McNeil Taylor

McNeil Taylor, MPhil (University of Cambridge), BA (Wesleyan University)


My project analyzes a corpus of contemporary filmmakers (Claire Denis, Mati Diop, Lucile Hadžihalilović, and Apichatpong Weerasethakul) interested in ecology and dilated temporalities. I’m curious why our era of accelerating ecological crisis has witnessed a proliferation of “slow” films that subvert many of the basic assumptions about cinematic narrative: they turn away from psychological identification with characters who drive narrative, and sometimes forsake the human agent altogether. Yet in their evocation of time-scales beyond human cognition, these films are undeniably pleasurable, full of sensorial richness and detail. I thereby posit that cinematic slowness can be a distinct mode of enjoyment, and turn to Gilles Deleuze and psychoanalysis to examine the ethical consequences of this position: what does this desire to evacuate the human tell us about our relation to the nonhuman environment, and what does it tell us about our relation to ourselves?

My research is funded by St. John’s College’s Elizabeth Fallaize Scholarship, and supervised by Nikolaj Lübecker. For the 2021-2022 academic year, I will be researching in Paris at Université Paris 7 (Denis Diderot) supported by a Scatcherd European Scholarship. I will also undertake a teaching post, serving as a Lecteur de langue at Université Paris Nanterre.

Before coming to Oxford, I completed an MPhil at the University of Cambridge, with a dissertation on extended duration in Jacques Rivette, and a BA at Wesleyan University. I also have professional experience in the film industry, having directed and produced short films while working in feature film development in Los Angeles.


‘Doing a Psychoanalysis of Nature: Freud and Merleau-Ponty after the Nonhuman Turn’, Paragraph 46, no. 2 (July 2023): 226–43,

‘Carrying The Earth to The Sky: Claire Denis’s Perverse Ecologies’, French Studies 77, no. 1 (January 2023): 79–97,

‘The Flesh Made Word: Bodily Inscription and Religion in Celine et Julie Vont en Bateau.’ Humanities 2018, 7, 114.


‘ “The Romance of Astrea and Céladon” in One Shot’, Mubi Notebook, 13 December 2022.

‘A Woman Escaped? The Female Automaton in Mouchette’, Another Gaze, 27 October 2019.

‘24 Hours Watching Dau, the Most Ambitious Film Project of All Time’, Hyperallergic, 12 February 2019.


Lecteur d’Anglais, Université Paris Nanterre (2021-2023)

Seminar Tutor for Prelims Paper XI: Introduction to French Film Studies (Michaelmas 2019 and 2020)

Lecture on Jean-Luc Godard’s Adieu au langage for FHS Paper XII: European Cinema (Hilary 2021)


Scatcherd European Scholarship (2021-2022)

Elizabeth Fallaize Scholarship (2019-2022)

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