1st Edition

Experiments in Film and Philosophy

By Christopher Falzon Copyright 2024

    Christopher Falzon argues in this book for a new way of understanding film as philosophy. Inspired and informed by the work of Michel Foucault, Falzon shows how a motion picture can operate not simply as a thought experiment but as a form of experience-centred, experimental reflection. It is film’s ability to show viewers things that challenge their way of thinking, giving them experiences that can make them think differently, that gives the film its status as philosophy.

    Through these cinematic experiences, not only cultural norms and presuppositions but also cinematic conventions, and even established philosophical positions, can be interrogated and questioned. Experiments in Film and Philosophy explores three films in the light of this new way of thinking about philosophy and film: Jean-Luc Godard’s Breathless, Rubin Ötlund’s Force Majeure, and Jonathon Glazer’s Under the Skin.

    It will be of interest to advanced students and scholars interested in the current debates about the relationship between film and philosophy.


    1. Thought experiments                                                                                               

    2. Philosophical experiences                                                                                           

    3. Film and philosophical experience                                                 

    4. Objects of cinematic reflection

    5. Breathless – the experimental self      

    5. Force Majeure – the force of circumstances                                 

    7. Under the Skin – a sense of the other                                            

    8. Concluding remarks


    Christopher Falzon is a Visiting Fellow in Philosophy at the University of New South Wales, Australia. He is the author of Foucault and Social Dialogue: Beyond Fragmentation (Routledge, 1998), Philosophy Goes to the Movies, Third Edition (Routledge, 2014), and Ethics Goes to the Movies (Routledge, 2018); co-editor of Foucault and Philosophy (2010) and A Companion to Foucault (2013). 

    "Experiments in Film and Philosophy presents an innovative view of the relationship between film and philosophy by employing a Foucault-inspired notion of ‘historico-critical’ reflection.  According to Falzon, films present their viewers with philosophical experiences that free them from the hold of received notions. He shows how this works in illuminating interpretations of Breathless, Force Majeure, and Under the Skin.  Experiments in Film and Philosophy is essential reading for anyone interested in film, philosophy, and their relationship."
    Thomas E. Wartenberg, author of Thinking on Screen