Disaster Cinema in Historical Perspective

Disaster Cinema in Historical Perspective

Mediations of the Sublime

How do we experience disaster films in cinema? And where does disaster cinema come from? The two questions are more closely related than one might initially think. For the framework of the cinematic experience of natural disasters has its roots in the mid-eighteenth century when the aesthetic category of the sublime was re-established as the primary mode for appreciating nature's violent forces. In this book, the sublime is understood as a complex and culturally specific meeting point between philosophical thought, artistic creation, social and technical development, and popular imagination. On the one hand, the sublime provides a receptive model to uncover how cinematic disaster depictions affect our senses, bodies and minds. On the other hand, this experiential framework of disaster cinema is only one of the most recent agents within the historical trajectory of sublime disasters, which is traced in this book among a broad range of media: from landscape and history painting to a variety of pictorial devices like Eidophusikon, Panorama, Diorama, and, finally, cinema.
  • Cover
  • Table of Contents
  • 1. Introduction
    • Theories of the Sublime: Edmund Burke and Immanuel Kant
    • The Archeology and Iconography of the Sublime
    • Analyzing Disaster Movies
    • The Disaster Movie Genre and the Film Selection
  • 2. Starting Points
    • Dutch Landscapes of the North
    • Transforming the Sublime. From Rhetoric to Experiencing Nature
    • Picturesque Views
    • Lisbon Shock Waves
    • Heroic Geology
    • Commodifying Nature. Earth Economics and Tourism
  • 3. The Iconography of the Sublime
    • Virtual Windows. Claude Joseph Vernet at the Academy Salon
    • Remarkable Views. Caspar Wolf in the Alps
    • Volcano Montages: Derby, Valenciennes, Wutky, Volaire, Briullov
  • 4. Mediating the Sublime
    • Between Art Academy and Entertainment Culture: Philippe Jacques de Loutherbourg
    • Apocalypse Here-and-Now. John Martin
    • ‘The Viewer Feels as Though His Eyelids Had Been Cut Off’. Visiting the Panorama
    • Panoramic Landscapes Through the Telescope: The Hudson River School
    • Nature’s Forces in Motion: The Diorama
  • 5. Cinema – A Medium of the Sublime?
    • Photographic Images in Motion
    • Is the Sublime a Somatic Experience?
    • Montage
    • Camera
    • Sound and Multimedia
    • Cinema
  • 6. Disaster Cinema. A Historical Overview
    • Disaster Films Between Documentary and Special Effects Newsreel
    • Early Epics and Travel Genres
    • Disaster Melodramas
    • Disaster Diversity: the 1950s and 1960s
    • ‘Disaster Movies’ and Nuclear Wastelands
    • Digitally Painted Disasters
  • 7. The Sublime in Disaster Cinema
    • Patterns of Violence, or, The Sublime as Somatic Excess
      • 1. Mise en images
      • 2. Montage
      • 3. Camera Movement
      • 4. Sound
    • Points of Disinterest: Subjectivity
    • Beyond Imagination: Transcendence
      • 1. Chasing Phantoms. The Disaster-Time-Image
      • 2. Last Line of Defense. Ethics
      • 3. ‘Hear God Howl’ – Religion and Spirituality
    • Modality, or, The Pleasure of the Sublime
    • Border Conflicts. Presentability
    • ‘It Is Gonna Send Us Back to the Stone Age!’ – The Geological Sublime
    • Neighbor Relations: The Sublime and the Ridiculous
    • What Lies Ahead? Hyperobjects and the Sublime
  • Bibliography
  • Index



By subscribing, you accept our Privacy Policy