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Screening the Unwatchable

Professor Asbjørn Grønstad's book Screening the Unwatchable traces the rise of extreme art cinema across a range of films from Lars von Trier's The Idiots to Michael Haneke's Caché. Screening the Unwatchable is published by Palgrave.

Screening the Unwatchable traces the rise of extreme art cinema across a range of films from Lars von Trier's The Idiots to Michael Haneke's Caché. Reviving the debate about the role of negation and aesthetics, the book argues that the recent turn in contemporary art cinema toward transgressive subjects provides a unique opportunity to reframe the concept of spectatorship in ethical terms. A key insight offered is that the gravitation toward previously taboo topics betrays an attempt to portray issues involving the body, sexuality and gender in a more truthful manner. At the same time, these films also seem to push the limits of representation to an unprecedented level, provoking feelings of discomfort and disorientation in the spectator. Asbjørn Grønstad  explains why such disturbing experiences may still convey values essential to our shared visual culture.

Asbjørn Grønstad is professor at the Department of Information Science and Media Studies, and leader of the Nomadikon project.

Screening the Unwatchable - Spaces of Negation in Post-Millennial Art Cinema - Asbjørn Grønstad - ISBN 978-0-230-24894-6 - Palgrave Macmillan