What are the politics of Gilles Deleuze's study of cinematic modernity? In film studies, the discipline that formally assumes cinema as its object, Deleuze's concepts have been used to explore the processes by which national identities have been historically constructed and deconstructed through aesthetic means as well as the political stances of particular films to the narratives through which particular national identities are still being written. Alternatively they have been used to explore how cinema invents discourses that function as the basis for collective enunciations of minorities that find themselves precariously positioned at the peripheries of national cultures. In both cases, the understanding of the political in Deleuze's studies has been reduced to the struggles between nations and their minorities. This paper argues in contrast that understanding and fulfilling the political potential of his works requires analyzing the importance of his account of the rupture between classical and modern cinema for his political concept of “a people.” The concepts of peoples, nations, and minorities are not the same, and it is to the detriment of film studies that its understanding of politics has by and large been reducible to the latter two. This article seeks to move beyond the impoverished state of the debate on Deleuze and “political cinema” by exploring how his works trace the changing relation of cinema to the historical development of a post-national politics of people-production, and especially his account of what it names “a people of seers.”
A People of Seers: The Political Aesthetics of Postwar Cinema Revisited
JULIAN REID IS PROFESSOR OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AT THE UNIVERSITY OF LAPLAND, FINLAND. HE TAUGHT PREVIOUSLY AT KING'S COLLEGE LONDON, SUSSEX UNIVERSITY, AND SOAS, UNIVERSITY OF LONDON. HIS NEXT BOOK, FASCISM IN DELEUZE (CO-EDITED WITH BRAD EVANS FOR ROUTLEDGE), WILL BE OUT IN 2011.