‘Deleuze’s Three Syntheses Go to Hollywood: The Tripartite Cinema of Time Travel, Many Worlds and Altered States’

Volume 23, Issue 3, October 2019

Edinburgh University Press

What is called “time travel” cinema is but one aspect in a tripartite series of interweaving modes of disjunctive narration which is also – simultaneously – a cinema of “many worlds” and “altered states”.

Exploiting Gilles Deleuze’s three syntheses of time, space, and consciousness from Difference and Repetition (1968) allows a conceptual development of these cinematic series through three popular Hollywood film cycles beginning with Planet of the Apes (Franklin J. Schaffner, 1968), The Terminator (James Cameron, 1984), and Back to the Future (Robert Zemeckis, 1985).

In so doing, film and philosophy are deployed as two series which together create inexhaustible atemporal, aspatial, and ahuman disjunctions, ungrounding everyday spatio-temporal identities, and affirming productive images of cinematic thought.

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Shortlisted for the Film-Philosophy Annual Article Award 2020