Affective modes; and other overlaps in film and ecocritical theory

Nicole, your focus on the “less serious affective modes–and lack therefore–in ecocinema,”  I think is a timely and valuable one that ecocinema will definitely benefit from. I say this specifically having just re-read Garrard’s “Ecocritical Theory” and During and Levitt’s “Film Theory” recaps (on reading list).  Garrard’s tone endorses a lighter mode, and Levitt’s section is all about spectatorship and affect, though as is quite apparent from the books she reviews there’s little discussion of genres of films geared to “less serious affective modes” in the reviewed recent scholarship.

That said, I’m assuming you’ve had a chance to read Arlene Plevin’s “Home Everywhere and the Injured Body of the World: The Subversive Humor of Blue Vinyl.”( Ed. Rachel Stein. New Perspectives on Environmental Justice. Newark, NJ: The State University of New Jersey, 2004. 225-239.)  This is one article that came to mind when thinking of risk and humor in ecocinema.

On a somewhat related but different note, I’m curious to hear if the various references Levitt cites in Film Theory are ones that might also be useful when thinking of affect as it pertains to ecocinema.  There’s just one explicitly ecocritical reference, Patrick MacCormack’s “An Ethics of Spectatorship: Love, Death, and Cinema” (see p. 34; web version) mentioned by Levitt but there seem to be multiple places where ecocriticism can make inroads as themes such as cinematic bodies, questions of agency and ethics are quite apparent and distinctly pertinent to many ecocritics. I was also intrigued by During’s review of Adam Sitney’s Visionary Film, which conjures up many of literary ecocritics favorites in its focus on American avant garde film as Emersonian.

I’m also still mulling over the various themes Garrard suggests are manifest in contemporary ecocritical theory (and looking forward to comparing them with the various themes recently outlined in the ISLE 2010 autumn issue, which unfortunately is not on our reading list).  Garrard references film and ecomedia throughout his article, putting cinema squarely in the realm of ecocriticism (rightly so), and he also critiques Ivakhiv’s ISLE article (also one of our readings) more explicitly.   I wonder what seminar participants make of this critique; especially the cautionary note to avoid “old Gods” of philosophical theory.  Ivakhiv draws from many theorists familiar to film scholars, and Garrard’s critique seems to raise an interesting question for scholars working at the intersections of film and ecocritical scholarship.  Thoughts?  From Nicole and other participants?  Looking forward to exploring the readings and hearing your ideas.