Scalar Aesthetics of Ecocinema: The Wall and The Survivalist


This article concentrates on two twenty-first century examples of popular ‘ecocinema’ in order to ask what moving images accomplish when they take on the scale effects of the Anthropocene at the level of the domestic microcosm. Both Julian Pölsler’s The Wall (2012) and Stephen Fingleton’s The Survivalist (2015) provide ample territory through which to explore questions of cohabitation and encounter, human and non-human animality, as well as the threatening but liberating qualities associated with communicating disaster, sustainability, and responsibility for ‘end times’. Significantly, spatial and temporal delimitation is a theme common to both films and so a theoretical framework is established using examples of twentieth-century Continental Philosophy associated with the concept of ‘dwelling’. Heidegger’s investment in rootedness and belonging is read in conjunction with Levinas’s ethics of relationality and otherness; Derrida’s study of hostility embedded in hospitality and the spatial category of the ‘threshold’ are of equal importance to my analysis. Not to be ignored is the eco-feminist stance that each film demands in surprisingly similar ways. Accordingly, the more recent work of Haraway and others is paramount.

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