The Philosophy of Film: Towards an Understanding of Film as Art (15 March, 2006)


A film conference, 8th-9th June, 2006. To be held at the philosophy department of the University of Liverpool.

‘Why do people go to the cinema? What takes them into a darkened room where, for two hours, they watch the play of shadows on a sheet? The search for entertainment? The need for a kind of drug? All over the world there are, indeed, entertainment firms and organisations which exploit cinema and television and spectacles of many other kinds. Our starting point, however, should not be there.....’ Andrei Tarkovsky

Many films give us information, explanation, they please the spectator with their action, music, dialogue, scenery (and what pleases the most is commonly derived from other arts). They might be fast, slow, violent, clever, crass, driven by commerce or ideas, but rarely with an understanding of nature, of life. They distract us, discourage us from taking the medium seriously, of thinking seriously about film as a distinctive art form. The aim of this conference is to clarify film’s role, to think about and better appreciate film as art. Areas that might be of interest include:

· The role of the director · Film as philosophy · Film as an evocative art · Religious feeling and film · Film and imagination · Film and Eastern tradition · The film and its audience: contemplation versus explanation

While this conference has a philosophical focus, it is open to all those who are interested in film, aesthetics and art, whatever their position on the matter. We are looking for papers that display originality, sensitivity and imagination.

Abstracts for presentations (of no more than thirty minutes) should be submitted by email to John Adams at jadam [At] liv.ac.uk

Deadline for submissions: 15th March

Conference organisers:

John Adams (jadam [AT] liv.ac.uk) and Payal Doctor (p.doctor [AT] liv.ac.uk)