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School of Languages, Linguistics and Film

Dr Libby Saxton, BA, MPhil, PhD


Senior Lecturer in Film Studies

Telephone: +44 (0)20 7882 8328
Room Number: Arts One 1.05


Much of my research has focused on legacies of genocide and atrocity in cinema and situated this medium in relation to philosophical ethics and critiques and defences of the image. My first book, Haunted Images (Wallflower, 2008), reconsiders filmic and video responses to the Holocaust, including Shoah (Claude Lanzmann, 1985) and a section of Histoire(s) du cinéma (Jean-Luc Godard, 1988-98), in the light of recent new debate in France about photographs and pieces of footage as witnesses to the camps.

I went on to publish articles on overlapping aftermaths of the Holocaust and other instances of political violence in contemporary cinema, and co-edited Holocaust Intersections (Legenda, 2013), on genocide in twenty-first-century visual culture, with Axel Bangert and Robert Gordon.

A second strand of research links my contribution to Film and Ethics (Routledge, 2010), co-authored with Lisa Downing, which teases out the implicit ethics of canonical strands of film theory and reviews specific films through poststructuralist philosophical lenses, to my more recent work on the ethico-politics of gesture.

I am currently finishing a monograph titled ‘No Power Without an Image’: Iconicity Between Photography and Cinema, which evolved out of a collaboration with colleagues in the School of Languages, Linguistics and Film on the theme of iconic camera images. I welcome PhD proposals in fields related to these interests.


FLM003 What is Cinema? Critical Approaches

FLM508 Memories of the Holocaust and Colonialism in French Cinema

FLM6207 Film and Ethics

FLM6202 Film Studies Research Project

SMLM035 MA in Film Studies Core Course

Current PhD supervision

Isabel Rocamora: ‘Cinema and Heidegger: The Call to Being in Ozu, Antonioni and Tarr’ (external part supervisor to project based at Edinburgh University)

Alice Pember: ‘“In Her Hips are Revolutions”: The Dancing girl in Contemporary Cinema’, co-supervised with Dr. Lucy Bolton


Research Interests:

  • The relationship between photography and cinema
  • iconic images
  • film ethics
  • philosophical approaches to film
  • films about the Holocaust and colonialism


Forthcoming Publications

‘No Power Without an Image’: Iconicity Between Photography and Cinema

‘Mondzain, Ida and the Doubting Spectator’, Paragraph, special issue on religion in contemporary thought and film, co-ed. with Anat Pick (forthcoming, 2019)


Books and edited works

Holocaust Intersections: Genocide and Visual Culture at the New Millennium, co-ed. with Axel Bangert and Robert S. C. Gordon (Legenda, 2013)

Film and Ethics: Foreclosed Encounters, co-authored with Lisa Downing (Routledge, 2010)

Haunted Images: Film, Ethics, Testimony and the Holocaust (Wallflower, 2008)

Seeing Things: Vision, Perception and Interpretation in French Studies, co-ed. with Simon Kemp (Peter Lang AG, 2002)

Selected articles and book chapters

‘The Falling Soldier and Film’, Screen, 57:3, 2016

Passion, Agamben and the Gestures of Work’, in Cinema and Agamben: Ethics, Biopolitics and the Moving Image, ed. by Henrik Gustafsson and Asbjørn Grønstad (Bloomsbury Academic, 2014)

‘Between God and the Machine: Buñuel’s Cine-Miracles’, in A Companion to Luis Buñuel, ed. by Rob Stone and Julián Daniel Gutiérrez-Albilla (Wiley-Blackwell, 2013)

‘Terms of Engagement: Algeria, France and the Middle East in Barbet Schroeder’s L’Avocat de la terreur and Philippe Faucon’s Dans la vie’, Modern and Contemporary France, special issue ‘France and Algeria in Contemporary Visual Culture’, ed. by Joseph McGonagle and Edward Welch, 19:2, May 2011

Night and Fog and the Concentrationary Gaze’, in Concentrationary Cinema: Aesthetics as Political Resistance in Alain Resnais’s ‘Night and Fog’, ed. by Maxim Silverman and Griselda Pollock (Berghahn, 2011)

‘Holocaust Writing and Film’, in Cambridge History of French Literature, ed. by William Burgwinkle, Nicholas Hammond and Emma Wilson (Cambridge University Press, 2011)

‘Horror By Analogy: Paradigmatic Aesthetics in Nicolas Klotz’s and Elisabeth Perceval’s La Question humaine’, Yale French Studies, special issue ‘Noeuds de mémoire: Multidirectional Memory in Postwar French and Francophone Culture’, ed. by Michael Rothberg, Debarati Sanyal and Max Silverman, 118/119, 2010

‘Close Encounters with Distant Suffering: Michael Haneke’s Disarming Visions’, in Auteurism from Assayas to Ozon: Five Directors, ed. by Kate Ince (Manchester University Press, 2008)

‘History, Memory, Fiction in French Cinema’, in Teaching Holocaust Literature and Film, ed. by Robert Eaglestone and Barry Langford (Palgrave Macmillan, 2008)

‘Fragile Faces: Levinas and Lanzmann’, Film-Philosophy, special issue ‘The Occluded Relation: Levinas and Cinema’, ed. by Sarah Cooper, 11:2, August 2007 []

‘Secrets and Revelations: Off-screen Space in Michael Haneke’s Caché’, Studies in French Cinema, 7:i, January 2007

Anamnesis and Bearing Witness’, in For Ever Godard: The Work of Jean-Luc Godard 1950–2000, ed. by Michael Temple, James S. Williams, and Michael Witt (Black Dog, 2004)

‘Anamnésis: Godard/Lanzmann’, Trafic, 47,Autumn 2003 (Hebrew translation published in journal Mita’am)