Untamed Storms: Cinema’s Oceanic Contingency and Mati Diop’s Atlantics

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review


<jats:title>Abstract</jats:title><jats:p>The ocean, for Jean Epstein, figures the disruption that the cinematograph offers for human perception, presenting a nonhuman view on the world. This article will critically engage with Epstein’s writings on water to reflect on Mati Diop’s <jats:italic>Atlantics</jats:italic> (2019) and its particular conception of the oceanic. <jats:italic>Atlantics</jats:italic> positions the ocean within the perspectives of its filmic subjects but also in excess of them. This perspectival nature of the oceanic speaks to a liminal space between male and female, living and dead, human and nonhuman, which mirrors contemporary debates within Black studies around the exclusion of Blackness from the normative category of the human: the contingency of the definition of humanity based on racial exclusion. As a result, it is not only the nonhuman perspective that the ocean provides in <jats:italic>Atlantics</jats:italic>, but a spectral haunting of those deemed other than human by global capitalism, which disrupts, as a queer prophecy, the veneer of necessity that the neocolonial order requires to sustain itself.</jats:p>
Original languageEnglish
JournalStudies in World Cinema
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jul 2023


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