This essay explores the aesthetic and material force of landscape in cinema, an entity that has long been considered an index of localized climates. I adopt a transmedial and triangulated approach to cinematic landscape as filmed image, as circulating imaginary, and as the physical ground of film production. I argue that cinema reveals, in the scene of production, a mutual exertion of spatial influence and the co-production of aesthetic-material meaning by multiple human and nonhuman actants. The polyphonous relationship of landscape and cinema allows me to complicate climate and Anthropocene abstractions with situated histories of desire, dispossession, circulation, and collaboration.
The Aesthetic and Material Force of Landscape in Cinema: Mediating Meaning from the Scene of Production
Debashree Mukherjee is Associate Professor of Film and Media in the Department of Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies (MESAAS) at Columbia University in New York. Her first academic monograph, Bombay Hustle: Making Movies in a Colonial City (Columbia University Press, 2020), approaches film history as an ecology of material practice and practi-tioners. In her new research she is developing a media history of indenture and South-South migrations, spanning photography, communications infrastructures, and film traffic. Mukherjee edits the peer-reviewed journal BioScope: South Asian Screen Studies and has published in journals such as Film History and Feminist Media Histories.
Debashree Mukherjee; The Aesthetic and Material Force of Landscape in Cinema: Mediating Meaning from the Scene of Production. Representations 1 February 2022; 157 (1): 115–141. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/rep.2022.157.6.115
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