IPT Talk Series 2021-22

Monday, 13 October 2021, 20.00-21.00 (Athens time) (Hybrid)

Anglelos Koutsourakis

The minor and the Kafkaesque

The concept of minor cinema has been applied to describe non-mainstream, experimental, feminist, queer, black, and small-nation cinemas. Although Kafka coined the descriptor ‘minor literature’, which was later developed by Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari to analyse the Bohemian author’s literary output, there has been no research hitherto that reconciles the concept of minor cinema with a Kafkaesque cinematic aesthetic.

This paper is part of a larger project that seeks to critically re-evaluate the Kafkaesque as a critical category in film studies. Taking a cue from André Bazin’s suggestion that literary concepts and styles can exceed authors and “novels from which they emanate”, and Jorge Luis Borges’ point that Kafka has produced “his own precursors” and modified our conception of future artists, this paper examines the undertheorized category of Kafkaesque cinema in tandem with a minor cinematic aesthetic.

I argue that the Kafkaesque is a critical term that enables us to analyse and understand films concerned with historical conditions of social oppression, alienation and the contradiction of combined and uneven development in modernity and late modernity.  My aim is to challenge the critical tendency to consider Kafkaesque cinema as the synonym for an apolitical aesthetic of mood and clarify its relation with a minor cinematic aesthetic.

Angelos Koutsourakis is an Associate Professor in Film and Cultural Studies at the Centre for World Cinemas and Digital Cultures (University of Leeds) and an AHRC research leadership fellow. He is the author of Rethinking Brechtian Film Theory and Cinema (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2018), Politics as Form in Lars von Trier (New York: Bloomsbury, 2013) and the co-editor of The Cinema of Theo Angelopoulos (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2015) and Cinema of Crisis: Film and Contemporary Europe (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2020).


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