinas’s theories of the Other as found in Totality and Infinity: An Essay on Exteriority (1961), particularly the ‘face’ of the Other, which theorists have discussed in relation to visualre presentation. Levinas developed his ethics, in Otherwise than Being or Beyond Essence (1974), into a performative account of what it feels like to be responsible for the Other. Accordingly, Performing Ethics through Film Style takes a similar approach with film, linking the performativity of Levinas’s writing style with the capacity of films to perform a Levinasian ethics of responsibility for the Other through their styles. The introduction brings in performativity theory – including J. L. Austin’s speech acts, Jacques Derrida’s originary performativity and Judith Butler’s theories of language in the socio-political sphere – to enhance this study of performativity in Levinas and film. And it sets up the subjects of the chapters to follow: the films of the Dardenne brothers, Barbet Schroeder and Paul Schrader. Studying these directors in relation to Levinas shows how films can perform ethics through a wide variety of styles.

Keywords:   Emmanuel Levinas, Ethics, Totality and Infinity, Otherwise than Being, Responsibility, Performativity, Film style, Dardenne brothers, Barbet Schroeder, Paul Schrader

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