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Politics, Theory, and FilmCritical Encounters with Lars von Trier$
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Bonnie Honig and Lori J. Marso

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190600181

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190600181.001.0001

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A Philopoetic Engagement

A Philopoetic Engagement

Deleuze and The Element of Crime

(p.266) 12 A Philopoetic Engagement
Politics, Theory, and Film

Michael J. Shapiro

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the philosophic “elements” underlying the film The Element of Crime (1984). In particular, the analysis relies on two concepts of the “element.” For von Trier, “element” refers primarily to natural elements, given the scenes pervaded by water and sand (earth). However, in this reading, “element” is treated as a philosophical concept as well, echoing Kant’s transcendental subjectivity (an elemental subjectivity). In addition, this analysis also draws on Nietzsche’s concept of truth as metaphorically imposed to treat the primary natural “elements” in play in the film as figurations meant to shape inferences about subjects, places, and the historical moment.

Keywords:   The Element of Crime, Gilles Deleuze, Immanuel Kant, Friedrich Nietzsche, natural elements, transcendental subjectivity, elemental subjectivity

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