Landscapes of care and the enchantment of dying in Edwin Beeler’s Die weisse Arche (2016)

Item Type Journal paper
Abstract

This article examines representations of nature and dying in the Swiss documentary Die weisse Arche (2016) through the lens of Jane Bennett’s critique of Max Weber’s concept of disenchantment. I establish a specific relationship between Edwin Beeler’s film and Bennett’s claim that enchantment is foundational to the ethical life, stressing that Die weisse Arche posits an ethics of end-of-life care motivated by moments of enchantment that emanate from the mythical, religious, and local belief systems of the characters Beeler portrays. The film is situated within the recent proliferation of documentaries on dying, marked as they are by a focus upon a single terminal patient and a refusal to film the actual moment of death. Close analysis brings to the fore the film's distinctive poetic style and narrative structure, highlighting in particular how Beeler juxtaposes natural and religious imagery alongside images of dying and care. Drawing upon a methodological framework that brings together philosophy and film studies, this article claims that Die weisse Arche, through its marked absence of medical images in a twenty-first century film about dying, allows us to question the role and place of medicine in contemporary end-of-life care.

Authors Elsner, Anna
Journal or Publication Title Studies in Documentary Film
Language English
Subjects cultural studies
Refereed Yes
Date 2020
Number 14.2
Page Range 147-160
Publisher DOI doi.org/10.1080/17503280.2020.1725994
Depositing User Prof. Dr. Anna Elsner
Date Deposited 08 Dec 2020 11:34
Last Modified 08 Dec 2020 11:34
URI: https://www.alexandria.unisg.ch/publications/261611

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Citation

Elsner, Anna (2020) Landscapes of care and the enchantment of dying in Edwin Beeler’s Die weisse Arche (2016). Studies in Documentary Film, (14.2). 147-160.

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https://www.alexandria.unisg.ch/id/eprint/261611
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