Irritation of Life : The Subversive Melodrama of Michael Haneke, David Lynch and Lars von Trier

Item Type Book
Abstract Irritation of Life explores the political and emotive potential of contemporary auteur cinema. Viewing the work of celebrated directors Michael Haneke, David Lynch and Lars von Trier through the film-historical lenses of melodrama and the avantgarde, Loren and Metelmann illustrate how convention and deviance interact to establish an aesthetics of irritation. If one is willing to play the game of participatory viewership such an aesthetics initiates, one cannot but enter into a series of negotiations in which habitual viewing practices and epistemological assumptions about the visual are dislodged. With melodrama as what Linda Williams has termed a body genre, not only are novel forms of cognitive experience at stake in subversive melodrama's aesthetics of irritation, but also the invigoration of cinematic affect. Accordingly, the authors develop a strategy for interpreting filmic conventions and departure therefrom that integrates a phenomenological approach "through the senses" (Elsaesser/Hagener). Their densely illustrated readings of Haneke, Lynch and von Trier ultimately rehabilitate a question recurrent throughout the many discourses on melodrama and deviant aesthetics: what social impact might art forms like narrative film hope to achieve? This book suggests that subversive melodrama's political work is characterized by processes of empathetic unsettlement (LaCapra), encouraging new perceptual cartographies in and beyond the cinema, or novel ways of seeing being. Exploration into these uncharted territories constitutes not an Imitation but an Irritation of Life.
Authors Loren, Scott & Metelmann, Jörg
Projects Loren, Scott & Metelmann, Jörg (2010) Aesthetics of Irritation. Auteur Theory, Melodramatic Mode and the Politics of Critical Subjectivity [fundamental research project]
Language English
Keywords cinema, visual culture, melodrama, David Lynch, Michael Haneke, Lars von Trier, irritation, aesthetics, attraction, immersion, estrangement, Brecht, Shklovsky, Schklowski, woman's film, modernism, ethics, viscourse, empathetic unsettlement, LaCapra, Mulvey, Douglas Sirk, avant-garde, Love, Amour, Caché, White Ribbon, Blue Velvet, Mulholland Drive, Inland Empire, Melcholia, Dancer in the Dark, Breaking the Waves, Night of the Hunter, genre, narrative, discourse, postmodern, spectacle, victim, victimhood, visuality,
Subjects cultural studies
HSG Classification contribution to scientific community
HSG Profile Area SHSS - Kulturen, Institutionen, Maerkte (KIM)
Refereed No
Date 2013
Publisher Schüren
Place of Publication Marburg
Series Name Marburger Schriften zur Medienforschung
Volume 1. Auflage April
Number 43
Page Range 210
ISBN 978-3-89472-818-2
Depositing User Dr. Scott Loren
Date Deposited 14 Aug 2013 10:43
Last Modified 20 Jul 2022 17:17


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Loren, Scott & Metelmann, Jörg : Irritation of Life : The Subversive Melodrama of Michael Haneke, David Lynch and Lars von Trier. 1. Auflage April. Marburg : Schüren, 2013, - ISBN 978-3-89472-818-2.

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