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The Desiring-ImageGilles Deleuze and Contemporary Queer Cinema$
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Nick Davis

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199993161

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199993161.001.0001

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Theses on a Philosophy of Queer History

Theses on a Philosophy of Queer History

Velvet Goldmine

(p.206) 6 Theses on a Philosophy of Queer History
The Desiring-Image

Nick Davis

Oxford University Press

Todd Haynes’s Velvet Goldmine (1998) triply encapsulates the productive potentials of a Deleuzian queer cinema. First, in combining elements of Deleuze’s prewar movement-image and postwar time-image, Goldmine integrates the historical and political sensibilities behind those concepts: a belief in the possibility of global progress plus a pervasive disenchantment with that prospect. Second, Goldmine conveys this tension as both a universal quandary and a site of particular investment for queer people, whose apocalyptic confrontation with AIDS lends specific, unspoken resonance to the film’s temporal fissures and dolorous affect. Third, via the prism of glam rock, Goldmine subjects performative tropes so privileged in queer theory and cinema of the 1990s to dialectical critique, seeking different orientations, alliances, and stylistic modes that might help “change the world.” Ultimately, Velvet Goldmine’s survey of historical wreckage, simultaneously Deleuzian and Benjaminian, yields visions of the past and future that glimmer with fragile, coalitional possibility.

Keywords:   Todd Haynes, Velvet Goldmine, New Queer Cinema, Gilles Deleuze, Walter Benjamin, dialectics, performativity, Cinema 1, Cinema 2, Citizen Kane

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