Unwinding the anthropological machine: animality, film and Arnaud des Pallières

Laura McMahon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


This article explores what cinema can contribute to recent philosophical engagements with animality and what the work of contemporary French filmmaker Arnaud des Pallières in particular can bring to debates around the zoomorphic or ‘creaturely’ dimensions of film. Examining two works by des Pallières¿—¿the documentary Is Dead (Incomplete Portrait of Gertrude Stein) (1999) and the feature-length film Adieu (2003)¿—¿and drawing principally on the work of Jacques Derrida, the article attends to cinematic, historically-framed configurations of a shared vulnerability between the human and the animal. Such instances of commonality are shown here to unravel hierarchical taxonomies of being, in a rethinking of the ethics and politics of responsibility. These nonanthropocentric modes of cinematic inquiry also engage with issues of minerality and technicity, animating correspondences between forms of life and nonlife, philosophically broadening a consideration of relations between the human and the nonhuman.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)373-388
Number of pages16
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2012


  • animal
  • cinema
  • cross-species commonality
  • Jacques Derrida
  • Arnaud des Pallieres


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