Interdisciplinary Studies Ph.D. Dissertations


Using Deleuze: The Cinema Books, Film Studies and Effect

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


Interdisciplinary Studies

First Advisor

Cynthia Baron (Advisor)


Since their publication, Deleuze’s Cinema 1: The Movement-Image (French 1983, English 1986) and Cinema 2: The Time-Image (French 1985, English 1989) have held a precarious position in Anglophone film studies. The difficulties of the cinema books are pointed out by many, a broad range of complaints have been leveled against them, and their usefulness has been widely questioned. There has, however, been an increase in interest in the cinema books among Anglophone film scholars over the last few years. Still, many of the "complaints" and "concerns" about the cinema books remain. A guiding principal of this dissertation is to provide a "way in" to Deleuze’s work in the cinema books, or a key to assist in unlocking and unpacking Deleuze’s cinema project. To this end, I have analyzed Deleuze’s approach in the cinema books, their style, methodology, rationale and theoretical framework, utilizing Theodor Adorno’s concept of "parataxis" because I believe it illuminates his metaphysics. I have also explicated key elements of Deleuze’s Bergson-inspired metaphysics, concentrating on what I feel are fundamental aspects that aid in a clarification of "movement-images" and "time-images." A key concept that I utilized in this endeavor is Deleuze’s "crystal-image" because I maintain that the characteristics of crystal-images are the very foundation of all time-images. I endeavored to "fill in the gaps" in Deleuze’s cinema books by making connections between concepts that may not be apparent, addressing elisions in the cinema books as well as the current body of scholarly work on them. I utilized examples from contemporary films to illustrate Deleuze’s concepts, particularly Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings film trilogy (2001-2003). I demonstrated how certain Deleuze terms can be used in film criticism and provided evidence that Deleuze’s work represents an alternative to theoretical models used in film studies, specifically presenting that Deleuze’s ideas about time-images can suggest new ways to think about the affective qualities of films. Finally, I addressed aspects of the cinema books in regards to their relationship (or non-relationship) to various disciplines and schools of both classical and contemporary film studies.