ARRAY(0x5612909ba950) Irritation of Life explores the political and emotive potential of contemporary auteur cinema. Viewing the work of celebrated directors Michael Haneke, David Lynch and Lars von Trier through the film-historical lenses of melodrama and the avant-garde, Loren and Metelmann explain how convention and deviance interact to establish an aesthetics of irritation. Their densely illustrated readings of the three directors ultimately rehabilitate a question recurrent throughout the many discourses on the moving picture: what social impact might art forms like narrative film hope to achieve? This book suggests that subversive melodrama’s political work is characterized by processes of “empathetic unsettlement” (LaCapra), encouraging new perceptual cartographies in and beyond the cinema, or novel ways of seeing being. Exploration into these uncharted territories constitutes not an IMITATION OF LIFE but an Irritation of Life.