Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Performing Ethics Through Film StyleLevinas with the Dardenne Brothers, Barbet Schroeder and Paul Schrader$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Edward Lamberti

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781474444002

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474444002.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

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

Passivity and Responsibility in The Comfort of Strangers, Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist and Adam Resurrected

Passivity and Responsibility in The Comfort of Strangers, Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist and Adam Resurrected

Chapter:
(p.187) Chapter 9 Passivity and Responsibility in The Comfort of Strangers, Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist and Adam Resurrected
Source:
Performing Ethics Through Film Style
Author(s):

Edward Lamberti

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9781474444002.003.0013

In Otherwise than Being, Emmanuel Levinas talks of ethics state as being ‘a passivity more passive than all passivity’, the idea that we want nothing for ourselves and that this is what enables us to be devoted to the Other. The Paul Schrader films that this chapter analyses – The Comfort of Strangers (1990), adapted from the Ian McEwan novel, Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist (2005) and Adam Resurrected (2008), from a novel by Yoram Kaniuk – focus on protagonists who are passive in their wants, desires and relationship with life, and my readings of these films will discuss Levinasian passivity and its ethical importance to film. These protagonists are affected by their passivity in different ways: Colin (Rupert Everett) in The Comfort of Strangers comes up against a man who wishes to murder him; Father Merrin (Stellan Skarsgård) in Dominion faces off against Satan; Adam (Jeff Goldblum) in Adam Resurrected is fighting the trauma of his own persecuted past during the Holocaust and his present-day struggles to control his overactive but fractured sense of self. Schrader shows in these films that ethical engagement has passivity as a necessary component, and that passivity is perhaps the most demanding aspect of Levinas’s ethics.

Keywords:   Paul Schrader, The Comfort of Strangers, Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist, Adam Resurrected, Film style, Emmanuel Levinas, Ethics, Passivity

Edinburgh Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.