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Open Access Publications from the University of California

A New Grammar of Images: Werner Herzog and the Contemporary Philosophy of Cinema

  • Author(s): Lamme, David Michael
  • Advisor(s): Pan, David T.
  • et al.
Creative Commons 'BY-NC-ND' version 4.0 license

In his central mission of working on “a new grammar of images,” the German film director Werner Herzog presents a challenge to the philosophy of cinema. Pairing Herzog’s work with Deleuzian film theory, I argue against the prevalent secondary literature that Herzog’s oeuvre engages with an anti-romantic and non-ironic material philosophy in order to provide ethical challenges to a contemporary, connected world. Specifically focusing on spatiotemporal formations derived from empirical science, I demonstrate that Herzog’s approach to cinema utilizes a four-tiered semiotic that is at its core not merely a film theory, but rather an entire material philosophy of nature with profound ethical and political implications.

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