Philosophy + Literature Workshop: Robert Pippin

Tue April 16th 2024, 6:15 - 7:45pm PDT
Event Sponsor
Division of Literatures, Cultures, and Languages
Philosophy and Literature at Stanford
Building 260, Pigott Hall
450 Jane Stanford Way, Building 260, Stanford, CA 94305
Rm 252, German Library

The Philosophy + Literature Focal Group welcomes Robert Pippin (Professor of Philosophy, University of Chicago) for a workshop titled “Atmosphere as World in Robert Bresson's Pickpocket”.

Robert Bresson’s 1959 film, Pickpocket, is often chosen by cineastes as his most quintessentially typical film. All the major stylistic elements that make his films so instantly recognizable are present in uncompromising force. No professional actors and no real acting; hence minimal expressivity and a de-psychologization of the presentation of character, sometimes to an almost automaton level; little if any reference to characters’ intentions as explanations of actions, and indeed little evidence of reflective self-awareness. The claim in Pippin's work is that the questions raised by the unconventional formal stylistic innovations are questions about how Bresson thinks we come to “understand” what we are seeing, in what ways a film can be said to register make some sort of impression on us. It is easy enough to follow the plot, understand the characters’ minimal accounts of themselves to each other, but we are also being invited to consider what sense Michel’s life, his mode of being, makes. And, as with other films, the question of making some sense of Michel and his fate must include the context, the socio-historical post-war Parisian world. How the film deals with the issues of understanding and world are the main topics.