Film Studies speaker series: Laura McMahon
This event is taking place in the Arts Building, seminar room 7.
While critical commentary on The Turin Horse (A torinói ló, Béla Tarr and Ágnes Hranitzky, 2011) has productively explored the film’s envisaging of an apocalyptic ‘end time’, this paper seeks to add to such readings by considering the film as a reflection on labour, and on animal labour in particular.
Alongside the work of Gilles Deleuze, Laura McMahon draws on Jacques Rancière’s discussion of duration in Tarr’s work (in Béla Tarr, The Time After (2011)) while engaging critically with Rancière’s apparent neglect of questions of animal labour. While bearing witness to modes of vulnerability and exhaustion that reach across human and animal worlds (thereby inviting connections to a set of broader contexts – postcommunism, environmental crisis and other contemporary forms of precarity), The Turin Horse patiently documents an animal’s revolt through her withdrawal of labour, tracing a slipping away from visibility and a deterritorialising line of flight.
Dr McMahon will also participate in a preceding screening and discussion of Becoming Animal (Emma Davie and Peter Mettler, 2018), which is part of the Docs@StAndrews film series organised by Dr Leshu Torchin and which will take place in the Buchanan Lecture Theatre from 1pm to 3pm on Friday 23 November.
Laura McMahon is a lecturer in Film and Screen Studies at the University of Cambridge. Her most recent book, Animal Worlds: Film, Philosophy and Time (Edinburgh University Press 2019), explores a burgeoning interest in the question of the animal in film and philosophy. It brings reflections on the ethics and politics of animal life by thinkers such as Gilles Deleuze, Jacques Derrida and Nicole Shukin into contact with a range of contemporary international art cinema, particularly experimental documentary, including work by Emmanuel Gras (France), Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Véréna Paravel (USA), Denis Côté (Canada) and Béla Tarr and Ágnes Hranitzky (Hungary). The focus of the book intersects with ‘Screen Animals’ (2015), a dossier of essays edited for the journal Screen, and with a co-edited collection entitled Animal Life and the Moving Image (BFI 2015). Her first book, Cinema and Contact: The Withdrawal of Touch in Nancy, Bresson, Duras and Denis (Legenda, 2012), examines dynamics of touch, aesthetics, politics and community via interactions between French cinema and philosophy, drawing in particular on the work of Jean-Luc Nancy.