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Loving and Grieving with Heart of a Dog and Merleau-Ponty's Depth

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  • 1 University of South Australia saige.walton@unisa.edu.au
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Abstract

Maurice Merleau-Ponty's existential phenomenology has been crucial to contemporary film-phenomenology, yet his later thought has not received the same attention. Drawing on “Eye and Mind” and other writings, I apply the philosopher's ontological concept of depth to the cinema. Using Laurie Anderson's Heart of a Dog (2015), an intimate, experimental portrait of animal life, death, grief, and loss, I approach Anderson's film as “depthful” cinema, bringing Heart of a Dog into a dialogue with Merleau-Ponty, the film essay, and the lyrical film. Through its diffractions of the subjective “eye/I,” its poetic approach to grief, and its openness to nonhuman ways of being, I argue that Anderson's film is in accord with Merleau-Ponty's later thinking on depth in art and in the world.

Contributor Notes

Saige Walton is a Senior Lecturer in Screen Studies at the University of South Australia. She is the author of Cinema's Baroque Flesh: Film, Phenomenology and the Art of Entanglement (Amsterdam University Press, 2016) and coeditor of a Special Dossier of Screening the Past on “Materializing Absence in Film and Media” (2018). Her articles appear in journals such as Culture, Theory and Critique, Cinéma & Cie, NECSUS, The Cine-Files, Senses of Cinema, and the New Review of Film and Television Studies. Her second scholarly book deals with a contemporary cinema of poetry. Email: saige.walton@unisa.edu.au

Projections

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