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Imaging grief and loss : Laura Mulvey's Death 24 x a second as film-philosophy

Journal article
Authors Anna Backman Rogers
Published in De Arte
Issue 92
Pages 11-18
ISSN 0004-3389
Publication year 2016
Published at Department of Cultural Sciences
Pages 11-18
Language en
Keywords Laura Mulvey, Death 24 X second, Barthes, Still Image, Analogue, Digital.
Subject categories Media and Communications, Languages and Literature, Arts, Philosophy, Ethics and Religion, Other Humanities


Laura Mulvey's work has always evinced a fascination with the still image. In her landmark article of 1975 on 'Visual pleasure and narrative cinema', she extrapolates the essence of what the female body denotes on screen as stillness. As a filmmaker, works such as Marilyn distil sensual corporeality and stardom into a series of minute gestures that reveal the heart of identity as performance. With the publication of her book Death 24 x a second in 2006, Mulvey once again made a timely intervention into academic discourse on the future of the film image and the nature of the cinematic medium from the perspective of the still image as signifier of death. This article sets forth that Mulvey's work is best read in light of her interest in stillness as the very basis of the cinematic. As such, Death 24 x a second is not only a study of the meaning of the digital image and an assessment of its analogue history, it is also a film philosophy: a manifesto of what it means to be captured on film, how film functions as archive and its very materiality as a series of static frames.

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