Cinemas of Affliction

Reading Circle

Anat Pick, Minou Norouzi

The Museum of Impossible Forms is pleased to announce a twinned series of events exploring Migrant Screen Cultures led by Anat Pick and Minou Norouzi.‍ Anat and Minou will each host a reading circle and present films relating to their respective research in cinema studies.

The reading circles are restricted to registered participants.
The screenings don’t require registration.

The series forms part of the research project “Revolutionary Patience: Migrant Perspectives on Doing Politics with the Documentary” funded by Kone Foundation. ‍

Anat Pick: Cinemas of Affliction Reading circle
Saturday November 20, 2021 from 14:00 - 16:00

Anat Pick, Reader in Film at Queen Mary, University of London and currently Core Fellow at the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, will discuss Simone Weil’s notion of affliction (malheur). Central to Weil’s religious philosophy, affliction is more than physical suffering in that it encompasses both psychological annihilation and social marginalization. Affliction “takes possession of the soul and marks it through and through with its own particular mark, the mark of slavery.” For Weil, this form of extreme suffering is neither noble nor desirable but strictly functional: it acts as a threshold to the love of God. Pick’s use of Weil in the context of film explores the theological dimensions of what she calls “cinemas of affliction,” films that resists empathy and humanitarianism as privileged remedial responses to oppression. ‍

REGISTRATION REQUIRED through the following form.
Maximum capacity 10 participants.

A reading list will be circulated and vegan food will be provided for the  participants.‍

Anat Pick is author of Creaturely Poetics: Animality and Vulnerability in Literature and Film (Columbia University Press, 2011), and co-editor of Screening Nature: Cinema Beyond the Human (Berghahn, 2013). She has published widely on animals, veganism, ethics and film. Her new book project is on the philosopher and mystic Simone Weil and cinema.
Anat is a Core Fellow at the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies (2021-22).‍

Essential reading:‍
Simone Weil, “The Love of God and Affliction,” Waiting for God [1951]. Emma Craufurd, trans. New York: Perennial, 2001, pp. 67-82,‍
Jiewon Baek, “Turning toward the Other: the Face of Humans, the Face of Things and the Face of Language in the Documentaries of Sylvain George,” Studies in French Cinema 16.1 (2016), pp. 61-77. (Text available as a pdf). ‍

Further readings: ‍
Stefano Harney and Fred Moten, The Undercommons: Fugitive Planning and Black Study. New York: Minor Composition, 2013,
Jay Kuehner, “Welcome to Calais: Sylvain George and the Aesthetics of Resistance,”
Cinema Scope 47, ‍Roger Bromley,
“Out of Focus and Out of Place: The Migrant Journey,” Narratives of Forced Mobility and Displacement in Contemporary, London: Palgrave 2021, pp. 101-140.

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