When is it OK to lie about the past? If history is a story, then everyone knows that the 'official story' is told by the winners. No matter what we may know about how the past really happened, history is as it is recorded: this is what George Orwell called doublethink. But what happens to all the lost, forgotten, censored, and disappeared pasts of world history? Cinema Against Doublethink uncovers how a world of cinemas acts as a giant archive of these lost pasts, a vast virtual store of the world's memories. The most enchanting and disturbing films of recent years - Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall his Past Lives, Nostalgia for the Light, Even the Rain, The Act of Killing, Carancho, Lady Vengeance - create ethical encounters with these lost pasts, covering vast swathes of the planet and crossing huge eras of time. Analysed using the philosophies of Gilles Deleuze (the time-image) and Enrique Dussel (transmodern ethics), the multitudinous cinemas of the world are shown to speak out against doublethink, countering this biggest lie of all with their myriad 'false' versions of world history. Cinema, acting against doublethink, remains a powerful agent for reclaiming the truth of history for the 'post-truth' era.
David Martin-Jones is Professor of Film Studies, University of Glasgow, UK. His research uses philosophy to explore world cinemas. He is the author/editor of eight books, has published in numerous international journals (e.g. Cinema Journal, Screen, Third Text), and edits the Bloomsbury series Thinking Cinema.
List of figures Acknowledgements Preface Introduction: One or many pasts? Celine and Julie go Boating; Embrace of the Serpent PART I Decolonising entrances to the past 1 History/Ethics: Interpreting stories from world history (Enrique Dussel) 2 Ethics/History: Hesitating in encountering lost pasts (Gilles Deleuze) PART II Encounters with the past that is/is not preserved 3 4.54 (to 13.7) billion years: Planetary history, the natural contract, encountering earthly pasts Uncle Boonmee who can Recall his Past Lives; Nostalgia for the Light 4 500 years: The North Atlantic trade circuit, the racial contract, encountering others' pasts How Tasty Was My Little Frenchman; Even the Rain PART III Encounters with the present that passes 5 70 years: The Cold War, the social contract, encountering political pasts The Act of Killing; At the Foot of the White Tree 6 45 years: Neoliberal globalisation, the personal contract, encountering bodily pasts Carancho; Lady Vengeance Conclusion: One or many faces of the (lost) past? Alone in Berlin; Another Story of the World Select bibliography Index