The Intensive-Image in Deleuze’s Film-Philosophy

Cristóbal Escobar

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Introduces the concept of the "intensive-image" to develop a deeper understanding of the part played by intensity in the history of the cinematic image

  • The book develops the original concept of the intensive-image in order to open up a new and important understanding of the part played by intensity in the history of the cinematic image
  • Escobar explore the significance of the notion of intensity in Deleuze’s philosophy and the ways it can be used to think about cinematic intensity as such
  • The focus on the intensive-image inspires readers to reconsider Deleuze’s classification of cinema into two periods and two main types of images
  • The general argument is that the intensive-image breaks up Deleuze’s divide between classical and modern periods as well as linking these two periods to contemporary cinema through its own unique properties

This book argues that the intensive-image constitutes an important cinematic category that prompts a rethinking of Deleuze’s taxonomy of images in his Cinema 1: The Movement-Image and Cinema 2: The Time-Image. Escobar explores the proposition that the notion of intensity has the potential to change the way in which we think about Deleuze’s classification of films as signifying two separate periods, the classical period of the movement-image and the modern period of the time-image, thereby bringing them together and overcoming the separation that the philosopher creates. This book also explores the ways in which the intensive-image varies and differentiates itself from other images and the role it plays in contemporary cinema.


Section One: Re-thinking Deleuze’s Film-Philosophy

Chapter One. Towards the Intensification of the Cinema

Chapter Two. Luis Buñuel’s Nomadic Vision: Departures from an Originary World

Chapter Three. Human Infancy and the Language of Beginnings: The Wild Child and The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser

Chapter Four. In Between Modernities and the Contemporaneous

Section Two: The Politics and Poetics of the Intensive-Image in Contemporary Cinema

Chapter Five. Resistance in The Lobster: Mapping an Intensive-Image in Contemporary Popular Film

Chapter Six. Zama and the Method of Dramatization: From Di Benedetto’s Novel to Martel’s Film

Chapter Seven. What do Animals Teach Us About Intensity? On Sweetgrass and SEL’s Bodily Praxis  

Conclusion. The Passion of Intensity



Many "movement-image" films that have been thrust off the Deleuzian map contain diffuse flows and asynchronous intensities that expand like activated yeast. Escobar recognizes the creative power of these moments, identifying, with clear argument and acute analysis, a line of intensity that traverses all cinema.

Laura U. Marks, Simon Fraser University

Gilles Deleuze’s monumental cinema books privileged properties of movement and time, differentiating the classical from the modern. Cristóbal Escobar respectfully re-opens Deleuze’s books in order to emphasize a term that cuts across and unifies all these categories: intensity. His contribution is brilliant and radical, leading us to experience films anew.

Adrian Martin, Film Critic, Monash University
Cristóbal Escobar is a Lecturer in Screen Studies at the University of Melbourne, Film Programmer at FIDOCS and Co-Founder of the Screening Ideas program.

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