In Paris, a static video camera keeps watch on a bourgeois home. In Portland, a webcam documents the torture and murder of kidnap victims. And in clandestine intelligence offices around the world, satellite technologies relentlessly pursue the targets of global conspiracies. Such plots represent only a fraction of the surveillance narratives that have become commonplace in recent cinema.
Catherine Zimmer examines how technology and ideology have come together in cinematic form to play a functional role in the politics of surveillance. Drawing on the growing field of surveillance studies and the politics of contemporary monitoring practices, she demonstrates that screen narrative has served to organize political, racial, affective, and even material formations around and through surveillance. She considers how popular culture forms are intertwined with the current political landscape in which the imagery of anxiety, suspicion, war, and torture has become part of daily life. From Enemy of the State and The Bourne Series to Saw, Caché and Zero Dark Thirty, Surveillance Cinema explores in detail the narrative tropes and stylistic practices that characterize contemporary films and television series about surveillance.
“Catherine Zimmer’s excellent study explores the unstable boundary between the real world and the screen, tracing the ways that digital technologies not only echo and reinforce the hegemonies of our age but have the capacity, in cinematic form, to problematise and undermine them. This has profound implications, she argues, for how we think about temporality, the political sphere and subject formations, as surveillance culture constructs a self-regarding “networked” self that exists on the permeable boundary between individuated private selfhood and the matrices of public, social and political power; ideologically interpellated and technologically penetrated at every turn.”— Linnie Blake, Times Higher Education, 13th August 2015
Catherine Zimmer offers a generative analysis of surveillance as aesthetic and structuring logic....an exciting project that will surely open doors in critical examinations of surveillance, popular culture, and power.
Zimmers absorbing study zeroes in on the work of & surveillance cinemaher term for films in this modein the near present. Indeed, rather than focusing on the construction of an elaborate genealogy, Surveillance Cinematurns specifically to the & millennial surge in films and television series organized around and by surveillance technologies.
Catherine ZimmersSurveillance Cinemaexplores the increasing presence of surveillance narratives in tandem with the socio-political ideologies underpinning the proliferation and normalization of monitoring technologies.
Surveillance & Society
InSurveillance Cinema, Catherine Zimmer sets out to claim that our popular imagination of surveillanceconstructed by decades of espionage thrillers, police procedurals, and torture horror flicksserves to create and sustain the actual methods of surveillance that have come to encompass almost all cultural and social life.
Surveillance Cinemais a thorough, innovative project useful to scholars researching surveillance.
Surveillance Cinemapresents cutting-edge scholarship in the field of cinema studies in its reconceptualization of the centrality of surveillance to film narratives, subject formations, and temporalities. Smartly pushing beyond the critical models that have long been associated with surveillance in and outside of cinema, Zimmer makes a persuasive case for examining surveillance within historical and political contexts. An excellent book, both far-reaching and convincing in its claims,Surveillance Cinemais sure to become one of the central works in the emerging field of surveillance studies.-
Aviva Briefel,co-editor of Horror after 9/11: World of Fear, Cinema of Terror
[A] genuinely groundbreaking study. Timely, ideologically engaged and passionate in its critique both of contemporary geopolitics and the cinematic works that depict its sites of contestation, this is a book of significant interest to scholars in the fields of film studies and surveillance studiesand to those of us who are, quite justifiably, haunted by the sense that someone, somewhere is watching.
Times Higher Education