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War and Cinema: Logistics of Perception Hardcover – 18 May 1989

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 170 pages
  • Publisher: Verso Books (18 May 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0860912140
  • ISBN-13: 978-0860912149
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 15 x 1.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,922,454 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


One of the most original thinkers of our time. --Liberation --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Paul Virilio studied philosophy at the Sorbonne and trained as an artist in stained glass. In 1975, he was made director of the Ecole Speciale d'Architecture in Paris. His many books include The Information Bomb and Open Sky, both from Verso. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Martin White on 8 Mar 2010
Format: Paperback
This book is about the interrelated technological developments of war and cinema, how they have been driven by the military imperative of needing to represent the battlefield in order to make operational decisions.

The battlefield is a field of perception for the general and weapons are tools of perception. Nothing now distinguishes the function of the weapon and the function of the eye: observation and destruction develop at the same pace. The soldier's 'obscene gaze' patterns the chaos of vision in particular ways, orders everything. Yet this is done at a distance so that more often than not the enemy is invisible and all that is seen is the image; so there's a 'disintegration of the warrior's personality' - the pilot's experience is of being cocooned in the cockpit surrounded by displays. Nothing is real; battle is indistinguishable from training.

Virilio charts the osmosis between industrialised warfare and photography/cinema. The need to see a distant enemy spurred the research and development. He provides many interesting examples of common cinematographic techniques and how, in the early years, several directors and cameramen also worked in the military sphere. There was a need to record and film war and this process has been unstoppable, from aerial balloon photography to satellites. It is also a matter of a wider cultural spillover, however, for he refers to the picture palaces of the 1930s as cinema-cathedrals of the military state and to dictators as film directors. Above all, these changes over the past century have also changed the way we perceive the world, foreshortened and pre-ordered everything.

A fascinating book which makes one think. Full of little gems of information and observation.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 1 review
14 of 23 people found the following review helpful
a short parallel history of war and cinema 11 Oct 1997
By rotbard@netvision.net.il - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
War and Cinema, violence and spectacle. Hitler watching "Gone with the Wind" with Lenni Reifenstahl and Albert Speer. A brilliant study full of intuition on the development of war technologies in 20th century and the way they were influencing and influenced by vision and perception technologies.
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