Creating Creatures: Dumont and the metaphysics of evil
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Since the late 1990s Bruno Dumont has produced six feature films, approximately one every three years. His cinema has been highly praised and is recognized by Martine Beugnet, in Cinema and Sensation, as exemplary of a new cinema that radically challenges the understanding of cinematic affect: a cinema of sensibility rather than sense. Dumont was himself a philosopher, now turned filmmaker, though this is not the particular axis or focus for this paper. Rather, what is particularly challenging in his cinema is a fundamental concern with evil, a concern that does not moralize, that does not condemn, that does not even ask for an account of or economy of evil. I want to explore this cinema that shows the human essentially as a be-coming ‘longing’, a be-longing to being as that which comes not to a particular time or a particular language, to an articulation of its existence, but rather shows a coming to temporality, to the possibility of being-in ‘time’ and to an opening to ‘language’, to the word as the becoming it-self of the existent. In this I want to engage a reading of Schelling’s Treatise on the Essence of Human Freedom, and a particularly Heideggerian reading of this treatise as a “metaphysics of evil,” wherein, for Schelling, evil in its actuality, in its existing, is necessary for human freedom.