"Que sais-je?"

23 April 2012

MP here

As an unprecedented university workload mounts, reviews of This Must Be the Place and Blackthorn - which I saw over a week ago - must wait. In the meantime, a plug: I'm about to embark on an essay film this summer, which seeks to invert the bankrupt identity politics prevalent within academia - "to where or what does one belong?" - and, after the geographer Doreen Massey, asks what I take to be a far more challenging question at a time at which the case for an alternative to capitalism couldn't be any more pressing: to whom does our space/landscape belong? I've set up another blog, named after Montaigne's repeated self-doubting means of validation, to document the film's production. Through and alongside the project, I also examine - with reference to Patrick Keiller's remarkable "Robinson" trilogy* - the extent to which the essay film, which Laura Rascaroli claims belongs to “a tradition of work that is reflective, introspective and authorial” (15), is limited in its political resistance to an established order; with its inclination toward the contemplative rather than the active – even the polemical manifesto defers revolution firstly by calling for it – the anti-establishment politics the essay film often embodies seem to be problematised by its inherent singularity.

* Read my earlier interview of Keiller here.

Rascaroli, Laura. The Personal Camera: Subjective Cinema and the Essay Film. London: Wallflower Press, 2009.