Anxious Cinephilia

Pleasure and Peril at the Movies

Sarah Keller

Columbia University Press

Anxious Cinephilia

Pub Date: April 2020

ISBN: 9780231180870

320 Pages

Format: Paperback

List Price: $30.00£25.00

Pub Date: April 2020

ISBN: 9780231180863

320 Pages

Format: Hardcover

List Price: $95.00£78.00

Pub Date: April 2020

ISBN: 9780231543309

320 Pages

Format: E-book

List Price: $29.99£25.00

Anxious Cinephilia

Pleasure and Peril at the Movies

Sarah Keller

Columbia University Press

The advent of new screening practices and viewing habits in the twenty-first century has spurred a public debate over what it means to be a “cinephile.” In Anxious Cinephilia, Sarah Keller places these competing visions in historical and theoretical perspective, tracing how the love of movies intertwines with anxieties over the content and impermanence of cinematic images.

Keller reframes the history of cinephilia from the earliest days of film through the French New Wave and into the streaming era, arguing that love and fear have shaped the cinematic experience from its earliest days. This anxious love for the cinema marks both institutional practices and personal experiences, from the curation of the moviegoing experience to the creation of community and identity through film festivals to posting on social media. Through a detailed analysis of films and film history, Keller examines how changes in cinema practice and spectatorship create anxiety even as they inspire nostalgia. Anxious Cinephilia offers a new theoretical approach to the relationship between spectator and cinema and reimagines the concept of cinephilia to embrace its diverse forms and its uncertain future.
Anxious Cinephilia gives us the most far-reaching theorization of cinephilia yet. This exploration of desire and anxiety as twin impulses unearths novel connections across film cultures, affective states, and moments of technological change, from early cinema to cinematic spectacle in the digital era. Keller produces a fascinating remapping of the shifting relationship between the spectator and the beloved object and refashions cinephilia for our anxious times. Belén Vidal, author of Heritage Film: Nation, Genre, and Representation
This quietly incendiary book makes a crucial intervention in the study of cinephilia by showing how the love of cinema has always been intertwined with anxiety. In embracing an expansive and historicized sense of cinephilia, it stands as an important corrective to previous scholarship that has far too often privileged French postwar auteurist film culture. A brilliant and ambitious work that will help spark a thousand cinema conversations. Girish Shambu, author of The New Cinephilia
If the x-axis of cinephile is love, then the y-axis—as Sarah Keller convincingly shows—is anxiety, fear, worry. With an acute sensitivity to the historical, phenomenological, technological, and generic ways in which this love/anxiety gets triggered, Keller provocatively deepens our understanding of the powerful, mysterious, multifaceted phenomenon we call cinephilia—and, importantly, she convincingly shows that cinephilia is not just a thing of the past but is still very much with us. Every cinephile will read this book with layers of emotional recognition. Christian Keathley, author of Cinephilia and History, or The Wind in the Trees
Acknowledgments
Introduction
1. Ardor and Anxiety: The History of Cinephilia
2. Enchanting Images
3. Cinephilia and Technology: Anxieties and Obsolescence
4. The Exquisite Apocalypse
Conclusion: Anxious Times, Anxious Cinema
Notes
Selected Bibliography
Index

About the Author

Sarah Keller is associate professor of art and cinema studies at the University of Massachusetts Boston. She is the author of Maya Deren: Incomplete Control (Columbia, 2014) and the coeditor of Jean Epstein: Critical Essays and New Translations (2012).