Film has taken a powerful position alongside the global environmental movement, from didactic documentaries to the fantasy pleasures of commercial franchises. This book investigates in particular film’s complex role in representing ecological traumas. Eco-trauma cinema represents the harm we, as humans, inflict upon our natural surroundings, or the injuries we sustain from nature in its unforgiving iterations. The term encompasses both circumstances because these seemingly distinct instances of ecological harm are often related, and even symbiotic: the traumas we perpetuate in an ecosystem through pollution and unsustainable resource management inevitably return to harm us.
Contributors to this volume engage with eco-trauma cinema in its three general forms: accounts of people who are traumatized by the natural world, narratives that represent people or social processes which traumatize the environment or its species, and stories that depict the aftermath of ecological catastrophe. The films they examine represent a central challenge of our age: to overcome our disavowal of environmental crises, to reflect on the unsavoury forces reshaping the planet's ecosystems, and to restructure the mechanisms responsible for the state of the earth.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Eco-Trauma Cinema Anil Narine 1. Evolution, Extinction and the Eco-trauma Film: Darwin’s Nightmare (2004) and A Zed & Two Naughts (1986) Barbara Creed 2. Trauma, Truth, and the Environmental Documentary Charles Musser 3. Great Southern Wounds: The Trauma of Australian Cinema Mark Steven 4. Into the Wilde?: Art, Technologically-Mediated Kinship, and the Lethal Indifference of Nature in Werner Herzog’s Grizzly Man Alf Seegert 5. The Dangers of Bio-security: The Host (2006) and the Geopolitics of Outbreak Hsuan L. Hsu 6. Biting Back: America, Nature and Feminism in Teeth Roland Finger 7. The Spirits of Globalization: Masochistic Ecologies in Fabrice du Welz’s Vinyan Georgiana Banita 8. Love in the Times of Ecocide: Environmental Trauma and Comic Relief in Andrew Stanton’s WALL-E Alexa Weik von Mossner 9. Eavesdropping in The Cove: Interspecies Ethics, Public and Private Space, and Trauma under Water Janet Walker 10. Cooling the Geopolitical to Warm the Ecological: How Human-Induced Warming Phenomena Transformed Modern Horror Christopher Justice 11. Toxic Media: On the Ecological Impact of Cinema Sean Cubitt
Anil Narine is a junior faculty member in the Department of Visual Studies and the Institute of Communication, Culture, Information and Technology at the University of Toronto. In 2008 he was a visiting research student in the School of History of Art, Film, and Visual Media, at Birkbeck College, University of London, and in 2011-2012 he was a Postdoctoral Fellow in Film at Columbia University. His research examines network theory and trauma theory in the context of globalization and thickening global connections. His publications appear in Communication, Culture & Critique, Critical Studies in Media Communication, the Journal of American Studies, Americana, Memory Studies and Theory, Culture & Society.