Singular but Double-Entry: Paul Willemen’s Proposals for a Comparative Film Studies
M. Madhava PRASAD
ABSTRACT The essay is a critical appreciation of Paul Willemen’s proposals for a comparative film studies illustrated with examples from Indian film history. The suggestion that the universal history of capitalism is the common ground on which a comparative study could be located, and the related questions of value raised by Willemen in the chapters of a forthcoming book are considered here in relation to recent developments in Indian cinema. Willemen suggests a way to avoid the pitfalls of nationalist exceptionalism in cultural studies as well as an abstract universalism that neglects the specificity of capital’s presence in different regions of the world.
Keywords: Film studies; comparative studies; Indian cinema; Korean cinema; capitalism; culture
M. Madhava Prasad teaches film and cultural studies at the English and Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad. He is the author of Ideology of the Hindi Film: A Historical Construction (1998), Cine-politics:Film Stars and Political Existence in South India (Orient Blackswan, 2013), and numerous essays on culture, politics and society.