Reviewed by: Christine Oka, Research & Instruction, Northeastern University Libraries, Boston, MA
The founders of Film-Philosophy describe the publication as “an open access peer-reviewed academic journal dedicated to the engagement between film studies and philosophy.” In the introduction to the twentieth volume, “What is Film-Philosophy?” David Sorfa, the Managing Editor, discusses the history of Film-Philosophy from its humble beginnings as an email discussion list in 1996, through its development a decade later into a journal dedicated to “publishing materials in a more methodical academic manner and to institute double blind peer review.. The journal moved away from sending out its material via email and began to publish more conventional journal articles and book reviews on its website, www.film-philosophy.com. The twentieth volume inaugurates the new relationship with Edinburgh University Press. There are now two websites for this publication, with current (and upcoming) issues accessible through http://www.euppublishing.com/loi/film and back issues through http://www.film-philosophy.com/index.php/f-p/issue/archive. The aim of the journal is to continue to examine “the ways in which film develop and contribute to philosophical discussion,” Articles look at many aspects of film from a variety of national, religious and technological perspectives. There also is an annual Film-Philosophy Conference which has been held at the univertiesis of Dundee, Warwick, Liverpool John Moores, King’s College London, Queen Mary, Amsterdam, Glasgow, Oxford, Edinburgh and University of Lancaster scheduled for 2017.
This issue is especially international in scope with a special section: Film Philosophy and a World of Cinemas. “Islam, Consciousness and Early Cinema: Said Nursî and the Cinema of God” states “The early 20th century works of Kurdish Islamic thinker Said Nursî explore how cinema can provide access to the divine. . . . Nursî rarely mentions going to the movies in his teachings but he admittedly saw the world through the lens of a camera that he calls the ‘cinema of God.’” The authors consider his understanding of cinema as mainly a visual event, as he spent much of his life in exile or in prison after the mid-1920s. His theological thoughts through film were visual, as pictures, since most of the films at that time were silent.
On the other side of the coin, another article examines “Non-Cinema: Digital, Ethics, Multitude.” The author proposes “non-cinema” as a term identifying “that which is excluded from cinema. “Instead of André Bazin's founding question regarding what is cinema, therefore, this essay asks what cinema is not – and why.This question is of redoubled importance in an age of technological change: not only are nearly all films not not made using the traditional equipment of filmmaking (analogue cameras , linear editing systems, polyester film stock), but not do they get exhibited in traditional theatrical venues (instead circulation on DVD and related formats, and online).” The author argues the concept of non-cinema with “non-mainstream practices of filmmakers from places as diverse as the Philippines and the USA constitute a politically ‘imperfect’ cinema for the digital age.” He supports this idea with the work of Latin American political philosopher Enrique Dussel and “François Laruelle, whose concepts of non-philosophy and non-photography resonate with my concept of non-cinema.”