Toward Cinema and Its Double brings together Laleen Jayamanne’s discussions of Australian films, Sri Lankan films, European art films, silent film comedy, contemporary American films, and her own films. While some of her essays are based on formal film analysis, others include more theoretically based ways of considering films. In her studies, Jayamanne employs Walter Benjamin’s and Theodor Adorno’s concept of mimesis, and Gilles Deleuze’s theses on cinematic time and movement as tools for thinking about the cinematic experience in new ways.
Toward Cinema and Its Double addresses a number of issues that have been crucial areas of contention in film studies over the last 20 years—from the role of women both in front of and behind the camera, to the position of the postcolonial subject. Jayamanne demonstrates how arguments over these issues might be inflected in specific ways by specific practices in specific films. In addition, she places all these particularities in time—the time of the critic as well as that of the filmmaker. This collection contains work done over a span of 20 years, and rather than try to efface this time of writing by (re)presenting everything from a single, achieved final viewpoint, it demonstrates the way Jayamanne’s own thoughts about film in general, and the various films discussed, have changed over the course of time.