Contingency’s work: Kracauer’s theory of film and the trope of the accidental (New Formations 61, Summer 2007)

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Publication date: August 1, 2007

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Janet Harbord

Harbord suggests that the tropes of the contingent and the accidental are central to Kracauer’s thinking on cinema and modernism. The essay argues that in ‘Theory of Film’ (1960), Kracauer’s use of contingency prises open the bodily encounter with the image as it undergoes transformation. Thus, according to Harbord, the contingent is a fundamental indeterminacy at the heart of film, threatening relations between image and viewer.