Research Article

How Movies Think: Cavell on Film as a Medium of Art



Stanley Cavell’s writing about movies, from the more theoretical and general The World Viewed (1971) to the later works on specific genres (Pursuits of Happiness, Contesting Tears), has a unifying theme: some movies as (successful) art investigate conditions of accomplished selfhood and interest in experience in medium-specific ways. This claim is explained and defended by explicating the details of the medium-specificity of the moving photographic image (and its history of uses) and by focusing on Michael Verhoeven’s film The Nasty Girl (1990). Though the very ideas of accomplished selfhood and interest in experience naturally prompt some suspicion in a commercialized, pluralistic society, our responses to some movies show that we continue to aspire to a life that embodies them.

  • Year: 2014
  • Volume: 51 Issue: 1
  • Page/Article: 3-20
  • DOI: 10.33134/eeja.113
  • Published on 15 May 2014
  • Peer Reviewed