The Justice of Images: Between Derrida and Nancy

Laura McMahon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Jacques Derrida's Échographies de la télévision (1996) and Jean-Luc Nancy's L'Évidence du film (2001) mark two instances of philosophical reflection upon the ways in which cinema might be seen to do justice to worldly existence. Yet, in articulating a cinematic ethics of the look, Derrida and Nancy configure film's relation to justice in significantly different ways. This article traces these points of intersection and divergence both in relation to their responses to film (Nancy on Abbas Kiarostami; Derrida on Ken McMullen's Ghost Dance (1983)) and against the background of a range of broader ethical and political issues raised by Derrida and Nancy—issues of the singular and the common, of restitution and non-return, of fidelity and the promise. Drawing on these reflections, the article explores notions of existence, incalculability and justice in Arnaud des Pallières's Adieu (2003) (a film on which Nancy has written a commentary). Yet whilst this allows for the elaboration of points of contact between Nancy's ontology and Derrida's hauntology, Adieu also gestures to the way in which cinema exceeds philosophy, by articulating a space of justice between being and non-being, between Nancean sharing and Derridean spectrality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalModern and Contemporary France
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2011


Dive into the research topics of 'The Justice of Images: Between Derrida and Nancy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this