Ethics at the Cinema

Ethics at the Cinema

Ethics at the Cinema

Ethics at the Cinema

Synopsis

The editors of Ethics at the Cinema invited a diverse group of moral philosophers and philosophers of film to engage with ethical issues raised within, or within the process of viewing, a single film of each contributor's choice. The result is a unique collection of considerable breadth. Discussions focus on both classic and modern films, and topics range from problems of traditional concern to philosophers (e.g. virtue, justice, and ideals) to problems of traditional concern to filmmakers (e.g. sexuality, social belonging, and cultural identity).

Excerpt

WARD E. JONES

THE CONTRIBUTORS TO Ethics at the Cinema were invited to engage with ethical issues raised within, or within the process of viewing, a single film. All of the contributors have previously written in ethics and/or the philosophy of film, but they come from a wide range of traditions and backgrounds within both.

We asked contributors to concentrate on only one film in their essays. We have two reasons for this. First, as I hope to make clear in this introduction, we see merit in forcing both authors and readers to engage with a single narrative in detail; discovering the ethical import of narratives requires digging into the fine points of those narratives. Second, one of the constraints inherent to writing and reading about narratives is that the reader needs to be familiar with the narrative being discussed. Limiting the essays in Ethics at the Cinema to discussions of single films ensures that even if the reader is not already familiar with the narrative being discussed, she can without too much time commitment view the film with which an author is concerned.

The contributors to Ethics at the Cinema were given the freedom to write on a topic and film of their choice. The result is a group of films—including one television series—that vary not only in terms of when and where they were made, but also in terms of their artistic quality. The earliest film discussed is Jean Renoir’s La Grande Illusion, from 1937, one of two classic French films in the collection; the most recent is Paul Haggis” Crash, a film released in 2005 and one of several films . . .

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