This talk explores the ontological politics of the image in Tamil cinema. Its focus is a particular scene from the 2011 film "Mankatha" (dir. Venkat Prabhu) in which the protagonist, played by the “mass hero” Ajith Kumar, is slapped by a character played by the actor Vaibhav Reddy. Taking the screen image not simply as diegetic representation but as performative act unto itself, Ajith fans were enraged at Vaibhav. In reflecting on this scene, its making, and its uptake, Nakassis shows how multiple ontological and political claims on what an image is intersect in and manifest in and as this image-act. This multiplicity, Nakassis argues, opens up a space to think with and against arguments by André Bazin and others about “the” ontology of the film image.
Constantine V. Nakassis is Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Associate Faculty of Cinema and Media Studies at the University of Chicago.
Reception to follow. Childcare will be provided.
Free and open to the public.
Sponsored by the Center for Humanistic Inquiry at Amherst College.