Berkeley Film & Media Seminar

Domietta Torlasco

The Anthropocene as Cinematic View: Time, Matter, and Race in Blade Runner 2049

Thu, Feb 25, 2021, 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm

Zoom meeting

Domietta Torlasco

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In this paper, I argue that cinema’s stories of species survival at once hide and duplicate the racialization of matter that has marked the history of geology. In my account, the Anthropocene—the epoch in which humans have become a planet-wide “force of nature”—figures as a discourse that mainstream cinema does not simply translate but, rather, helps to articulate. In other words, I show that the logic of visuality shaping the cinema of catastrophe is also tacitly active in the discourse of the Anthropocene. How can we rethink the intimacy between the human and the inhuman outside of this logic? What kind of cinema can help us imagine not a unified world but, instead, a plurality of worlds?


Domietta Torlasco is a critical theorist, filmmaker, and associate professor of Italian and Comparative Literature at Northwestern University. She is the author of The Rhythm of Images: Cinema Beyond Measure (Minnesota, 2021, forthcoming), The Heretical Archive: Digital Memory at the End of Film (Minnesota, 2013) and The Time of the Crime: Phenomenology, Psychoanalysis, Italian Film (Stanford, 2008). Her recent video essays screened at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles.