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Apocalypse-Cinema2012 and Other Ends of the World$
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Peter Szendy

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780823264803

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823264803.001.0001

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Watchmen, or The Layering of the Cineworld

Watchmen, or The Layering of the Cineworld

(p.57) Chapter 8 Watchmen, or The Layering of the Cineworld

Peter Szendy

Fordham University Press

This chapter examines apocalypse-cinema as that structural moment of the film when it all, after all, strips [s'effeuille]. It considers this stripping or leafing by looking at Zack Snyder's Watchmen (2009). It focuses on the character Rorschach, whose face is almost always covered up with a piece of fabric on which forms and ink stains are constantly shifting and twisting as they pass from one into another in a permanent morphing. It suggests that against all the countdowns running toward the extinction of movement, Rorschach is the stubbornness of the infinitely confluent fluidity of contours. The major moment of leafing and stripping in the film is the nuclear explosion that will destroy New York. Not only does the impact of the shock wave expanding throughout the city's streets make posters and newspaper pages fly. But above all, the psychologist's briefcase opens under the effect of the electromagnetic impulsion, and we see all the Rorschach test plates scatter in a succession of discrete images, like the pages of a big flip-book quickly sliding by before general annihilation.

Keywords:   Watchmen, Zack Synder, Rorschach, man-book, apocalypse-cinema, apocalyptic film, apocalyptic genre

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