Cinematic Skepticism

Across Digital and Global Turns

By Jeroen Gerrits

Subjects: Film Studies, Philosophy, Cultural Studies
Hardcover : 9781438476636, 234 pages, November 2019
Paperback : 9781438476643, 234 pages, July 2020

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Table of contents

List of Illustrations

Introduction: A “Still” New “Moving” Image of Skepticism?

1. Broken Links: A Cavello-Deleuzian Approach to Film

2. Renoir’s Key to Cinematic Skepticism

3. What Cinema Calls Believing, or: Deleuze beyond Skepticism?

4. A Seem-less Digital Skepticism in Grizzly Man and Amélie

5. Digital, Global, Ontological Turns

6. Reveiling the Gap in The Headless Woman and Three Monkeys

Conclusion: The Digital Will or a New Romanticism?


Drawing on the film-philosophies of Stanley Cavell and Gilles Deleuze, argues that skepticism is an ethical problem that pervades contemporary film.


Because of its automatic way of recording reality, film has a privileged relation to the problem of skepticism. If early film theorists celebrate cinema for overcoming skeptical doubt about the power of human vision, recent film-philosophers argue that our postphotographic, digital cinema is heading toward a general acceptance of skepticism, as though nothing on screen has anything to do with reality any longer. Emerging from the interaction of Stanley Cavell's and Gilles Deleuze's film-philosophies, Cinematic Skepticism challenges both these views. Jeroen Gerrits takes the issue of skepticism beyond concern with knowledge, turning skepticism into an ethical problem that pervades film history and theory. At the same time, he rethinks a Cavello-Deleuzian approach across the digital and global turns in cinema. Combining clear explanations of complex philosophical arguments with in-depth analyses of the contemporary films Grizzly Man, Amélie, Three Monkeys, and The Headless Woman, Gerrits traces how cinema invents ways of dis/connecting to the world.

Jeroen Gerrits is Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature at Binghamton University, State University of New York.


"This book opens up Cavell's work to new films, and thus it makes an important contribution to the reception of Cavell's work among film scholars and philosophers alike. It is also the most sustained and engaging attempt to read Cavell alongside Deleuze, offering an original argument on the many philosophical issues both writers commit their work to." — Daniele Rugo, author of Philosophy and the Patience of Film in Cavell and Nancy