Cinema of the Dark Side: Atrocity and the Ethics of Film by Shohini Chaudhuri

By Shohini Chaudhuri

A number of days after September 11, US Vice-President Dick Cheney invoked the necessity for the united states to paintings 'the darkish facet' in its worldwide 'War on Terror'. In Cinema of the darkish Side, Shohini Chaudhuri explores how modern cinema treats state-sponsored atrocity, evoking a number of landscapes of kingdom terror. She investigates the moral power of cinematic atrocity photos, arguing that whereas movies support to create and ensure normative perceptions approximately atrocities, they could additionally disrupt these perceptions and construct diversified ones. announcing a vital contrast among morality and ethics, the booklet proposes a brand new conceptualisation of human rights cinema that repositions human rights morality inside a moral framework that displays upon the factors and contexts of violence. It builds upon theories of embodied spectatorship to discover how motion pictures can implicate us in histories which can seem to be far-off and unrelated to us, and the way they draw connections among previous and current styles of oppression.

The ebook covers a various spectrum of twenty first century cinema facing documentary or fictional representations of atrocity equivalent to state-sanctioned torture, genocide, enforced disappearance, deportation, and apartheid, together with Zero darkish Thirty (2012), Standard working Procedure (2008), Hotel Rwanda (2004), Sometimes in April (2005), Nostalgia for the Light (2010), Chronicle of an Escape (2006), Children of fellows (2006), District 9 (2009), Waltz With Bashir (2008), and Paradise Now (2005). Cinema of the darkish Side presents readers with clean insights into how we reply to atrocity pictures and the moral concerns at stake.

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For a more complex treatment of these torture events, we need to turn to Standard Operating Procedure. 2 A photograph of Afghan captives provides a composition of moral protest against injustice in Taxi to the Dark Side. Standard Operating Procedure : a doc u men t a r y wi t ho u t a ‘ mo r a l c e n t r e ’ ? Released by Sony Pictures Classics, Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) focuses entirely on the Abu Ghraib scandal and its ‘bad apples’. It has not received major plaudits like Taxi, but has generated much critical debate.

Likewise, Thomas Austin has criticised SOP for failing to conform to the ‘politics of pity’, the conventional forms of spectator response to distant suffer- d o cum e ntin g th e dark side 39 ing theorised by Luc Boltanski, which revolve around pity for victims, sympathy with their benefactors and outrage towards perpetrators. This is what, in his view, compromises the film’s ‘moral and political’ potential (Austin 2011: 344). However, as Austin and Nichols are both exclusively preoccupied with the film’s moral framework (or lack thereof), they miss the essential ethical dimension opened up through its aesthetic choices.

In dominant post-9/11 political discourses, ‘War on Terror’ victims do not appear as grievable lives, only as the faces of terrorists – ‘the worst of the worst’, to use the epithet with which Bush administration officials famously vilified Guantánamo prisoners. When torture and other brutalities are inflicted against ‘evil’ people, who are regarded as a threat to lives, they cease to be perceived as horrific; an altered moral universe is ready for its cinematic remediation. Zero Dark Thirty a n d o t h e r fic t ion a l tre a t m e nts o f t o r t ur e In their book Screening Torture, Michael Flynn and Fabiola F.

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