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Robert Pippin

Filmed Thought

Cinema as Reflective Form

University of Chicago Press 2020

New Books in Arts & LettersNew Books in FilmNew Books in Intellectual HistoryNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books Network June 11, 2020 Bill Schaffer

Robert Pippin‘s book Filmed Thought: Cinema as Reflective Form (University of Chicago Press, 2020) is a work in the philosophy of film published in 2020...

Robert Pippin‘s book Filmed Thought: Cinema as Reflective Form (University of Chicago Press, 2020) is a work in the philosophy of film published in 2020 by the University of Chicago Press. Each chapter in Filmed Thought treats a film in-depth, including works by Hitchcock, Ray, Malick, Sirk, Almodovar, Polanski, and the Dardenne brothers. The book is written in an accessible style that does not seize upon films as merely convenient illustrations of already established philosophical ideas. Instead, Pippin devotes as much energy to analysing the expressive capacities of cinema as he does to articulating the philosophical themes and questions of social context he sees reflected in each of the films treated. This gives his writing a delicacy and sensitivity that lovers of cinema may find surprising in a professional philosopher. Nonetheless, there are plenty of ideas worked through in the text, many inspired by Pippin’s reading of Hegel and Cavell, including the limits of moral judgement, the dimensions of cinematic irony, the critical possibilities of genre films, the relation between interiority and bodily expression, and the intriguing problem of ‘unknowingness’.

Robert Pippin is a philosopher known principally for his work in the area of German Idealism, particularly Hegel, although he has previously published widely in film-philosophy, including the Western genre, film noir, and Hitchcock.


Bill Schaffer is a lecturer in film studies. He is currently a scholar of no fixed institution.