Narrative Outbreak in Contemporary Conflict Cinema: A Case Study of Steve McQueen’s Hunger

  • Alessandro Zir


The actual thrust of a conflict movie such as Steve McQueen’s Hunger (IE, GB, 2008) is not a political narrative or counter-narrative, but the structural tension in a series of intense, harsh and aggressive sounds followed by silence. In Hunger we see a process of emancipation of indicial (visual and audio) elements in relation to their narrative function. The process is a deconstruction—an outbreak against the conceptual unity of the movie, which enables the emergence of fragmentary, non-subjective ontological issues that are fundamental to aesthetic experience beyond its merely psychological and social dimensions. The essay starts with a theoretical discussion relying on authors such as Gilles Deleuze, André Bazin and Michel Chion, and shows the relevance of this deconstructive ontological perspective to cinema studies.


Sugary Water Prison Officer Visual Culture Hunger Strike Aesthetic Issue 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Adorno, T. W. (2002). Essays on music. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  2. Barthes, R. (1980). La chambre claire. Note sur la photographie. Paris: Gallimard.Google Scholar
  3. Bazin, A. (2011). Qu’est-ce le cinema? Paris: Éditions du Cerf.Google Scholar
  4. Benveniste, E. (1966). Problèmes de linguistique générale, I. Paris: Gallimard.Google Scholar
  5. Blanchot, M. (1982). La bête de Lascaux. Paris: Fata Morgana.Google Scholar
  6. Chion, M. (2010). Le son. Traité d’acoulogie. Paris: Armand Colin.Google Scholar
  7. Chion, M. (2011). L’audio-vision: son et image au cinema. Paris: Armand Colin.Google Scholar
  8. Deleuze, G. (1983). Cinéma 1: L’Image mouvement. Paris: Les Éditions de Minuit.Google Scholar
  9. Derrida, J. (1967). Grammatologie. Paris: Éditions du Seuil.Google Scholar
  10. Dikovistkaya, M. (2006). Visual culture. The study of the visual after the cultural turn. Cambridge: The MIT Press.Google Scholar
  11. Eco, U. (1997). Semiotica e filosofia del linguaggio. Turin: Einaudi.Google Scholar
  12. Fónagy, I. (1983). La vive voix. Essais de psycho-phonétique. Paris: Payot.Google Scholar
  13. Frascina, F. (1994). Realism and ideology: An introduction to semiotics and cubism. In C. Harrison, F. Frascina, & G. Perry (Eds.), Primitivism, cubism, abstraction. The early twentieth century (pp. 87–183). Yale: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  14. Harrison, C. (1994). Abstraction. In C. Harrison, F. Frascina, & G. Perry (Eds.), Primitivism, cubism, abstraction. The early twentieth century (pp. 184–262). Yale: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  15. Heidegger, M. (1961). Nietzsche. Pfullingen: Günther Neske.Google Scholar
  16. Heidegger, M. (1991). Kant und das Problem der Metaphysik. Vittorio Klostermann: Frankfurt am Main.Google Scholar
  17. Jay, M. (2002). Cultural relativism and the visual turn. Journal of Visual Culture, 1(3), 267–278.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Kristeva, J. (1974). La revolution du langage poétique. L’avant-garde à la fin du XIX e siècle: Lautréamont et Mallarmé. Paris: Éditions du Seuil.Google Scholar
  19. Latour, B. (1990). Postmodern? No, Simply Amodern! Steps towards an anthropology of science. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science, 21(1), 45–171.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Mitchell, W. J. T. (1987). Iconology. Image, text, ideology. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  21. Nancy, J. (2001). L´Évidence du film. Abbas Kiarostami. Brussels: Yves Gevaert Éditeur.Google Scholar
  22. Rees, A. L. (1997). Avant-Garde Film: the second wave. In G. Nowell-Smith (Ed.), The Oxford history of world cinema. London: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  23. Roberts, J. (1988). German philosophy. Atlantic Highlands: Humanities Press International.Google Scholar
  24. Stiegler, B. (1994). La technique et le temps: la faute d’Épiméthée. Paris: Gallimard.Google Scholar
  25. Stremmel, K. (2006). Realism. Cologne: Taschen.Google Scholar


  1. McQueen, S. (dir.) (2008). Hunger, Film4, Channel Four Film, Northern Ireland Screen.Google Scholar
  2. McQueen, S. (dir.) (2011). Shame, See-Saw Films, Film4, UK Film Council.Google Scholar
  3. Scott, R. (dir.) (1979). Alien, Brandywine Productions, Twentieth Century-Fox Productions.Google Scholar
  4. Skogland, K. (dir.) (2008). Fifty Dead Men Walking, Handmade International, Future Films, Brightlight Pictures.Google Scholar
  5. Welles, O. (dir.) (1942). The Magnificent Ambersons. Mercury Productions.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Editors (if applicable) and the Authors 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alessandro Zir
    • 1
  1. 1.Universidade Católica de PelotasPelotasBrazil

Personalised recommendations