Ecologies of the Moving Image is a book of ecophilosophy that happens to be about cinema, and about the 12-decade history of cinema at that.

What makes it ecophilosophy? It is philosophy that is deeply informed both by an understanding of ecological science and an interdisciplinary appreciation for today’s ecological crisis.

Why cinema?

The short answer is: why not? The longer answer is: because the world of the moving image is also the world of petrochemical energy, industrial production, high-speed movement, and global transportation and communication. They are one and the same and would not be what they are without moving images. So it’s an ecophilosophy of the world as it is, and as it is changing, by way of an ecophilosophy of cinema — which too is changing, rapidly, all around us.

About 50 films get a paragraph or more of discussion in Ecologies of the Moving Image. Three get 10 or more pages. They are:

  • Stalker (A. Tarkovsky, 1979)
  • Avatar (J. Cameron, 2009)
  • Grizzly Man (W. Herzog, 2005)

Another three get between 5 and 10 pages:

  • Prospero’s Books (P. Greenaway, 1991)
  • King Kong (M. C. Cooper & E. B. Schoedsack, 1933)
  • Nanook of the North (R. Flaherty, 1922)
  • The Tree of Life (T. Malick, 2011)
  • The Wicker Man (R. Hardy, 1973)
  • Daughters of the Dust (J. Dash, 1991)

The others include Earth (Zemlya, Aleksandr Dovzhenko’s 1929 silent film), Melancholia (von Trier), The New World (Malick), Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill, Jonah Who Will be 25 in the Year 2000 (A. Tanner), Deliverance, Darwin’s Nightmare, Lessons of Darkness (Herzog), March of the Penguins, Happy Feet, Winged Migration, the Planet Earth series, Bambi, Days of Heaven (Malick), The Searchers (J. Ford), The Day After Tomorrow, Zoo (the weird Robinson Devor doc about zoophilia), Un Chien Delicieux (a relatively unknown film by Ken Feingold), The Plow that Broke the Plains, Up the Yangtze, Easy Rider, Baraka, and An Inconvenient Truth.

But mostly it’s a book of eco-film-philosophy. The book should come out somewhere around the 400-page mark, and is scheduled to appear in print in May or June.

The cover will likely be a still from Stalker — like the one above, of the men sitting outside the Room (which allegedly makes one’s deepest wish come true) in the Zone.

The Zone is the Zone of Cinema. The camera is in the Zone. We don’t see it; we are it.

 

 

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