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Film Buddhology

Film Buddhology
Film Buddhology
This thesis proposes Buddhology as a methodology for discussing film ontology. The mind in Buddhology provides a way to reconsider the essence of all phenomena. Considering that film is a palpable phenomenon, I suggest that the mind engages with film at a Buddhist ontological level. My overarching argument is that film ontology is nominal. Nominal film arises from my act of combining film ontology with the Buddhist idea of nominal existence, referring to an intermediate state between film (film exists) and “no film” (film does not exist). On the one hand, my thesis argues that film does not have an independent and inherent quality to enable itself to exist in its own right, but on the other hand, because audiences’ sense organs and sense consciousness together make the manifestation of film possible, it follows that film is not absolute nothingness. The framework of film Buddhology that I outline in my thesis is threefold. First, I will summarise some traditional approaches to and concepts in film ontology, such as phenomenology, realism, and cognitivism, in order to consider how other theorists analyse the nature of film. Second, I will put these theories into dialogue with Buddhist discussions concerning the association between phenomena and the mind in the context of film ontology, and examine the relation between film and the viewer’s act of experiencing film. Moreover, I will explain how the mind and its several subideas are selected from among many Buddhist sources. Third, I apply my ideas to specific case studies where each chosen film indicates a specific type of filmmaking. The selected examples are Michelangelo Antonioni’s art film Blow-up (1966), Hollis Frampton’s experimental film Zorns Lemma (1970), Abbas Kiarostami’s docufiction Through the Olive Trees (1994), and William Wyler’s classical Hollywood film The Best Years of Our Lives (1946). A Buddhist perspective on these films will trigger discussions about nominal images, nominal montage, nominal voices, and nominal deep-focus shots—manifold paths to the applicability of nominal film beyond any types of films.
University of Southampton
Chen, Ao
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Chen, Ao
af42c515-a250-4312-9097-e1332fa0b475
Cook, Malcolm
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Bergfelder, Tim
fb4e3b67-06fd-4b9f-9a94-bc73a1c7c16d
Carroll, Elizabeth
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Chen, Ao (2022) Film Buddhology. University of Southampton, Doctoral Thesis, 193pp.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Abstract

This thesis proposes Buddhology as a methodology for discussing film ontology. The mind in Buddhology provides a way to reconsider the essence of all phenomena. Considering that film is a palpable phenomenon, I suggest that the mind engages with film at a Buddhist ontological level. My overarching argument is that film ontology is nominal. Nominal film arises from my act of combining film ontology with the Buddhist idea of nominal existence, referring to an intermediate state between film (film exists) and “no film” (film does not exist). On the one hand, my thesis argues that film does not have an independent and inherent quality to enable itself to exist in its own right, but on the other hand, because audiences’ sense organs and sense consciousness together make the manifestation of film possible, it follows that film is not absolute nothingness. The framework of film Buddhology that I outline in my thesis is threefold. First, I will summarise some traditional approaches to and concepts in film ontology, such as phenomenology, realism, and cognitivism, in order to consider how other theorists analyse the nature of film. Second, I will put these theories into dialogue with Buddhist discussions concerning the association between phenomena and the mind in the context of film ontology, and examine the relation between film and the viewer’s act of experiencing film. Moreover, I will explain how the mind and its several subideas are selected from among many Buddhist sources. Third, I apply my ideas to specific case studies where each chosen film indicates a specific type of filmmaking. The selected examples are Michelangelo Antonioni’s art film Blow-up (1966), Hollis Frampton’s experimental film Zorns Lemma (1970), Abbas Kiarostami’s docufiction Through the Olive Trees (1994), and William Wyler’s classical Hollywood film The Best Years of Our Lives (1946). A Buddhist perspective on these films will trigger discussions about nominal images, nominal montage, nominal voices, and nominal deep-focus shots—manifold paths to the applicability of nominal film beyond any types of films.

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Published date: June 2022

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 467320
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/467320
PURE UUID: bb152135-c2bc-40c9-827a-ea25444a1ebd
ORCID for Tim Bergfelder: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-6585-6123

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 06 Jul 2022 16:30
Last modified: 07 Jul 2022 01:36

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Contributors

Author: Ao Chen
Thesis advisor: Malcolm Cook
Thesis advisor: Tim Bergfelder ORCID iD
Thesis advisor: Elizabeth Carroll

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