NOTES ON : Deleuze, G (1989) Cinema 2 -- the time-image, London The Athlone Press.


Time replaces space as the predominant philosophical category, and this is revealed in cinema too.  Since the War, cinema has concerned itself with the ‘direct time-image’ (xi).  The War disrupted space, producing any – space – whatever [ASW] in the form of empty buildings and bomb sites.  New characters appeared, for example in Germany Anno Zero.  Their actions were not so tightly governed by the old ‘sensory motor linkage’.  The interest in time produced ‘false movements…  False continuity’ [non naturalist].  Time became an actor in its own right, producer of effects.

The image should be seen as a system of relations of elements not what it represents.  The image makes available relations of time which can then be perceived, for example the ‘depth of field in Welles, a tracking shot in Visconti: we are plunged into time instead of crossing space’ (xii).  Time can be depicted in complex sequences not just simple flashbacks, for example ‘forking time: recapturing the moment when time could have taken a different course’.  There can also be a ‘coexistence of distinct durations and…  The sheets of the past coexist in a non chronological order’ (xii).  Other possibilities are also indicated.  In this way the cinema relates to the discoveries of science and philosophy.  Indeed, it is just starting to do this rather than being already finished as an art form. 

Chapter 1 Beyond the movement – image

[On Italian neo realism] A new form of reality is being depicted.  According to Bazin it is ‘discursive, elliptical, errant or wavering, working in blocs, with deliberately weak connections and floating events’ (1).  The real was to be ambiguous, to be deciphered.  The immediate disconnection between perceptions and actions left room for additional thought.  The new images were also to be subject to new forms of signification.  Neo realism offered a world of encounters.  These are shown through a ‘pure optical situation’ [not particularly traced to the motives of the characters].  The characters do react, often with horror or incomprehension: ‘This is a cinema of the seer and no longer of the agent’ (2). Optical situations and sound situations build up, but audiences no longer identify with the characters and their typical motives.

The crisis of the action image is explained in volume one: things like the multiplication of cliché already ‘slacken…  the sensory motor connections’.  Now a pure optical and sound situation appears.  Children become important in neo realism as naive perceivers, every day banality can become unbearable.  [Visconti, Antonioni and Fellini all offer transitional films].  The characters have to see and hear things and experience reactions—in Visconti, characters often take an inventory of the setting, before action takes shape.  Action floats in this situation, rather than offering a tight connection with it [as in the ASA sequences of vol. 1].  Antonioni often transforms actions into optical and sound descriptions,’ including dehumanised landscapes’ [Red Desert?] For Fellini, the every day becomes a travelling spectacle, presented as a series.

The old sensory motor situations of traditional realism are more predictable, but purely optical sound situations occupy ASW.  Traditional action only takes place after some crisis.  These are therefore new signs which do not, for example index – ‘opsigns’ and ‘sonsigns’.  They can refer to a variety of things, but above all ‘objective images, memories of childhood, sound and visual dreams or fantasies, whether character does not act without seeing himself acting’ (6).  Opsigns in turn feature ‘reports’ [including a literal report, say a diagram of an accident] and ‘instats’ [a neologism by Deleuze the translator says]—‘close flat on vision inducing involvement’ (6), leading to different possibilities—critique or empathy.

Even banal or every day situations help develop the image, for example by drawing consequences from past experiences.  The subjective/objective distinction is replaced by one of visual description, with its ‘indeterminability’ (7) Thus neo realism actually replaces objectivity in the normal sense, by bringing out a broader reality, including the ‘imaginary or the mental’ (7).  Thus Last Year in Marienbad can be seen as a neo realist film.  Fellini depicts the processes that create the spectacle.  Antonioni insists that the most objective images must become subjective ones.  [Lengthy discussion ensues page 8f].  Opsigns and sonsigns bring the subjective and the object, the real and imaginary into contact, and permit conversions.

The French new wave also develops seeing rather than action—Breathless or Pierrot... take the ballad form but develop new opsigns and sonsigns.  Made in the USA offers ‘a series of reports with neither conclusion or logical connection’ (10).  The ‘descriptive objectivism’ is critical, and also focuses on the form of film images, their falsifications, relations between sound and vision.  This politics of the image becomes an aesthetic form, for example in Passion.  [Discussion of Rivette ensues, page 10 —he takes the subjective and empathic side as did Fellini.  He also draws upon a French painting tradition, apparently, involving a notion that colours alternate and complement].  However, the objective and subjective are linked, since the real and the imaginary become indiscernible. Cinema itself demonstrates the power of colour and sounds, although there have also been experiments in tactile images [apparently, Bresson’s film Pickpockets is like very tactile and that].

Japanese film also developed optical and sound situations [the example here is Ozu].  The style looks simple with ‘blocs of movement’, showing every day banality, no real plot (13).  [There is a reference to Leibniz’s philosophy, suggesting that the banal and every day only looks extraordinary because it is presented to us in small sections and in a disrupted order].  For Ozu, human beings are the ones who disrupt and disorder, and there is also a theme about interruptions in Japanese Life following American occupation.  Daily life does not have spectacular sequences of situation and action.  Spaces become ASW.  Gazes provide false continuity.  [More on Ozu’s cinema pages 16 and 17.  Apparently, the clever use of still life and empty spaces indicate a notion of time as the ‘unalterable form filled by change’ (17), and the every day horizons of life allude to cosmic horizons in Japanese cinema.  In this way, the opsigns ‘make time and thought perceptible…  Visible’ (18).]

Optical and sounds situations do not lead to action, but make us grasp ‘something intolerable and unbearable’ (18).  It can be scenes of terror, but also great beauty.  This carries on the romantic tradition, but they also takes an objective form, without subjective sympathy, and this is where the cinema produces knowledge as well as recognition, forcing an intense visual action.  Politically, weak connections with action ‘are capable of releasing huge forces of disintegration’ (19).  The lack of connection with particular characters produces an open possibility, and the new kind of actors see and show, even when it is banality that is being depicted.  Viewers are not allowed to develop the usual ways of evading matters like poverty and oppression for example by deploying cliché: ‘if our sensory motor schemata jam or break then a different type of image can appear: a pure optical – sound image, the whole image without metaphor…  the thing in itself…  in its excess of horror or beauty, in its radical or unjustifiable character’ (20).  For example, a vague image might deliberately preserve the similarity between work and prison, as in Godard’s attempt to show things as they really are [Pravda is good for this -- see the lathe sequence especially].

However, cliché is continually reintroduced [because the audience is allowed to reconnect with action?] The image has to be constantly modified, lost parts restored, including the bits that make it uninteresting, omissions identified.  Authors also lapse into formula.  The way out of this is to move beyond mere ‘intellectual consciousness…  [Into]…  a profound vital intuition’ (22).  Optical and sound images do allude to something beyond movement, but movement is only one dimension instead of a privileged one.  The time-image has subordinated movement.  The emphasis on the visual means a much more explicit reading of what might be seen as the world, its internal elements and relations.  The cinema becomes pedagogic.  The camera can undertake its own movements, illustrating the functions of thought—‘a camera consciousness which would no longer be defined by the movements it is able to follow or make, but by the mental connections it is able to enter into…  Questioning, responding, objecting, provoking…  Hypothesising, experimenting’ (23).  These are the new connections between opsigns, sonsigns and the more conventional signs like chronosigns [Deleuze also introduces the ‘noosign’ and the ‘lectosign’ – the latter is easy enough, signs that must be or can be read in an active sense, but the noosign is difficult – something to do with narratives or extensions].  This breaks down the apparent constant focus on the present.  These connections must be deciphered, actively read, seen as symptoms.

Chapter 2 Recapitulation of images and signs

[Heavy going—I am only going to briefly note some points].  Can the cinema be understood as a conventional language?  Metz noted that early cinema happened to take a narrative form which looked linguistic, but then made the assumption that the terms could be translated directly, so that the image became an utterance.  However, cinema does not follow the rules of conventional languages, for example ‘the syntagm (conjunction of present relative units) and the paradigm (disjunction of present units with comparable absent units)’ (26): the film is not merely a text.  The cinema has more linguistic codes than ordinary language, such as ‘montage, audio visual connection, camera movements’ (26).  Further, narration arises from the movement-images themselves, or from their effects on perception and affect, and these days from the time-image.  The image is not just an utterance—this is ‘a false appearance, and its most authentically visible characteristic, movement, is taken away from it’ (27) [relying on Bergson on the image as opposed to the object].  An important characteristic of the image is that it modulates the object—‘a putting into variation of the mould, a transformation of the mould at each moment of the operation’ (26) [the mould is a figure used to describe how objects are depicted in resemblances or codes].  Modulation therefore adds a new power to moulds—‘the operation of the Real insofar as it constitutes and never stops reconstituting the identity of image and object’ (28).

[Pasolini is commended for understanding this, that cinema has a language system of its own, offering a new language of objects].  All this is implied by the movement image and its relation vertically to the whole, and horizontally between objects [differentiation, and specification—changing the whole and its parts as in volume one for differentiation, and interposing affection- or action-images for specification].  This is not the same as syntagm and paradigm.  These components include all kinds of modulation features.  Even verbal elements may be included, but this still does not make the movement image a language—‘it is a plastic mass, an asignifying and asyntaxic material, a material not formed linguistically…  [but] semiotically, aesthetically and pragmatically’ (29).  Language transforms this material into utterances, but this can lose the relevant features of cinema, images and signs.  Cinema displays a semiotics but not a semiology [the latter being confined to language systems].  Thus linguistic operations like narration are grounded in the image but not determined by it.

[On the connections with Peirce, summarised in the glossary at the end of vol. 1, pp 30—34. See also Semetsky's 2006 Deleuze, Education and Becoming ebook]

Movement images relate both to objects and a whole.  Positions occupy space, but ‘the whole changes in time’ (34).  Orientation to positions arises with framing, relations with the whole in montage.  Thus montage ‘is therefore the principal act of cinema’ (34).  However, it is not just a matter of connecting movement images, but displaying ‘alternations, conflicts, resolutions and resonances’ (35).  The actual movement-image can only occupy the present.  However, movement-images can only be included in a montage if they already express the whole—‘The shot must therefore already be a potential montage’ (35).  However, movements remain normal, centred [and there is a connection with classical philosophies of number and the problems caused by aberrant movement, which apparently draws attention to time].  Cinematic movements are not natural, but speed up, slow down and reverse, keep pace with moving objects, change scales and proportions and offer false or improbable continuity.  This seems to help to construct an autonomous world, and it can also disorient the viewer, but it does show the independence of time from movement.  [Another example of cinema offering some sort of experience of philosophy].

The obvious immediacy of cinema images, in the present, allude to what is before and after, sometimes by referring to the past and future of characters.  This can be done explicitly and self consciously as in cinema vérité or direct cinema [earlier, Deleuze suggests that the name means truthful cinema as well as a cinema of truthfulness --and see below].  Welles and the depth of field also alludes to the past and future [I don’t understand the example page 38, nor the one of Visconti and the tracking shot, although that’s a bit easier—the camera retraces a path to catch up with a character].  It is not only flashbacks.  Repetition of scenes can recall the past as in Last Year...  Some examples indicate that the place in time of the character is not the same as the one in space, and Proust is referred to here.

Why is this particularly modern?  Aberrations of movement appear in early cinema, but they are then normalised.  Kant was needed to break this [philosophical arrogance again?].  For example, the classic movement image relies on sensory motor schema to connect perception and action.  Non-material realities can be alluded to, but only indirectly.  In modern cinema, on the other hand, the sensory-motor schema is no longer dominant, and ‘perceptions and actions ceased to be linked together, and spaces are now neither coordinated nor filled’ (41).  Characters therefore wander or become spectators or sink back into the everyday.  Time is highlighted.  In this way the pure optical and sound situation produces a time image.  False continuity shots destroy consistent characterisation, and there are aberrant movements.  Montage depicts the time-image directly, and shots and montages interpenetrate each other.  Time appears as a ‘pressure’ in the shot [quoting Tarkovsky page 42], having its own effects.

Conventional systems of signs confuse cinema with language, and thus miss this particular representation of time.  The importance of time has only become apparent following the crisis of the movement-image.

Chapter 3 From recollection to dreams: third commentary on Bergson

Bergson says there are two kinds of recognition, automatic or habitual on the one hand, and attentive recognition on the other.  The first one features a certain continuity on the same plane, but with the second, we have to constantly return to the object, and recognise that it occupies different planes.  In the second case, we need an optical or sound image of the thing to make a description.  This looks like a more impoverished grasp of the object, but descriptions need not be reductionist—some cinema offers a more organic description, while automatic recognitions necessarily extract only those aspects that interest us immediately.  The first kind easily links a perception-image to an action-image, but the second kind requires a recollection-image, which involves the imaginary, the virtual, invoking potentially an infinite circuit of subjective recollections and visions.  The recollections can fork, as perception develops an ‘ever widening system’, different strata refer to reality, ‘ever deeper descriptions’, ‘complex circular links between pure optical and sound images on the one hand, and on the other hand images from time and thought, on planes which all coexist by rights, constituting the soul and body of the island [shown in the film Stromboli]’ (47).There may be other aspects of virtual images as well as Bergson’s recollection-image.  The recollection-image implies an accidental connection with perception, although at least it does add a temporal dimension to the usual notions of subjectivity.

The flashback in cinema indicates one relation. Flashbacks can be complex with multiple connections with the past.  However, it is still a limited form, ‘still analogous with sensory motor determinism, and, despite its circuits, only confirms the progression of the linear narration’ (48). Flashbacks must be necessary, determined by something broader than the immediate system of causality, such as ‘destiny’ [the example is Carné’s Daybreak].  However, the power of destiny and of the past can be depicted in other ways as well [strange examples, page 48, include French cinema’s liking for  ‘luminous grey which passes through every atmospheric new wants and constitutes a great circuit of the sun and moon’]. 

Mankiewicz offers more complex flashbacks which fragmented linearity and display ‘perpetual forks like so many breaks in causality’ (49).  Flashbacks indicate different options or decision points, which are not linear, so that two worlds are depicted [examples include Whispers in the City, and The Bloodhound, or All About Eve—the latter indicates the multiple worlds of an alleged schizophrenic.

Can’t say I noticed really – the film is also more conventionally about a scheming young actress who worms her way into the affections of a movie star and builds lots of contacts to launch her own career, then finds herself facing the same fate. We conclude that all actresses get started in that way?  Nice self-parody by Bette Davis of a prima donna star. 

These forks can sometimes allude to a secret, a mysterious feature of one of the characters [extended example page 50].  These flashbacks are necessary because the story can only be told by referring to the past.  Mankiewicz fuses the novelistic elements with theatrical elements, to produce ‘a complete cinematographic specificity’ (51)—thus an off screen voice tells the story, and so can the action between the characters.  [Lots of details pages 51-52. We see in Mankiewicz memories being created to be used in the future, as well as memories of the past and present, making the audience into an ‘involuntary witness’ (52).  The only one I recognise is a description of Cleopatra, where Cleopatra is ‘the eternal forking woman [sic] , devious, capricious, while Mark Antony…  is simply a prisoner of his insane passion’ (53).  We witness Cleopatra’s forks, and in one scene, so does Anthony].

This discussion has an implication for Bergson too.  It is that the recollection-image is not sufficient to explain the relation of subjectivity to the past, since it does not deliver the past itself, in all its virtuality.  It alludes to this best when it fails to generate the normal kind of action.  The dislocation is described as déjà vu, or dream images.

These strange phenomena were also depicted in early European cinema—‘amnesia, hypnosis, hallucination, madness, the vision of the dying, and especially nightmare and dream’ (55).  Hence the connections between various cinemas and Freudian analysis or surrealism, sometimes as a reaction to the limits of American conceptions of action and subjectivity.  Mysterious phenomena appear and are not easily connected to the memory or recognition: they can depict the ‘past in general’, which renders characters powerless (55) [examples are given from German expressionism, or scenes of memory and phantasy, for example in Fellini].  This is how dreams work for Bergson, connecting us to the past in general, not immediately grasped in consciousness: dreams show us how the virtual can become actual in a number of ways, each of which offers more actualisations in the broadest of all ‘circuits’.  [Deleuze describes this transition between dream images as ‘a becoming which can by right continue to infinity’ (57), and gives lot of examples of transitions – ‘a tuft of hair becomes a sea urchin, which is transformed into a circular head of hair, to give way to a circle of onlookers’ (57) in Un Chien Andalou I think ]. Surrealism helped cinematic experimentation here.  Sometimes the images are dispersed throughout the film.

Dream images in cinema can be ‘rich and overloaded…  Dissolves, superimpositions., deframings, complex camera movements, special effects, manipulations in the laboratory…  [or]…  restrained, working by clear cuts or montage-cut making progress simply through a perpetual unhinging…  between objects that remain concrete’ (58), depending on the conception of the imagination [an example of the restrained version is Un Chien Andalou].  Despite the transitions, there is still a limited conception of subjectivity, since there is a dreamer.

There is also a notion of an ‘implied dream’ (59).  Here the images are not connected with recollection or dream, but with ‘movements of world’ (59) instead of movement of the character, a depersonalising, where the world appears to move [I thought of Swankmajer’s work The Flat here.  Deleuze cites Epstein and The Fall of the House of Usher—and lots of others].  Musical comedy is an example of depersonalised movement, as in the machine-like dance movements in Berkeley, or when movement seems to take over the individual dancer – Astaire’s walk becomes a dance, Kelly walks over an uneven pavement which turns into a dance.  The whole musical comedy offers scenes which work like dreams.

Musicals offer options where the musical sequences become dreams, or the world before and after the sequences act as dreams [lots of analysis, 62-63].  Dance becomes a means of entering another world, including escapes from nightmares [and Minnelli’s musicals are particularly admired].  Burlesque is then discussed, 64, with connections with dance steps and movements of the world [especially Jerry Lewis].  His characters places himself ‘on an energy band which carries him along and which is precisely movement of world, a new way of dancing, or modulating’ (66).  This goes beyond Bergson, since there is a connection with movements of the world rather than action.  Neither sound nor visual signs are ‘integrated into simple sensory – motor schemata’ (66) [in this case in M Hulot].

Chapter 4 The crystals of time

[The chapter begins with some largely incomprehensible, free-wheeling ‘delirious’ commentary on a number of films and directors. The usual one-line interpretations are offered.  The theme seems to be that recollection can be depicted in the smallest possible ‘circuit’, a ‘crystal’ or a single image, uniting actual and virtual, present and past. The illustrations at the start turn on the use of mirrors or seeds in various films [seeds include ships] and how they offer an ‘indiscernibility’ between actual and virtual. The term seems to imply not that two aspects of a thing become one but that the difference between the two aspects becomes undetectable. Indiscernibility was also seen a desirable state to be sought by human becoming in Anti-Oedipus – some sort of blissful escape from identity?

The only substantive discussion of a film I could relate to was the one on La Regle du Jeu (84f). Even I could see that it had a mirror structure, with the lives of the upper classes mirrored by those of the servants, and both appearing in some of the scene shot in deep field – much admired earlier, and again Bazin’s view that this sort of shot captures more of reality is denied. Instead ‘The function of depth is rather to constitute the image in crystal and to absorb the real which thus passes as much into the virtual as into the actual’ (85). Deleuze describes the whole of such scenes as a crystal. He says the characters are constrained by the crystal, [maybe as an example of how time constitutes subjectivity as below?], and points out that Renoir has to break the crystal to move on – the disruptive effect of the gamekeeper prowling round the house and finally killing one of the upper class characters by mistake. However, for me, nothing then changed thereafter – the rules went on applying, it was all dismissed as an accident, and order was restored.

Fellini is discussed as offering a contrasting view – here a series of seeds develop into the whole crystal (88f).

The bits about the crystal as a short circuit linking past and present makes more sense after reading Deleuze on Bergsonism. Here is the relevant bit in this chapter:

Bergson’s major theses on time are as follows: the past coexists with the present that it has been; the past is preserved in itself, as past in general (non chronological); at each moment time splits itself into present and past, present that passes and past which is preserved.  Bergsonism has often been reduced to the following idea: duration is subjective, and constitutes our internal life.  And it is true that Bergson had to express himself in this way, at least at the outset.  But, increasingly, he came to say something quite different: the only subjectivity is time, non chronological time grasped in its foundation, and it is we who are internal to time, not the other way round.  That we are in time it looks like a commonplace, yet it is the highest paradox.  Time is not the interior in us, but just the opposite, the interiority in which we are, in which we move, live and change. .. In the novel, it is Proust who says that time is not internal to us, but that we are internal to time, which divides itself in two, which loses itself and discovers itself in itself, which makes the present pass and the past be preserved.  In the cinema, there are perhaps three films which show how we inhabit time how we move in it, in this form which carries us away, picks us up and enlarges us: Dovhzhenko’s Zvenigora, Hitchcock’s Vertigo and Rensais Je t’aime, je t’aime...  Subjectivity is never hours, it is time, that is, the sole or the spirit, the virtual.  The actual is always objective but the virtual is subjective: it was initially the affect, that which we experience in time; then time itself, pure virtuality which divides itself in two as affector and affected, ‘the affection of self by self’ as definition of time (82-83).

A particular ‘mode of the crystal-image’ characteristic of cinema is the film within the film.  This was heralded as indicating the end of cinema, following the crisis of the movement-image discussed earlier.  However, it sometimes took the form of indicating some sort of atmosphere of conspiracy or surveillance.  The particular conspiracy in question ‘is that of money’ (77) [the first mention of any commercial impulses on the cinema].  The cinema has become industrial art, and the relation to money ‘is the true “state of things”’ (77).  Cinema knows best that ‘time is money’. 

Then there is an extraordinary sequence discussing unequal change, the impossibility of equivalence, related to Marx’s distinction between two circuits C-M-C and M-C-M [capital-money-capital and the converse] The first shows equivalence, but the second ‘impossible equivalence or tricked, dissymmetrical exchange’ (78).  [I have no idea what this means, except maybe it relates to Marx’s discussion of misleading forms of revenue, such as interest.  In these cases, money just seems to generate more money, but in fact that only happens because it goes through the circuit M-C-M behind the scenes].  Apparently, Godard shows this problem in Passion [Godard certainly starts Tout Va Bien with a series of cheques being signed and displayed, which may be the same thing in a much more obvious form. The tableaux being produced in Passion are being produced commercially as well – but this is maybe not what Deleuze means?] .  In this and other films, ‘the cinema confronts its most internal presupposition, money, and the movement image makes way for the time image in one and the same operation  The film is movement, but the film within the film is money, is time’ (78). [So what is being argued here exactly – that the crisis of the movement image, its clichés etc, led to a new interest in cinema commentating on itself rather despairingly as in films about films AND this got connected to a realisation of creeping commercialism at the same time? As part of some general demoralisation? I would have thought that shooting with continuity editing, with its disruption of natural time  and its role in Fordist production of movies would have done all this rather better – although these are art movies we are discussing of course which might have preserved some illusory innocence and independence until they had to get hold of big money? This might be by what is meant by a wistful comment : ‘art had to make itself international industrial art, that is cinema, in order to buy space and time’ (citing L’Herbier, (78) orig. emphasis].

There is also a short commentary of film music and the importance of the ‘ritornello’ (returning  little tune or theme), which captures the way the past returns. ‘Galloping’ music does the opposite, speeding the passing of the presents.

Chapter 5 Peaks of present and sheets of past: fourth commentary on Bergson

Crystals show how time splits [according to Bergson] into ‘presents which pass and that of pasts which are preserved.  Time simultaneously makes the present pass and preserves the past in itself’ (98).  Bergson saw time in terms of the model of the inverse cone [see Deleuze on Bergsonism].  The past has a real but virtual existence, compared to the existence of subjective recollection images which actualise it.  When we recall the past we leap into that virtual level, looking for the seed of the recollection image.  When we perceive things in space we have to look for them, and the same goes for perceiving things in time.  Thus ‘memory is not in us: it is we who move in a Being– memory…  The past appears as the most general form of the already there, a pre-existence in general which our recollections presuppose’ (98).  Thus the present itself is ‘an infinitely contracted past which is constitutive of the extreme point of the already-there’ [the point of the cone] (98).  The past itself is best conceived of as a series of circles, ‘more or less dilated or contracted’, each with its own present which is the infinitely contracted point in the circuit.  These circles can be seen as ‘stretched or shrunk regions, strata, and sheets: each region with its own characteristics’. These characteristics include ‘”tones”…  “aspects”…  “singularities”…  “shining points” and “dominant” themes’(99). 

When we recollect we leap into a particular circle of the past.  Subjectively, these regions appear to succeed each other, representing things like childhood or adolescence, but in fact they coexist [in other words they have a real if virtual existence?].  Succession takes place as particular points of the present succeed each other.  When we recollect, we enter the past in general then choose a particular region, sometimes returning to the present so we can make another jump.  This is nonchronological time, coexistence of sheets of the past.  It is found in cinema, in Fellini, and clearest of all in Citizen Kane.

Bergson extends this conception of time into language and thought: ‘what the past is to time, sense is to language and the idea to thought’ (99) sense is also organised in coexisting circles or sheets, and similarly we jump into various circles of ideas in order to form images.

So what ideas about time can be distinguished in the present?  The characteristic of the present is that something ‘stops being present when it is replaced by something else’ (100).  Thus the succession of things give one idea of the present.  But we can experience an event that has its own past present and future, grasped by a 'vision which is purely optical, vertical or, rather, one in depth' (100).  This breaks with the normal pragmatic view, and gives us another perception of time, with past, present and future all related to particular present, all bundled up together: 'a time is revealed inside the event, which is made from the simultaneity of these three implicated presents, from these deactualised peaks of present’ (100).  A single event is capable of encompassing a number of simultaneous possibilities—'two people know each other, but already knew each other and do not yet know each other' (101).  Instead of sheets of time, we have simultaneous peaks of the present, with different chronosigns in each case—'aspects (regions, layers),...[and]...accents (peaks of view).

Robbe- Grillet’s cinema shows accents, simultaneous presents with their own connections to the past and future [the only example mentioned here that I know is Resnais’ s Last Year in Marienbad].  Narration is not suppressed, but given a new value, abstracted from successive action, and distributing 'different presents to different characters, so that each forms a combination that is plausible and possible in itself, but where all of them together are ”incompossible”, and where the inexplicable is thereby maintained and created' (101).  [illustration and commentary follows 101f].  The analogy is information being transmitted to three different planets where it is received at different times—‘the [third] would not yet have received it, the second would already have received it, the first would be receiving it, in three simultaneous presents bound into the same universe’ (102).

I have recently watched Last Year in Marienbad and I can see Deleuze’s point about how it shows different sheets of time.  The film is a constant retelling of an encounter that may or may not have happened.  We hear the main male protagonist describe the meeting with the woman in various ways (in that recit style of earnest off-screen narrative --is it always him or some other narrator as well?)  and we see it depicted in various ways as well, reconstructed for us on the screen.  Eventually, the story moves on to whether or not she will leave her husband and go off with the bloke, and we see a number of different endings as well, one of which involve her being shot, others seeing her pack and leave, or remaining prettily undecided.

It is perfectly true that none of these particular accounts is privileged as the true one. They all look equivalently cinematically real -- no dissolves or flashbacks etc. This is revealed to us. The woman firmly denies ever having met the male, at least in the first sections of the film.  The male describes the scenes in tremendous detail, and sometimes the visual reconstruction repeats that detail, but at other times, we have our doubts—for example he describes meeting under a statue in a formal classical garden, we see them meet, and he describes the statue in some detail to the lady to press his case, but then we see an engraving of the garden with the statue in the hotel where they are actually meeting, and one of the guests (?) describes the statue too.  There may also be lots of clues from the nature of that hotel—it is a huge endless building with heavy baroque decoration on the walls and ceilings as the narrator tells us several times, so it can be a kind of metaphor for the story?

The point is not to depict any underlying truth, of course, but to show how time creates various realities. Time is the problematic dimension here. I still think it is subjective time that is being depicted though, the personal time of the male protagonist.On the other hand, he is not the only one telling the story -- the camera tells us what happened too.Maybe it is just possible to see a Bergsonian notion of duration as a vast reservoir of meanings from which we focus themes etc once we have leapt on to the right level.

Of course, I can see why critics and philosophers might read the film that way.  Maybe Resnais has described his intentions in making the film in that way?  I wonder if the normal audience could not recuperate the usual readings though and see this as the confused subjective recollections of the male narrator after all who was just trying to seduce the woman? At the same time, my vulgar tastes kept intervening.  I found the posturing upper class figures laughable.  I am sure we were supposed to find the female lead utterly adorable and fascinating, and she was allowed to trot about appealingly, and appear in a number of high fashion items.  Perhaps that was the intention, since the guests often just seemed to stand still and pose as statues or as if they were in a painting.  The mysterious possible husband with his card games reminded me of French philosophy itself, with its silly tricks delivered in such a portentous and symbolic manner.  Unmistakable hints of Bunuel and The Exterminating Angel, or even Rules of the Game cropped up now and then. Deliberate intertextuality?  Avant-garde contempt for the bourgeoisie?


Bunuel [at last!  Someone I know!] uses repetition and variation, but especially in his late period also introduces the problem of time.  In Belle de jour, the husband both is and is not paralysed, and, above all, two characters, and two actresses play the same role in That Obscure Object of Desire.  The simultaneous worlds are introduced, but they are not merely subjective points of view, 'but one and the same event in different objective worlds' (103).

Back to Last Year...  Two authors collaborated and the film represents two creative procedures.  The film shows the crisis of the action-image in 'the failure of sensory motor models, the wandering of characters, the rise of clichés' (103).  There is also a discussion of the real and the imaginary, whether something actually did or did not happen.  The film develops the idea that this is not just something happening in viewers’ or characters’ heads, but that the events are 'distinct and yet indiscernible'(104).  New differences emerge at the level of time itself, either in an architecture of time, preferred by Resnais, or in a perpetual present stripped of time, as in Robbe-Grillet.  The former sees the past in terms of sheets or regions, the latter in the form of ‘points of present’ (104).

Cinematic images are often seen as naturally in the present, but in Citizen Kane, time appears in the form of 'large regions to be explored' (105).  The investigator asks where the meaning of Rosebud might lie.  Each region is organised chronologically, as above, in terms of a succession of presents, but they are also all coexistent, comprising the whole of Kane’s life.  We see that each witness forms a different recollection image based on certain points in the region.  There are conventional sequences of events, but also more extended explorations of sheets of the past [extended commentary 106f].

This shows the real effects of depth of field, and a further disagreement with Bazin.  This is not the same as the depth in a particular field or image.  Instead, ‘a series of parallel and successive planes, each autonomous’ are depicted, but not simply in the form of a harmonized image (107).  Instead, they can be a diagonal [shot] or gap which ‘privileges the background and brings into immediate touch with the foreground’ (107).  Welles makes elements in each plane interact, and the background to contact the foreground directly [example 107-8].  Connections are shown by exaggerating the size of foreground and reducing size in the background, and/or placing the light centre at the back while the foreground is occupied with shadows.  This is a simulation of duration, irreducible just to notions of space, but representing time—'a region of the past which is defined by optical aspects’ (108).

For Bazin, this forces the viewer to construct the image as reality, but at the price of excessive theatricality.  There are other possibilities though, following from other kinds of time images.  Some suppress depth.  However, depth of field in general is ‘a function of remembering…  “an invitation to recollect”’ (109).  [NB it was also seen originally as just a kind of montage, apparently ] This is not conventional psychological memory, which is made up recollection images, but a peak or a sheet again.  This links with Bergson and his conception of an extended sheet shrinking to a contracted present.  Depth of field therefore can show us contracted evocation and sheets of the past 'that we explore in order to find the recollection sought’ (109) [examples from Welles follow] High and low angle shots can indicate contractions, oblique and natural tracking shots can indicate sheets.  It is not a matter of showing recollection image is, say in flashbacks, but indicating ‘the actual effort of evocation...  and the exploration of virtual zones of past, to find, choose and bring it back’ (110).

Depth of field is best seen as a function of remembering, and Welles uses it to indicate a number of ‘adventures of the memory’ (110).  Bergson said there would be two problems in memory: (a) past recollections can be successfully evoked, but not connected usefully with the present; (b) the actual presents cannot reach the recollection.  Welles’s films showed both happening.

Citizen Kane has a series of witnesses attempting to evoke by connecting to particular sheets of the past.  The fixed point is Kane’s death.  The sequences are collected together in a different kind of montage, one that does not indicate movement, but chronological order.  Each sequence features a search for the meaning of Rosebud.  None are successful, and when we see the relevant image, it is ignored by everyone, alluding to the emptiness of Kane’s life.  In The Magnificent Ambersons, there is a different pathology.  Here images can no longer be inserted into a present which is changed beyond recognition.  Welles’s attempting to show that attempts to recapture the past can encounter time itself which becomes out of joint.  In The Lady from Shanghai he offers a different possibility, since none of the characters can offer accurate recollections, and together they submerge the hero.

­­­­­­­­­­­Seems like a fancy way of arguing that. The Lady... is a clever whodunnit, with the hero (Welles) narrowly avoiding becoming a patsy as various scheming rich blokes, and the beautiful and apparently innocent wife of one of them manipulate each other. She plans to run off with the business partner if he kills his partner (her husband) for the insurance. They intend to mislead (seduce and bribe) the patsy into giving the killer an ingenious alibi. The plot goes wrong and she decides to murder the accomplice and run off with the patsy instead. He finds out. The wife and the husband kill each other, and the patsy walks away reminding himself how horrible the rich are. There are lots of mysteries about her and her background in Shanghai -- as a good time girl? This becomes important in the final scene as she tracks down the patsy and the husband in a Chinese theatre and amusement arcade, using some dubious Chinese gangster-type characters and speaking to them in Mandarin. The film seems more like a celebration(?) of the art of the forger and confidence woman as below.

The viewers are complicit in the deception too. We are led very easily to read the film initially as one of those cases where a rich man marries a showgirl. We can fill in that plot for ourselves and the characters help. Bannister (the banker) is clearly very cynical about his wife and her activities, practically inviting her to have an affair with O’Hara (Welles) and declaring his indifference. Bannister is disabled and maybe impotent, we are invited to conclude. She appears as an innocent Marilyn-type figure, somehow tricked or bribed into an unhappy marriage. The partner is an unsympathetic, manipulative, sly, rather ugly, sweaty figure, the very last person you would suspect of being able to seduce the lady and get her to run off with him. We read the plot as a conventional one where the lady really wants to run off with the handsome O’Hara. So it is a real surprise when we find out what she was really planning and we see her in a new light (just in time for the final scenes where she gets shot and so ‘deserves’ it).

The confusion and ambiguity Deleuze admires is perfectly explicable as a matter of devious characters trying to lie to exploit each other, not as an exercise in philosophy in general.

 In Mr. Arkadin, the hero feigns amnesia so that he can track down some witnesses to his past.  As these films follow each other, Welles’s ‘shows the impossibility of any evocation’ (114).

[There is a commentary on the role of death in Welles’s films, as a ‘permanent present, the most contracted region’ (115)]. Welles still has fixed points in his films, such as ‘a present offered to our view, someone’s death, sometimes given from the start, sometimes prefigured’, and often the storyteller’s voice constitutes the centre for the story.  For Resnais, there are no fixed points, so ‘the present begins to float, struck by the uncertainty, dispersed in the characters’ comings and goings or already absorbed by the past’ (116).  The result is ‘a generalised relativity…  undecidable alternatives between sheets of past’ (117). 

The commentary on Citizen Kane prompted me to get the DVD and look at the film again. Try this for yourselves. I found Deleuze’s commentary on the cinematography to be very insightful and it made me look at the shots anew, especially the amazing low level shots of the characters pacing around in the newspaper office,  or in Xanadu. These sorts of shots have become familiar in TV drama as a sign that something odd is about to happen (to be fair, the high angle shot rather than these low angle ones).  Nonetheless, they do break up a passive and comfortable viewing. The novel lighting mentioned is also accompanied by some standard German Expressionist stuff [high contrast lighting as Kane descends the stairs into his massive room left in shadow, high contrast on his face as he struggles with his rejection] – no doubt with the same intended effects to allude to mania or menace.

I could see how this maintained depth of field though –as Kane talks to Leland straight after his defeat at the polls, the promotional banners in the background remind you of the alternative outcome Kane could have chosen to avoid disgrace. Other depth of field shots are astonishing and I think they must actually be composed of superimpositions – shots through the window to the street far below from the office to the carriage in which Kane rides off with his new wife. There are several of these, all framed by squares or rectangles, suggesting superimposition. One of the early scenes is like this, when the parents and the lawyer meet to discuss the fate of the young Kane. As they discuss taking him away to the East, we see the boy playing out in the snow through the window tens of yards away. It is impossibly clear and in focus. It is also back to front visually – normally the plotting parents would be seen in the background as the innocent child played?  I have used the same still as in the excellent Wikipedia article (

image from Citizen Kane

I have since read commentaries which make new lenses and film stock the origins of these shots – but the distances are incredible. The final giveaway for me is the scene in the old folk’s home where Leland is being interviewed -- the recollected stuff fades into the present as an image occupying the space of a dark shadow in the old chap’s room as the ‘present’ image fades in. No doubt critics have commented on this before [actually, the Wikipedia article describes two similar techniques: ‘an optical printer was used to make the whole screen appear in focus (visually layering one piece of film onto another)’, and, in the suicide scene: ‘The shot was an in-camera matte shot. The foreground was shot first, with the background dark. Then the background was lit, the foreground darkened, the film rewound, and the scene re-shot with the background action’. The cinematographer ( Gregg Toland) had suggested these techniques].  This is a classic example of Deleuze ignoring the technology and the cinematographer, of course. Deleuze mentions a scene in particular, where Susan is in close-up in a coma after a drug overdose and Kane appears in miniature in the doorway. A far more dramatic example of contrasting sizes occurs in the scene where she is being taught to sing by a (comic) Italian and Kane stands in the far–off doorway listening. Same idea in both – the poor woman will never get away from the brooding obsessive in the background who intrudes in the background and comes forward to dominate the action.

These connections between flashbacks and the present are unusual and they do overlap, but it would take an acute critic like Deleuze to read those as suggesting that a new conception of time is being offered, as overlapping sheets: the process is still capable of being handled in the conventional way as a series of subjective recollections. There are interesting overlaps and repetitions in the recollected bits with different interpretations  – but nothing too challenging.

The same goes for the organising narrative. The film starts with people editing a newsreel film about Kane, which is then fleshed out in the actual film – a ‘film within film’ section no doubt warning the audience that the actual film is also an editing. It is also true that none of the witnesses can retrieve the meaning of Rosebud, and the final speech states there is no master code to unlock Kane’s story. Yet the final sequence shows what Rosebud does refer to – the sled that Kane had as a boy as he plays in the snow, evoked by the toy snow globe. This is classic realism as in MacCabe if not Bazin– the camera reveals the real meaning which none of the characters can grasp but the audience does because of its favoured viewing position. As a result, horribly conventional readings intrude from us which probably CAN explain everything else -- all the poor lad ever wanted was his sled and his boyhood home; the early parting with his parents explains his cold and unemotional nature as in cod Freudianism; money can’t buy you love, so all poor people can console themselves. There is even a hint of the American dream –one day, gold may be discovered on YOUR land.

There are also some fine anti-capitalist sentiments, but those are offered by hopeless romantics who end up as drunks in old people’s homes or sleazy nightclub singers who could have been contenders. The thing offers bourgeois sentiments really – the very rich are cold and vulgar, the poor are losers, and only those with artistic sentiments can grasp the real position.

­­­­­­­[A lengthy commentary on Resnais follows 117f.  Last Year in Marienbad, for example, has the two characters with completely different memories, and they have to negotiate some shared agreement.  The characters in Hiroshima... have nothing in common, but ‘two incommensurable regions of past, Hiroshima and Nevers’ (118).  Each sheet of the past is a continuum, defined by tracking shots.  However, these can be pliable, as in topology, so that for example two close points can end up being separated all the other way around.  Chronology is replaced by a system of rearrangement, allocation to particular sheets of past, some of them undecidable.

However, transformations or distributions always end in a fragmentation for Resnais [examples, 120] this can take the form of ‘a perpetual stirring which will make what was far away close and what was close far away’ (120).  Godard has noticed that Resnais can even produce a fragmentation within tracking shots: ‘tracking, for instance from the Japanese river to the banks of the Loire’ (121).  Resnais also uses charts and maps, or diagrams—but to represent thoughts not reality.  [The only example I can understand is the one where cold and diabolical machinery is used to allude to cold and diabolical thought, 121]. 

Resnais has always been interested in the brain [not as some early neuroscientist presumably but to mean the way in which consciousness works?].  He wants to go beyond recollection images shown in flashback, and to focus instead on ‘dreams and nightmares, fantasies, hypotheses and anticipations, all forms of the imaginary’ (122).  Deleuze says this is common with great filmmakers, who use flashbacks only if they can justify them from somewhere else.

We need Bergson and the distinction between pure recollection that the virtual level and the recollection image which actualises it in relation to a present.  Pure recollection is located on sheets of the past.  The act of recollection involves either the discovery of a point on a sheet which can then be actualised, or a failure to discover the point because it is on a different sheet.  This explains the different recollections of the characters in Last Year, who are on two different sheets.

Is it possible to conceive of a third sheet, or continuum which has fragments of different ages, ‘a sheet of transformation’ (123).  We know for example that dreams feature series of recollection images, ‘embodied within each other, each referring to a different point of the sheet’ (123) [as in overdetermination, displacement or condensation?].  Perhaps such a sheet can be constructed on viewing a particular work of art [so this is a subjective function?  It happens Deleuze says ‘especially when we are ourselves the author’ (123)] in this way, we can contact a non chronological time.  This is risky though, and sometimes ends in ‘incoherent dust made out of juxtaposed borrowings; sometimes we only form generalities which retain mere resemblances.  All this is the territory of false recollections with which we trick ourselves or try to trick others’ (123).  However, such sheets can be invented in works of art [and the example here is Resnais’s Providence—discussed 124.  Apparently, ‘the work of art crosses coexistent pages…  Fixed on an exhausted sheet, in a mortified fragmentation’ (124).

Resnais depicts feelings, rather than the characters themselves, and feelings ‘plunge into the past’ (124).  Feeling is in continual exchange ‘circulating from one sheet to another’, and when a transformation sheet is produced, feelings ‘set free the consciousness or sport with which they were loaded: a becoming conscious’ (125) in this way, feelings tell us about thought and how it forms a continuity between feelings and.  In this way ‘The screen itself is the cerebral membrane where immediate and direct confrontations take place between the past and the future, the inside and the outside…  The image no longer has space and movement as its primary characteristics’ but topology and time’ (125).

[Reading ahead to the next chapter helped me grasp some of this a bit better. Conventionally, time is depicted through movement , of the characters, say, as they advance from youth to old age, or embark on {yech} journeys. But time can also be depicted, paradoxically enough, in static {crystalline} images, where things from different time periods are gathered together in the same shot – as in depth of field. Or when characters occupying different ‘time sheets’ come close together and interact {or fail to}. In these cases, time explains movements, like coming together then parting in different directions etc – these people are being driven by their own time sheets -- and time takes on this constitutive role he is always blathering on about.  Incidentally, I think a great example of this is Slacker!

What a marvellous coincidence that the regions of time should be called time sheets! Time sheets in the mundane world are records of time you spent doing various things, used in bureaucratic surveillance. How Negri and Hardt would have been excited to see in the mundane the allusion to the virtual!!]

Chapter six: the powers of the false

Images can do two things.  Those that ‘assume the independence of [the] object’ are called organic.  An independent reality, even if it is depicted by stage scenery, is assumed.  A crystalline description, by contrast ‘stands for its object’, and there is nothing outside the description.  Such pure descriptions can be found even in neo realism.  A further difference concerns movements—‘sensory motor situations’ which are presupposed in organic descriptions, while crystalline descriptions ‘refer to purely optical and sound situations detached from their motor extension: this is the cinema of the seer and no longer of the agent’ (126).

Inorganic descriptions, the independent reality is shown through classic continuity shots and familiar connections, including ‘legal, causal and logical connections’ (127).  Even dreams and imaginary sequences can be fitted into such classic continuity, even if only to show the contrasts with normal reality.  Thus the classic organic film has both normal and imaginary kinds of reality in contrast.  CrystalIine images are completely different and have broken with reality: ‘the virtual…  detaches itself from its actualizations, starts to be valid for itself’ (127).  It is common to combine the actual and the virtual, the real and the imaginary, in a way which makes them indiscernible.  Indeed, the crystal image can be defined as ‘the coalescence of an actual image and its virtual images’ (127).  Some films will combine the organic and the crystalIine.

Organic narration follows sensory motor relations, so as to show how ‘the characters relate to situations or act in such a way as to disclose the situation.  This is a truthful narration in the sense that it claims to be true, even in fiction’ (127).  This overall narrative can be disrupted, for example with flashbacks or dreams, but it is located in ‘”hodological space” (Kurt Lewin)’ (127).  [Yes – the Kurt Lewin! Apparently, this means a subjective space where forces and tensions are at work to determine conduct].  It corresponds to the more abstract Euclidean space, providing, for example ‘the simplest route…   the minimum means for a maximum effect’ (128).  Time is always represented as chronological, even if it can be temporarily reversed, for example in flashbacks.

CrystalIine narration breaks with sensory motor relations and situations.  Instead, there are optical and sound situations, which are usually not fully understood by the characters, who spend a lot of time trying to see properly what the problem is.  Movement is less important, and can even be absent, or frenetic.  This anomalous kind of movement emerges as important in its own right, and can generate ‘false continuity shots’ (128).  Hodological space can no longer be understood as a kind of Euclidean space, and action ceases to be organised according to logical principles or straightforward goals.  [And here there is a detour into how different kinds of topological space are depicted in film—DeLanda offers the best account of these alternative spaces in my view.   Apparently, Bresson depicts Riemannian space, Robbe-Grillet quantum space, Resnais topological space.]

These spaces cannot be described in the usual spatial ways: ‘They imply non localisable relations.  These are direct presentations of time…  A direct time-image from which movement derives…  a chronic non-chronological [pseud!] time which produces movements necessarily “abnormal”, essentially “false”’ (129).  Montage ceases to compose movement images, but rather ‘decomposes the relations in a direct time-image in such a way that all the possible movements emerge from it’ (130).  [I am not at all clear about this, but I can see the general point that particular crystalIine images can offer non naturalist, non realist depictions of time, since they break with conventional narratives. What I can’t see is how this more positive constitutive kind of time emerges. The bit that follows is not exactly clear...].

[Some sort of history of philosophy follows, showing how time has always been a problem for concepts of truth.  For example, there is an element of contingency in what happens in the future—events may or may not take place.  Apparently, this induces a philosophical problem {!}.  I don’t like to intrude on private grief, but it seems to involve suggesting that once things actually happen, the alternatives are then rendered backwards, so to speak, as impossible, so the possible has produced the impossible.  Deleuze says ‘it is easy to regard this paradox is a sophism’ (130)—more like a silly philosophical game for me.  Apparently, Leibniz said that this indicates that there are two parallel worlds, one where the event takes place, and one where it doesn’t, illustrating the notion of ‘incompossibility’ : it is the incompossible not the impossible that proceeds from the possible {what a waste of time}.  Apparently, however the incompossibles can still belong to the same universe, producing a notion of time as forking, labyrinthine—an argument we met earlier in this whole discussion]

Narratives can therefore avoid the simple notion of true or false, or of relative truths, and focus instead on replacing the whole idea of the true, suggesting ‘the simultaneity of incompossible presents, or the coexistence of not – necessarily true pasts’ (131).  This is a step beyond the indiscerniblity of the real and imaginary—‘every model of truth collapses, in favour of the new narration’ (131).  This is Nietzsche’s view of the will to power and its creative nature.

In cinema, ‘the images must be produced in such a way that the past is not necessarily true, or that the impossible comes from the possible’ (131) [and the example is Robbe-Grillet].  This kind of false narration coexists with crystalIine images and ‘the force of time’ (132).  It is not a matter of just suggesting that the new forms are more valuable—they can also be ‘laboured and empty’—but they do seem to have inspired some great authors (132).  For them, ‘the forger becomes the character of the cinema’ (132).  The forger ‘provokes undecidable alternatives and inexplicable differences between the true and the false, and they are buying imposes the power of the false as adequate to time, in contrast to any form of that room which would control time’ (132).  [Some films are mentioned, including Godard’s film about an episode in Melville’s The Man Who Lies.  I haven’t seen the film, but I went off and read the novel, which my ebook supplier rendered as The Confidence Man [get the ebook here]. It struck me as a rather over-literary, even pompous, account of a number of passengers on a Mississippi steamboat, each of whom is trying to act as a confidence man—a beggar, a herbal medicine salesmen and so on.  Melville’s commentary indicates that he thinks that everyone makes a living by pretence, and that we are all confidence men, that confidence is an inescapable part of business life, and, a bit like Goffman’s account suggests, that the mugs want to trust the con man, and even go out of their way to be conned].

Normal realistic narration often shows different interpretations, to be resolved by judgement, but falsifying narration abandons this whole system, since everyone is unable to distinguish between true and false.  This is because there is no underlying truth, but rather ‘an irreducible multiplicity’, where ‘”I is another”’ (133).  There is no external system of events, but rather a series of overlapping perspectives referring to each other and implicating each other, producing a whole chain of forgers.  Narration presents ‘sliding from one to the other, their metamorphoses into each other’ (134).  Nietzsche and Melville are cited again [this time, the title of the novel is The Confidence Man].Even the truthful men are implicated.  [Several more examples are discussed 134, to show that this construction seems common across a number of different films and authors].  Overall, ‘Description stops presupposing a reality and narration stops referring to a form of the true at one and the same time’ (135).  The story itself also become separated from description and narration.

New wave cinema ‘broke with the form of the true to replace it by the powers of life’ (135) [examples follow 135 F].  New German cinema follows a similar path, for example, offering ‘spaces reduced to their own descriptions (city deserts or places which are constantly being destroyed)…  An oppressive, useless and unsummonable time which haunt the characters’ (136).

Again, semiology has been unable to grasp this, even despite its work on the ‘dysnarrative’ (136).  That is because it underestimates paradigmatic dimension to the expense of syntagmatic ones.  Once paradigms become crucial, narration loses that a cumulative character and offers ‘repetitions, permutations and transformations’ which semiology cannot follow.  It is this shift to the time-image from the movement image which requires a non semiological approach to cinema (137).

[More examples from Welles are discussed 137 F, and Welles is seen as a Nietzschean, denying truths, and judgments, and ultimate good, and arguing instead that ‘there is no value superior to life, life is not to be judged or justified, it is innocent, it has “the innocence of becoming”, beyond good and evil’ (138). [Further elaborated in the lectures on Spinoza]   [Then expressionism is discussed, with its apparently simple struggles between good and evil.  Lang progresses to realise that it is difficult to judge anything, ‘there is no truth anymore, but only appearances’ (138).]  Appearances reveal themselves as non true, but the new events that arise to contradict them are not truth but another set of appearances.  Judgement then becomes a matter of the relations between appearances.  In Lang, the viewer is ultimately expected to make the judgment, between a relativity [not a contradiction as in Brecht].  However, in Welles, even that is impossible, and characters ‘evade any possible judgement’: even the relations between appearances cannot be relied on  (139).

Bodies remain, as forces, but without any centre, and acting only in relation with other forces.  This is Nietzsche’s ‘”will to power”, and Welles’s “character”’ (139).  Sometimes, a sequence presents successive exercises of this force, sometimes, the relation of forces is presented simultaneously, with a variety of centres and vectors.

This relation between the forces is qualitative, since some can only respond in particular ways [more examples from Welles 140 F] and others can metamorphose.  The single quality ones often indicate decadence and degeneracy, impotence, the decline of the will to power [which is a general will to express oneself] into a will to dominate (140).  Welles has a number of impotent, vengeful characters, sick with life [the only one I could recognise was Iago], and there are links with Nietzsche on nihilism.  A relativist form of judgement is available here, ‘immanent evaluation instead of judgement as transcendent value’ (141).  Affect can also be substituted for judgement—‘”I love or I hate” instead of  “I judge”’ (141).  For Nietzsche, this can still be based on some contrast between life enhancing good and exhausted degenerate immobile bad.  Deleuze links this with becoming as the will to power, based on a recognition of the false.  Everything seems to depend on contrast in transformation with exhaustion or ‘generosity’ (141), which ‘raises the false to the nth power, or the will to power to the level of artistic becoming’ (142).  Becoming is innocent [cannot be judged?].  [Just seems to be some  plea for artistic creativity, presumably based on desire?].

Amidst all this creativity, only death is a centre.  Films can depict this notion of vanishing centres [and the example is the opening of Touch of Evil].  This is another departure from movements and the movement image, sense movement depends on privileged points of gravity and centres.  This is the theme of the whole book, that modern cinema sees movements as independent, and so not demanding the true, and thus not subordinating time.  [Try this indecipherable sentence: ‘Movement which is fundamentally decentred becomes false movement, and time which is fundamentally liberated becomes power of the false {sic} which is now brought into effect in false movement’—original emphasis (143). For me this means that once realism and naturalism are abandoned, all sorts of experiments can be made with movement and time – ‘false’ movement just means non-realist or non-naturalistic?].

However, Welles retained some centres unlike Resnais, as argued above.  However his notion of centre is transformed, and this is connected to the use of new depictions of depth of field.  [The explanation detours through theories of 17th century painting, 143f, which also questioned the notion of fixed centres, and eventually replaced them with a purely optical centre, a point of view.  It was not conventional perspectivism in the subjective sense, however, since ‘different objects… were…  presented as the metamorphosis of one and the same thing in the process of becoming.  This was projective geometry’ (143).  [See DeLanda again].  The argument here is that the eye gives different projections, as if it were the apex of the cone, able to distinguish the conventional circles, ellipses, planes and so on, all of which go to make up the object itself.  This insight was developed not through a new mathematics, but through a theory of shadows, however.  These shadows represent the projections, not from an eye, but from a light source.  Again this is detectable in Welles [long and complicated discussion, but basically montage offers a series of projections of the same character, while depth of field points to ‘volumes and reliefs, the bands of shadow from which bodies emerge and into which they return’ (144).]

This move to the false breaks the distinction between appearances and truth, leaving only ‘the power of the false, decisive will’ (145).  Again the forger becomes a central character.  [Lots more discussion of Welles 145 F, especially It’s All True].

Forgers and truthful men alike have exhausted the potentialities of life for an overemphasis on form.  Artists much more creative with the false, which leads to transformations.  Hence ‘the artist is…  creator of truth, because truth is not to be achieved, formed, or reproduced; it has to be created’ (146).  It is only in art that the false becomes generosity.  This power can be easily recaptured and ossified, ‘but it is the only chance for art or life’ (147).

Let us return to the story, as an element beyond description and narration.  Stories concerning particular subject object relationships and their development, and not just sensory motor schema as in narratives.  Truth becomes a matter of the adequacy of this relation.  In the cinema, the convention says that the camera sees the objective, while the character sees the subjective.  Deleuze notes this is only possible in the cinema, and not in the theatre (147).  However, the camera also has to see that character, giving objective and subjective images.  In realism, the two coincide or become identical, perhaps after a number of confusing events or trials.  Both Lang and Welles modify this realistic resolution, sometimes by refusing to end in agreement between the characters.  Pasolini developed ‘a cinema of poetry’, where the camera itself became subjective, ‘so that bizarre visions of the camera (alternation of different lenses, zoom, extraordinary angles, abnormal movements, halts…) expressed the singular visions of the character’ (149).  Objective truth is abandoned, in favour of a poetic impulse.


­­­­­­­­Deleuze on cinema verite and ethnographic film

The cinema(s) of reality sometimes claimed objectivity, and sometimes subjectivity [via points of view of characters].  This represents a documentary or ethnographic version, and the investigative  or reportage version respectively.  Sometimes they were intermingled.  However, truth was claimed, even though it ‘was dependent on cinematographic fiction itself’ (149), in other words on the resolution of the camera and the character.  There was also the character of the ethnologists reporter.  That the true itself is a fiction had yet to be realised, in [these] early notions of cinematic truth.  (150).

The new mode of story telling affected both fiction and reality in the break in cinema in the 1960s [and various forms are mentioned including direct cinema, the cinema of the lived, cinema vérité].  The notion of truth itself was being challenged in favour of an unapologetic 'pure and simple storytelling function ‘(150).  [Perrault in particular is cited here, and what he seems to be doing is letting the oppressed in Quebec, tell their story, instead of claiming it is as the truth – that concept is inextricable from colonialism].  People become real characters when they start to make their own fiction, becoming another, and filmmakers also need to let the characters tell their stories are not just pursue his own fictions.  This is ‘free indirect discourse’ of the people of Quebec (151) The same intentions are found in  cinema vérité, not a cinema that gets to the truth, but one that shows the truth of cinema (151).

A similar evolution is detectable in the work of Rouch, who began as an ethnographer.  He realised as did everyone else that the camera always has an active effect on the characters, and saw this in a positive sense, for example showing characters becoming quite different before and after particular events like an African religious ritual (Les Maitres Fous – unbelievably you can see the film on Ubuweb –see below)(151).  [There are some other extraordinary examples which I cannot relate to because I have not seen the films].  Apparently, in Moi un Noir characters can be seen inventing themselves as real characters, the more real the better they are at reinvention. In Jaguar, the characters share roles [sound a bit like the interchanging labourers in Godard’s Weekend –a black immigrant tells the story of his workmate etc].[The reinvention seems to occur afterwards when immigrants return to their homes ‘full of exploits and  lies where the least incident becomes power’ (151)]

[Dionysos by Rouch is the one to see, it seems – ‘The image of industrial society which brings together a Hungarian mechanic an Ivory Coast riveter, a West Indian metalworker, a Turkish carpenter, a German woman mechanic [it] plunges into a before that is Dionysian...but this before is also an after, like the post industrial horizon where one worker has become a flautist, another a tambourine player...’ (152) ].  Again, the time-image seem to be involved here, as the camera 'constantly reattaches the character to the before and after' (152).  Overall 'The character is continually becoming another, and is no longer separable from this becoming which merges with a people' (152). ‘The character must first of all be real is he to affirm fiction as a power...he has to tell stories in order to affirm himself all the more as real and not fictional’]

The same goes for the filmmaker, who also becomes another, as real characters replace his fiction.  ‘Rouch makes his own indirect fee discourse at the same time as his characters make that of Africa’ ( 152). Both Rouch and Perrault clearly wanted to break with their own dominant conceptions, by rediscovering lost identities and breaking of the dominant civilisation.  Both merged with the characters and became other, breaking with the conventions between film maker and characters.  Both show that process whereby 'I is another'.  A new collectivity between filmmaker and characters emerges (153).  This 'indirect' cinema breaks with conventional prose as much as does Pasolini’s poetry.

Try some actual Rouch fims now? Note that there are clips from quite a few on YouTube These are my notes:

Cimitières dans la falaise (1951) (This is about the burial practices among the Dogon. We start with the mourning rituals including the sacrifice of a chick, then see the corpse swaddled, carried ceremonially through the village and finally hoisted up the cliff and buried in one of the niches in the heavily striated cliff face over the village. Lots of human bones are there. Everyone is in poor people’s versions of everyday westernised dress. This film also dwells on the amazing natural beauty of the area, and the picturesque houses of the Dogon – so there is the danger of a bit of exoticism as well, and, of course, the easy identification with the Dogon who share our emotions etc)

Les Maitres Fous (1955) About a religious sect in Accra  --  in Ghana but adopted mostly by immigrants from Niger. The new religion is a very odd mix of cargo-cult type imitations of European goodies – Union Jacks, solar topees, rifles etc (which might be a licensed form of mockery of the colonial masters -- the mad masters) , and a kind of voodoo-like series of trances and excesses.  We see the sect leaders deciding an issue of marital rights (I think – my French is basic. There is an English commentary version and I am on its trail). Then we see the ecstatic religious behaviour of the sect members as the ritual develops – foaming at the mouth, in convulsions on the ground, savagely eating sacrificed animals etc – in heavy contrast to their appearance before and afterwards as normal (impoverished Europeanised), pleasant people, soldiers and labourers. The French commentary urges us not to judge by the standards of our civilisation – the animal sacrifices are tough to watch – and ends by saying more or less that this is what it is like to really be an African man. For me, the point was to challenge the picture of Africans as either just European like us but a bit child-like, or as primitive savages – the time dimension showed that it was both and neither pretty effectively.

Both are self-styled ethnographic pieces, part financed by serious anthropological outfits like the Musee de l’Homme.

There is an entire website devoted to this and other Rouch films here

Here is the UBUweb obit of Rouch:

Obituary: Jean Rouch

James Kirkup

THE CREATOR of at least 120 documentary films, all remarkable, the great French cineaste Jean Rouch and his works are known and appreciated by a select few among all the "fans" swarming to wallow in the latest trilogies of this and that. Though since my film-club youth I had always been enthusiastic about documentaries, it was not until June 1996 that I experienced the revelation of Rouch's incomparable cinematographic art at the Galerie du Jeu de Paume in Paris.

He was then in his 80th year, just one year older than myself, and this encounter with an unknown fellow spirit was one of the great events of my old age. The prospect of soon becoming an octogenarian filled me with excitement when I saw Jean Rouch's tall, upright figure and handsome face. It was the first of several sightings, mainly in the streets of Montparnasse and at the cafe known as Le Bal Bullier.

At the age of six, Jean was taken by his father, director of the Musee Oceanographique in Monaco, to a cinema in Brest showing Nanook of the North, Robert Flaherty's 1922 film about life in an Eskimo family. The next week, his mother took him to see Douglas Fairbanks as Robin Hood. The future film-maker was born under the twin stars of discovery and adventure.

In his youthful student days, back in Paris, he haunted cinemas and joined the circle of devotees organised by the future director of the Cinematheque Henri Langlois. However, in 1937 he entered L'Ecole des Ponts et Chaussees to train as a civil engineer. One year after the defeat of France in 1940, he managed to make his way to the West African state of Niger to construct roads and bridges.

It was there that he first succumbed to the fascination of traditional native rites. An elderly Sorko woman set out to purify the souls of 10 workmen struck by lightning - "a truly marvellous but horrifying ceremony", Rouch was later to recall -

and from that day on I realised that such an event could not be conveyed in writing or in photographs; it could only be captured on film, in colour and with sound.

In that great retrospective at the Jeu de Paume, I was entranced by the early works of what he called his "visual anthropology" from his first visionary masterpiece, paid for out of his own pocket, Au pays des mages noirs ("In the Land of the Black Seers", 1947), in which with a few friends he descends the Niger from its source to its magnificent espousals with the ocean.

By a miraculous concatenation of circumstances - through his fellow writer/ ethnologist Michel Leiris (whose L'Afrique fantome, 1934, had been an inspiration) and a joyous troupe of jazz fiends fired by black African rhythms - the film was brought to the bemused attention of the newsreel director of Actualites Francaises, who decided to schedule it, conditional upon the addition of commentary, music and the insertion of a few supernumerary indigenous animals, which gave what he considered was a suitably "colonialist" stamp of authority. The commentary was enthusiastically declaimed by the regular racing-cyclist authority on the Tour de France. Rouch rejected the result, though he accepted it as "a lesson in how not to approach the montage of a film".

His real entry upon the cinematic scene came one year later when Henri Langlois organised "A Festival of Forbidden Films" with the help of Jean Cocteau at Biarritz, where in 1949 the film that was awarded the Grand Prix du Documentaire was Rouch's ultra-realistic La Circoncision ("The Circumcision"), along with his Initiation a la Danse des Possedes ("Initiation to the Dance of the Possessed"). Rouch then composed a thesis on rituals of possession to accompany his film Les Maitres fous ("Masters of Madness", 1955), which was severely criticised for its "lack of objectivity" by certain academic ethnographers.

He was just as disrespectful of the current views of what "quality French cinema" should be with his preceding masterpieces Yenendi: les hommes qui font la pluie (Rainmakers, 1951), Cimetiere dans la falaise ("Cliff Cemetery", 1951), and Batailles sur le grand fleuve ("Battles on the Big River", 1950) - all three of which were later combined into a full-length feature entitled Les Fils de l'eau (The Sons of Water, 1958).

Jean Rouch's fame was spreading among film fanatics after he received the Venice Festival Grand Prix in 1957 for Les Maitres fous. In 1958, inspired partly by Jean Genet's 1958 play Les Negres, he made Moi, un noir (I, a Negro, 1958), which won the Louis Delluc Prize. His work had already attracted the young intellectuals and influenced the first films of the nouvelle vague including some who were to achieve fame and fortune - Claude Chabrol, Jean-Luc Godard, who was the first to welcome him to the select band of the New Wave film-makers, and the philosopher Gilles Deleuze.

"Cinema verite" was one of the terms used to express the realism of "cinema truth", a term invented by Rouch himself. It reached its full expression in a film he made in collaboration with the young sociologist Edgar Morin in 1960, Chronique d'un ete (Chronicle of a Summer, 1961), a work of radical originality set in the period of Algerian decolonisation and created entirely in the streets of Paris by means of a hand-held camera with synchronised sound. New technology had made cinema verite more than ever true to the truth.

Jean Rouch at 86 had lost some of his youthful energy but none of his wit and enthusiasm. With another great film-maker still not subdued by the constraints of old age, the veteran Portuguese master Manoel de Oliveira (a Firbankian nonagenarian), he made a film in Oporto centred on that city's Pont Eiffel, based on a poem d'Oliveira had written as a script.

En une poignee de mains amies ("In a Fistful of Friendly Hands", 1997) was a symbolic return to his first employment as a builder of bridges - he who built bridges of the creative spirit between blacks and whites all over the world. And whose final bridge was crossed in a car crash in the night in his preferred province, Niger.

Jean Pierre Rouch, ethnologist and film-maker: born Paris 31 May 1917; Director of Research, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique 1966- 86; General Secretary, Cinematheque Francaise 1985- 86, President 1987- 91; married 1952 Jane George (deceased), 2002 Jocelyne Lamothe; died Konni, Niger 18 February 2004.

Copyright 2004 Independent Newspapers UK Limited

In another tradition [Cassavetes], the filmmaker pasts' are deliberately bring together what the character was before and will be after: 'he has to bring together the before and the after in the incessant passage from one state to the other (direct time image)'(153).  In this way, both character and film maker can be long to an oppressed minority and express their views ‘indirectly’ (153).

[Another example ends this complex chapter—Shirley Clarkes’ The Connection, which I have not seen. Apparently, the film maker and the character merge, and we [the film-makers?] worry more about the human problems than the cinematic ones, so the frontier between camera and characters crossed in both directions.  Apparently, Godard focuses particularly on this crossing and displacing, as when characters merge with real interviews with actors [Masculin féminin].  It is again merging before and after 'which constitute the real'[some rather strange incompatibilities of tenses here—maybe the translator blew a fuse] (154), so that we know what people were before they were placed in the picture, and what they will be after.  There is no cinematic present, but definite time image that blurs fiction and reality, so that 'descriptions become pure, purely optical and sound, narrations falsify and stories, simulations' (155), and we see how cinema creates truth.  This is a new time-image bringing together ‘the before and the after in becoming’ (155).  This is another way in which the empirical, and normal notion of time is disrupted.

Chapter seven Thought and cinema

The new artistic cinema ties movement directly to the image, rather than any moving bodies or objects: ‘it is neither figurative nor abstract’ (156).  This automatic movement stimulates thought, ‘communicating vibrations to the cortex, touching the nervous and cerebral system directly’ [pants] (156).  This also helps cinema to exceed the other arts.

Such automatic movement ‘gives rise to a spiritual automaton in us, which reacts in turn on movement’ (156).  However, this is not the spiritual automaton as conceived in classical philosophy—‘the logical or abstract possibility of formally deducing thoughts from each other, but the circuit into which they enter with the movement-image, the shared power of what forces thinking and what thinks under the shock’ (156).

[At this point, I diverted again from this text to try and get some idea of the background to this concept ‘spiritual automaton’.  One philosopher who uses the term is Spinoza, so off I went to read Deleuze’s lectures on Spinoza, and this is what I gleaned from researching the notion of spiritual automaton in particular:

Spiritual automaton. Spinozan term and connected, everyone seems to agree, with his theory of knowledge. Aspects:

1.       Ideas have us not the other way about. As Deleuze’s lectures on Spinoza say: ‘Our everyday life is not made up solely of ideas which succeed each other. Spinoza employs the term “automaton”: we are, he says, spiritual automata, that is to say it is less we who have the ideas than the ideas which are affirmed in us’

2.       Our progression through types of knowledge (3 in all) is automatic and/or driven by desire as some objective force. As Malinowski-Charles says : ‘progress in knowledge is is not content with just one intuitive idea but is “automatically” moved to know more adequately, once one has reached a certain stage’ (162)

3.       Knowledge 1 is accidental accumulation of knowledge about what counts as good or bad conditions – what leads to joy and what to sadness [includes all the usual paradoxes – instant gratification via unwise shagging leads to ultimate sadness etc]. Sadness = diminishing our powers, joy the opposite

4.       Knowledge 2 is ‘common knowledge’ – we start to induce common qualities and aspects of our experience and to approach laws and generalisations etc. This increases our power and thus our joy. This (and/or 1) is the ‘psychological’ level? Frampton says psychological automaton refers to normal conventional thinking – not active thought at all, and says Deleuze attributes that stance to the movement-image [to unthinking participation in realism, would be better?]. The spiritual automaton on the other hand is the creative thinker, with a link to ‘automatic writing’ as creative via Artaud – a mode of thought that is ‘alien and outside normal thinking...the highest form of  thought and the way thought thinks itself’( to paraphrase the quote from Deleuze p.65). Frampton says it is attributed to the time-image, and it operates above the normal forms, with ‘pre-linguistic images’ and ‘pre-signifying signs’ (quoting Deleuze) –shades of Kristeva’s semiotic chora here?

Actually, this looks quite like a C17th version of US pragmatism to me, driven by the need to expand ourselves etc., although pragmatism is confined to rational thought. [See Semetsky 2006 on this] There is even a strange bit in Deleuze’s lectures where he talks of us acquiring enough knowledge from another to become a third individual.

5.       Knowledge 3 is something like an intuitive grasp of how we know things, a reflexive understanding of how knowledge 2 is derived. This is also joyful – jouissant one might say. This is the ‘spiritual ‘ level - -knowledge of ourselves at one with God for Spinoza (remembering God=nature)


Deleuze, G. (nd) Lectures, [online]

Frampton, P (2006) Filmosophy , London: Wallflower Press [looks good – must read it properly some time]

Large W. (nd) Spinoza ( begins with Lecture 1) [online]

Malinowski-Charles, S. (2001?) The Circle of adequate knowledge: notes on reason and intuition in  Spinoza, [online] The same lady has some lectures on YouTube on Spinoza

Apparently, cinema gives us this specific capacity to think—‘It is as if cinema were telling us: with me, with the movement image, you can’t escape the shock which arouses the thinker in you’ (156), and all this attached to ‘the art of the “masses”’ (157) [So we have a strong argument for the radicalising effect of art especially the cinema? Deleuze argues that the normal limits of thought, including ideological limits maybe, can be broken through -- by the shock of the new, by its effects on an automatic form of raising thinking to the self-conscious and critical, and by this dodgy claim about a direct physical or neural effect through vibration to the cerebral. [What a political and educational tool the cinema would be if this were true!! How much more likely, however, that the old commodity forms intervene, like Adorno claimed in his debate with Benjamin on the cinema, and turn the shock of the new into titillation or Bourdieu on how experimental art becomes only for the elite because you need cultural capital to grasp it.]

[Deleuze knows the problems]. After early optimism in people like Eisenstein, critics were already predicting ambiguity, ‘”formalist antics” and commercial considerations of sex and blood’ (157).  And the cinema was becoming a tool of propaganda.  Its liberating potential remained merely a logical possibility.  However, the sublime nature of cinema was recognized [by whom? Critics?] —‘the imagination suffers a shock which pushes it to the limit and forces thought to think the whole as intellectual totality which goes beyond the imagination’ (157).

Eisenstein is one example.  The images are shocking in themselves, or in the contrast between them.  Alluding to the notion of time forces on us new thoughts about the whole.  Montages represent ‘the unity of a higher order’, imitating the intellectual process itself.  Images make us feel as well as see and hear [an example of the idea of a shock wave, and nervous vibration, which apparently works by setting up harmonies in the cortex (158)].  Eisenstein thinks this out in terms of dialectics. There is a second movement too involving affect, or rounding out of the intellectual process through passion—intellectual cinema also involves emotional intelligence [sic] (159).  The images themselves have a pathos or ‘drunkenness’, offering ‘a primitive language or thought, or rather an internal monologue, drunken, working through figures metonymies, synecdoches, metaphors, inversions, attractions’ (159). 

Eisenstein thought this was particularly likely with cinema, and attached to the film itself rather than any individual aspects, a spiritual automaton, ‘a truly collective thought’ (159).  He evokes the powers of imagination through a ‘visual music’, which provides ‘an affective charge which will intensify the sensory shock’ (159). This ambition is also found in dreams or fantasies in cinema [especially surrealism].  Cinema may be limited by focusing on metonyms rather than metaphors [having to literally indicate clouds and scowling faces, to use one of Barthes’ examples].  However, criticism here often assumes that images are utterances again: some images can connect to the whole, as Eisenstein does.  Again this is a matter of establishing affective harmonics between images.

There are also more direct metaphors—a saturated life jacket stands for a womb in a Keaton film (161).  This is not just a matter of expression which the author uses or the audience has to detect, but some sort of circuit integrating thought into the image (161). [Somehow] ‘a circuit which includes simultaneously the author, the film and the viewer is elaborated’ (161).  Apparently, self consciousness and the unconscious are united in a ‘dialectical automaton’ (161).  This circuit itself is not the only possibility—the image and the concept can become identical, in ‘action – thought’, a matter of relations between man and nature at a high level (161), showing the ‘reaction of man to nature, or the externalization of man’ [the example is Battleship Potemkin – a very odd discussion 162, with the natural elements of wind and water infused with revolutionary fire. I always think film critics have given up when they have to resort to this tired old formula of the elements of nature].  In this way, cinema manages to unite the masses and nature, ‘to reach the individuate a mass as such instead of leaving it in a qualitative homogeneity or reducing it to a quantitative divisibility’ [clear as fucking mud] (162). Eisenstein was then accused (by Stalinists) of idealism, replacing history with abstract conceptions of the masses.  In the future, he was to focus more on properly dramatic heroes such as Ivan or Nevsky but without bourgeois conceptions as in US cinema.

So we have 3 relations with images  – with wholes grasped by higher thought, thought connected to unconscious affect, and relationships via action with nature – ‘Critical thought, hypnotic thought, action thought’ (163).

Only if the images are arranged properly, through harmonics [in a musical sense as well as in induction in physics, it seemsor even, God help us, an idea Deleuze got from one of his favourites, Leibniz. The Wikipedia article on Leibniz – and I don’t think I want to go any further right now at least --  has this quote: "[T]he appropriate nature of each substance brings it about that what happens to one corresponds to what happens to all the others, without, however, their acting upon one another directly." (Discourse on Metaphysics, XIV) A dropped glass shatters because it "knows" it has hit the ground, and not because the impact with the ground "compels" the glass to split] or metaphors, can they achieve knowledge of the whole.  Otherwise action becomes melodrama, with individual heroes and operating at the psychological level—this is what Eisenstein says of Griffiths.  What is achieved instead requires dialectics.  In American cinema, the hero has to exercise higher thought through inference or comprehension.  However, Hitchcock’s cinema also linked action images and ‘mental relations’, without using dialectic (164).

These radical hopes may not be apparent any more.  Instead we have arbitrary images, mere representation.  ‘Cinema is dying, then, from its quantitative mediocrity’ (164).  Mass art has become state propaganda and manipulation—‘Hitler and Hollywood’.  ‘The spiritual automaton became fascist man’.  Even artists like Riefenstahl were affected.  Such perversions of the cinema discredited movement images. Or perhaps this was because movement images were already compromised, and inevitably linked to war, propaganda and fascism, as Artaud suggests.  He suggested that cinema must avoid both abstract experimentalism and commercial figurative cinema in order to retain shock and thought.  Surrealist cinema got close, but dreams are too easy and reflect the tension between the unconscious and repression.  Instead, cinema should develop the equivalent of automatic writing—‘the higher control which brings together critical and conscious thoughts and the unconscious thoughts: the spiritual automaton’ (165) [and there is a mention here of the film he made with Dulac –La Coquille et le Clergyman,which you can see on the invaluable Ubuweb here].  Artaud stresses the powerlessness of thought in the face of cinema, and argues that the best cinema reveals that powerlessness: ‘the spiritual automaton has become the Mummy’ (166).

Expressionism had already suggested that thought is being reduced to simple opposites, and surrealism wanted to contrast thought with the creative unconscious, but Artaud goes further.  Cinema reveals the dissociation of thoughts, multiple voices.  Cinematic shock can only reveal ‘the fact that we are not yet thinking, the powerlessness to think the whole and to think oneself’ (167).  But this lack of power forces us to think, forces us to realise the inadequacy of the thinking self.

These questions have arisen in literature and philosophy too.  Cinema approaches the question differently, at least in its ‘essence…  Which is not the majority of films’ (168).  Thought is central to this essential cinema.  It disturbs the world, and offers creative possibilities, through the ‘power of the false’ discussed earlier (168).  Cinema shows its own impossibility.  [The examples that follow discuss Dreyer, Schefer, and Kurosawa, 169.]  The common themes seem to be cinema that shows blank snowstorms or mists as some sort of incoherent thought material, a suspension of the world.  Somehow this has got something to do with ‘the ordinary man in cinema: the spiritual automaton, “mechanical man”, “experimental dummy”, Cartesian diver [sic] in us, unknown body which we have only at the back of our heads’ (169)].

This new experience arises because images are no longer realistic, but purely visual.  We become seers, ‘confronted by something unthinkable in thought’ (169).  This is intolerable at first but soon  becomes ‘the daily banality’, and it is normal to feel we are not ourselves in the world.  We have to think of new relations with the world.  In this way, the absurd provokes thought.  In this way, powerlessness leads us ‘to believe in life’ (117) [more on Dreyer ensues, 117 F].  For Rossellini ‘the less human the world is, the more it is the artist’s duty to believe and produce belief in a relation between man and the world’ (171).

Cinema has also affected belief.  Lots of authors and directors are Catholic, for example.  Cinema replaces ‘the circuit of the cathedrals’ in showing us links between man and the world.  Most of us no longer believe in this world—‘the world…  Looks to us like a bad film’ (171).  The characters in Bande a part show us that they are real, while the world is ‘living a bad script’ (171), quoting Godard.  The world appears to us as a pure optical or sound situation, and its reality becomes a matter of belief.  Hence ‘the cinema must film, not the world, but belief in this world, our only link’ (172).  We all need reasons to believe in the world, and cinema has helped restore our beliefs.  Rossellini has argued this specifically, that he is less interested in knowledge than in belief, eventually Christian belief.  Godard treats as equal good and bad discourses, to show that belief matters.

Beliefs concerns not other worlds, but the body, the flesh, something prior to discourse.  In Hail Mary, Godard shows what Mary and Joseph said to each other before the divine impregnation.  ‘We must believe in the body, but as in the germ of life…  ‘ (173).

The cinema abandons sensory motor links, organic compositions figures and metonymy, internal monologues as descriptive material.  Thus depth of field is not so much metaphoric or figurative but ‘theorematic’ (173).  The film becomes a theorem rather than an association of images, thought becomes immanent.  Cameras take on signifying movements of their own ‘high angle shots, low angle shots, back shots’ (175).  Pasolini developed this theorematic approach best (discussed 174). 

It is not only theorems but problems that are developed—problems introduce events which become cases from the outside, while theorems operate internally [examples 175].  The outside is also the source of belief.  It is depicted in sequence shots, either as depth of field or planitude.  The example is the cone, again, with either the eye or a light source added to point.  This exceeds the naturalistic observation, and this breaks ‘sensory motor space’ (176) [lots of obscure examples 176 F].  Problems involve choices, ‘existential determinations’ (177) [more odd examples 177].  Choices are used to develop ‘a cinema of modes of existence’ (177).  Choices are depicted not only in the characters, but in the form of cinema itself, in matters such as ‘the reign of the flat image cut off from the world…  of the disconnected and fragmented image…  a crystalline or miniaturised image’ (178).

Again it is the automatic character of cinema which makes these matters possible.  The unthought can be revealed, unlike the theatre.  This is a consequence of ‘properly cinematographic automatism’ (178)—images automatically produce material from the outside which becomes unthinkable.  The whole is now the outside, but depicted this time as ‘the interstice between images’ (179).  Godard deliberately chooses images which induce such an interstice [the example is Ici et ailleurs].  The indiscernible, the frontier becomes visible, and the whole ceases to be a simple unity, but rather the constitutive element that joins things.

Talkies added other possibilities.  Noises could be seen as external to the visual image, or as that which constitutes the link between visual images, as in the voice off camera.  However, in modern cinema, there is often a deliberate interstice between sound and image.  Thus Godard says ‘mixing ousts montage’ (181).  Thus interstices can arise between sound and image as well as within sound and image.  There can still be rational cuts [borrowed mathematical term], which ‘forms part of one of the two sets which it separates (end of one or beginning of the other)’ (181), or irrational cuts, which belonged to neither set: false continuity is an example.

As long as the whole represents time, rational cuts and relations can still apply.  However, depicting the whole as the outside, occupying interstices, is a ‘direct presentation of time’, and this produces irrational cuts in sequences in a nonchronological time.  Thoughts gives way to an unthought, and an irrationality in thought, a point of outside, which requires belief.  In this way cinema restores belief, through a cinema of the inexplicable, undecidable, unsummonable or incommensurable.

The internal monologue is also dislocated.  Such a monologue used to offer a description of the film ‘which encompassed the author, the world and the characters, whatever the differences or contrasts’ (182).  This was lost when the internal monologue became stereotyped or clichéd.  A more positive transformation took place when the internal monologue featured sequences of independent images, no longer harmonised, but dissonant and irrational, permitting no metaphor or figure.  [The example is Weekend, where metaphors between blood and red colours are specifically denied, depictions of cannibals and criminality are shown literally – like the plonkingly literal car accident sequence?]. 

The images become a series which may or may not be working.  It may represent current opinion, class perspectives, indirect or direct expressions of an author.  The unity of the internal monologue by is replaced by ‘a free indirect vision’ (183).  For example, the author can express himself through an independent character, or allow the character to speak for himself—the first example is [misleadingly says Deleuze] called direct cinema, as in Rouch, the second atonal cinema in Bresson. 

Pasolini deliberately replaces internal monologue with the diversity and otherness of free indirect discourse.  Godard develops free indirect vision in a number of ways.  He borrows from the idea of dominant genre—musical comedy, strip cartoon—although there are often sub genres.  Genre here limits images.  [An example of the dance in Godard in Bande à part shows transitions between genres, and genre is also indicated through ‘pre-existing images, more than the character of the present images’, such as scenery].  Genres become categories which progress through some logical table, as a series, each marked by a category.  Godard moves from problems to categories, and then back to problems.  These categories are shaped for each film.  They must relate to each other and not be arbitrary.  Often, ‘the written word indicates the category, while the visual images constitute the series’ (185) [must try this on Pravda] .  The series pass from one to the other, meaning that the categories do.  The idea is to ‘introduce reflection into the image itself’ (186).  The genres are often depicted using cinematic conventions, but they can sometimes be psychic faculties like forgetting and imagination.  Sometimes original individuals act as thinkers, who intercede and individuate categories [heroes in Breathless, or Vivre sa Vie are the examples]. Les carabiniers depicts the categories of war.  Specific things or colours can stand for categories (186 F).  Narratives are abandoned, but films are still ‘novelesque’, for example with their chapters and titles.  [Novels are defined by Bakhtin, apparently, as having different sorts of echoes of languages, such as everyday, and specific to classes or groups, and while the characters express themselves in the author’s discourse and vision, so the author has a form of indirect expression in the characters.] Godard’s characters are often reflective and thus bring together the author, character, and the world.

Chapter eight.  Cinema, body and brain, thought

Looking at bodies forces us to think, and can reveal the very ’categories of life’ (189).  We learn what bodies are capable of through posture and gesture.  Bodies also indicates time ‘the before and the after, tiredness and waiting’ (189) Antonioni is especially good at communicating an interior through behaviour, as an index of past experiences.  It also is another way of relating to the outside.

The cinema also offers a theatrical version of bodily action, as a crystal image.  This makes actual bodies ‘disappear’ [what a fancy way of saying become less important!] (119) [then there is a reference to Bene whose work I do not know—apparently he offers parody and the grotesque, in order to reveal ‘the third body, that of the “protagonist”, or master of ceremonies’ (190)].  In this way, the cinema is more theatrical than the theatre itself, since the cinema creates this body.

Experimental cinema has particularly explored the notion of the ceremonial body—for example, Warhol’s 6 ½ hour film of the sleeping man.  [Other directors are mentioned too].  The depiction of the everyday also offers a theatricalisation of the body, especially underground cinema with its themes of ‘drugs, prostitution, transvestism’ (192).

The key concepts here is gest, as in Brecht.  [Some of the background reading I glanced at defined ‘gest’ as both ‘gesture’ and ‘gist’.  It refers to a series of gestures, postures and acts that the actors themselves develop to explain and context -- in a marxist sense for Brecht-- and comment upon the script].  Deleuze sees these as offering a series of behaviours which acts somehow independently of the plot, showing ‘the development of attitudes themselves…  Independently of any role’ (192).  Cassavetes is the admired director here, especially Faces—the faces express a number of attitudes and the social gest which contexts them.

The French new wave has also developed a ‘cinema of attitudes and postures’ (193), to the extent of influencing the scenery and the set so that they allow particular postures to be displayed.  ‘The body is sound as well as visible, all the components of the image come together on the body’, especially in Godard [although I have seen most of the film’s mentioned, I don’t understand this section at all.  Rivette is also mentioned, especially L’amour fou, which is apparently about showing people passing through a number of postures.  I thought myself of the amazing rehearsal sequence in Lynch’s Mulholland Drive, where we are shown an actress learning the script in a fairly wooden way, and then turning that into a marvellous performance, which includes body postures, when she is auditioned.  It might also be that Godard’s Brechtian staginess is being described here.  I must confess I have never seen First Name Carmen].

Godard also develops visual and sound into a ‘pictorial and musical gest’ (195).  In this way, ‘the gest is already a different time image, the order or organisation of time, the simultaneity of its peaks, the coexistence of its sheets’ (195).  It is also possible to break the gest up, back into specific attitudes [I am baffled by this whole section].

The post new wave also worked on these themes [I do not know the work of any of the authors]. Apparently, Akerman has shown how postures can indicate both conventional gender roles and opened possibilities, leading to a ‘female gest which overcomes the history of men’ (196).  In general, female directors have ‘produced innovations in the cinema of bodies' (196)  which involves them separating from the usual gest.  There is also a cinema of the body [involving directors such as Eustache] which depicts ceremonies in the style of cinema vérité, but focusing on attitudes and postures rather than speech [large incomprehensible bit here again, I am afraid, referring to ‘the diptych form of such cinema—the two panels apparently indicating different times, childhood and adolescence, say, 197-8]. The post new wave can be defined as developing this particular structure—‘”posture – voyeurism”’ (198). Garrel is the director here [discussed 198-200].

Apparently, this cinema also minimises actual images and reintroduces blank screens or white screens as some kind of dialectic of counterparts with images.  This is an example of what was discussed earlier—the interstice, the irrational cut.  Apparently, black screens, for example are used in a sequence which includes underexposed images.  In this way, it stands for the ‘constitution of bodies’ (200).  This is an important positive step, helping to restore our belief ‘in the world and in vanished bodies’ (201).

So this sort of cinema [Garrel’s] helps to redress an old debate about the difference between cinema and theatre—cinema lacked the presence of actual bodies.  However, cinema suspends normal perception, and thus is able to allude to the genesis of bodies, the birth of the visible [an example of the unthought].  This is the view of Schefer [pass].  Again it is belief that the cinema offers in particular.

[There are then sections on Garrel and Schefer, 202f, which talks about their interest in geometry, of the cinema and of the world.  This takes in how the camera moves and how it constructs space].

There is a discussion of the space between the characters, including those where the character is caught between a set [the only one I know is Jules and Jim. Doillon I know not].  There can be a ‘zone of indiscernibilty’ for the marginal character (203).  This is another break with naturalism and the cinema of action—there is no well constructed hodological space, but overlapping perspectives, ‘a pre-hodological space...  Which does not point to any decision of the spirit, but to an undecidability of the body’ (203).  Apparently, Doillon shows this space best.

Cinema is also interested in the brain, in intellect and thought.  Eisenstein already had claimed to be developing an intellectual cinema, and Godard the cinema of the body.  It is not just that one is abstract and one concrete.  Both can be included, or a number of distinctions between them made.

Antonioni thinks that the brain and the body work at different paces, the first more flexible than the second, which is trapped inside old values or myths.  This is why he depicts tired and worn out bodies, and why he uses colours as indicators of creativity and potential.  However, this might be a purely personal code.

Brains and bodies are connected for Deleuze—‘There is an equal amount of feeling in both of them’ (205).  Kubrik is discussed here, 205 F.  The most interesting bit refers to Clockwork Orange—‘the insane violence of Alex…  Is the force of the outside before passing into the service of an insane internal order’ (206), and ‘The end of [2001:] Space Odyssey, it is in consequence of the fourth dimension that the sphere of the foetus and the sphere of the earth have a chance of entering into a new, incommensurable, unknown relation, which would convert into a new life’ (206)—so now we know at last!

Resnais depicts landscapes as mental states, constantly relating outsides and insides [detailed discussion 207].  For him, memory is best seen as a membrane, putting sheets of the past and layers of reality in contact, making them communicate.  One theme is that people move from liberating themselves from the inside layers to meet death from the outside.  In this way, his characters are philosophers—‘beings who have passed through a death, who are born from it, and go towards another death’ (208).  Resnais has therefore invented ‘a cinema of philosophy, a cinema of thought’ (209). [Bizarre and delirious slippage from cinema to philosophy in the French mode in my view]

Although death is a limit, life is also depicted as mixed up sheets of internal life and external world, generating ‘flashes of life’ (209).  This is what he means by an intellectual cinema, following developments in understanding of the brain.  The classical conception of thinking saw it as occupying two dimensions [darw a 2 by 2 table] —‘integration–differentiation’ and ‘similarity and contiguity’ (210), and these concepts go over into images.  There are various more dynamic versions of this model, including Eisenstein and the spiral or dialectic.  This classical model appears in say linguistics, as ‘metaphor and metonymy (similarity – contiguity), and… syntagm and paradigm (integration – differentiation)’ (211).

There are now new topological models of the brain. Integration and differentiation are now seen more as relations between interiority and  exteriority [and then, oddly, to an absolute notion of interior and exterior, 211].  Association encountered new ‘cuts’ in the continuity of the brain leading to new ‘uncertain’ models. Generally, the brain became thought of as ‘an acentred system’ (211). In this way, the brain ceases to be some master organ. It is now a matter of outside forces affecting our interior views of wholeness, and ‘breaks’ in association processes. Both are found in the new intellectual cinema [Téchiné and Jacquot – dunno either. Discussed 212f, then Resnais again]. [Classic kind of French intellectual idealism here, just like Barthes – ideas in science emerge somehow in philosophy, cinema and popular thought – he says he doesn’t know which way round the influence was with brain science 212].

Back to the differences with classical cinema and its naturalism – rational cuts between images and sometimes the occasional lacunae or voids. Time is represented indirectly [via narratives]. Modern cinema, ‘ideally’ (213) has unlinked images and the cut itself becomes important [eg as black screens] and has to be resolved by ‘literal’ images, not even metaphors or metonyms –‘relinked parcelling’ in Resnais ( 214). Images directly present time but as non-chronological. Links are made with the unthought. Outsides replace inner wholes, cuts replace association [and an alternative history of the liberation of forms from real objects to which they are linked organically ensues 214—5]. The section ends with a discussion of ‘camera-less cinema’ [not Len Lye but McLaren – don’t know him]. Now ‘everything can be used as a screen [eg the bodies of characters] and everything can replace the film stock, in a virtual film which now goes on only in the head...with sound sources taken as required from the auditorium’ (215).  Together, these changes offer the new model of thought – ‘the point–cut, relinkage and the black or white screen... together they form a whole noosphere’ (215).

Resnais and the Straubs [who they? I found out --see below] make political films which offer no clear images of peoples in the old classic way - -some virtual power or unity. These old depictions of the masses were corrupted by Nazi propaganda and by a Stalinist hijack of the people by the party, or by the loss of community in American cinema.  This became clear first in third world cinema, where the notion of the national community was always problematic.  Third world cinema sometimes confronts an illiterate or colonised audience, or finds it impossible to avoid dominant colonial language [with a reference back to Perrault].  Cinema must therefore help to invent a people.  Similarly, the old distinction between private and political is affected—now the private can become a source of the political, since no boundary separates them.  [Examples of third world cinema follow, 218 F, again, none of them known to me.  The examples seem to contradictions between family loyalties and more modern notions, and the traditional and the new are juxtaposed rather than linked in some evolutionary way].

Agitprop cinema no longer talks about becoming conscious, but of entering a trance [suspending belief in either traditional and new?].  Or depicting a crisis of identity or allegiance, the cinema of the intolerable (219).  No straightforward political solution can be offered, such as the coming to power of the proletariat: the disunity among colonised peoples is apparent, and can only be depicted in cinema as ‘a cinema of minorities’.  In black American cinema, an early phase trying to render ghettos as positive has given way to an open recognition that the cinema itself needs to be rethought.  Arab cinema ‘reveals a plurality of intertwined lines’ (220).

Many third world films offer a new understanding of memory, not even a collective one, a fragmented one which connects the outside and inside, business and the private, the more intense understanding of or shorter history [and one example is Perrault Pour la suite du monde].  It is different with third world intellectuals, who need to stop being colonised, but without adopting the values of the coloniser.  However, such intellectuals can positively construct collective pasts, at least as potentials.  

It is not enough for a film-maker just to chart as an ethnographer the myths of the colonised, nor to pursue just his own private fictional vision.  Instead, there can be a process of intercession, taking real characters, and showing how they make up myths of their own, as a positive act, as a collective utterance.  [Examples from African cinema follow, mostly those which focus on storytelling.  Again it is argued that it is necessary to develop a trance first – presumably a reference to the ecstatic state preceding religiosity, but this time, a state prior to telling stories.] Perrault’s  intercessions are an example in his work on Quebec as ‘the story telling of the people to come’ (223), an act which overcomes the abstraction of the intellectual and the private condition of the character (223).  Rouch uses the trance sequences in Maitres fous to permit story telling by the character and by the author.  This is a clear break with ethnographic cinema, even though Rouch is not really a third world author.  The different speech acts combine in a ‘free indirect discourse of Africa about itself’, and about Europe and America.  Overall, ‘third world cinema has this aim: through trance or crisis, to constitute an assemblage which brings real parties together, in order to make them produce collective utterances as the prefiguration of the people’ (224).

Chapter 9  The components of the image

[The usual serious problems with this for me – freewheeling artistic commentary on films that I don’t know, and a rather delirious discussion of how various philosophical terms may or may not fit.  I have just had to leave out an awful lot of the specific discussion The terms include heautonomy, a Kantian term, defined variously as below.  See also the commentary by Wall.

‘Heautonomy is a principle of reflective judgement according to which the subject gives itself a law ‘not to nature (as autonomy), but to itself (as heautonomy), to guide its reflection upon nature’ (CJ Introduction §V). It may be described as ‘the law of the specification of nature’ and is not ‘cognised a priori’ and thus applied to nature in the way of a scientific law. Rather it is a rule used by the judgement in order to facilitate its investigations of nature – ‘finding the universal for the particular presented to it by perception’ – and to relate the universal laws of the understanding with the specific empirical laws of nature’ ( A Kant Dictionary: Blackwell reference online:

Heautonomy - Two distinct and incommensurable, yet complementary, systems - a disjunctive synthesis. (

The theme of the chapter is relatively straightforward, charting the various combinations between Sound and image.  As usual, there is a movement away from realism and naturalism towards a more complex relationship, approaching the second definition of heautonomy at least].

In silent movies, the words written in the intertitles were often linked naturalistically to the image, although there were deliberate experiments which involved using intertitles as a kind of general commentary.  Silence made the images look natural, even when they were cinema sets.  Bazin argues that film was able to indicate in this way ‘the condition of the speech act, its immediate consequences…  [as a social comment]...  the nature of the society, the social physics of actions and reactions’ (226).  The visual images showed ‘the natural being of man in history or society’ and there was also a written discourse depicting the other planes [political?  cultural?], necessarily rendered as an indirect comment.

Talking cinema renders sound as something to be heard, something more direct, and something which allows other possibilities for discourse.  However, this audio visual combination is better seen as involving an additional dimension to the visual image, in ways which are quite unlike the theatre.  This helps denaturalise the [innocent and self sufficient] visual image.

In particular, cinema can now show human interactions, reciprocities of perspective, problems preventing communication—A ‘sociology of communication’ (227), drawing attention to the social dimensions not just the psychological ones.  There is a new ‘dramaturgy of daily life’ (227), requiring new kinds of perception [and there is a reference to American interactionist sociology and some French equivalents].  The visual is supplemented and enhanced [or in the absurd inflated terms of Deleuze, there is a ‘hypertrophy of the eye’ (227)—twat].  Interactions become apparent through speech, as an autonomous speech act rather than as an individual or socially determined process, as in the  widespread depiction of rumour in films [the example is M].  In this way, ‘the talking cinema is an interactionist sociology in action, or rather the other way around,…  Interaction is a talking cinema’ (227) [philosophy just equals life and vice versa].  [The example, from M, shows how the plot is developed by arguments and unseen comments].  The speech act can include written materials such as posters.  However, what is illustrated by speech acts is particularly problematic, since interaction itself is problematic and ‘tangled’.

This far exceeds what is offered and the theatre, and offers a genuine innovation.  The speech acts become independent of the characters, and thus able to add further layers of comment [the examples that follow, 229f, are unknown to me— Murnau and Sternberg].  This requires the visible images to be read, rather than seeming natural and obvious.  Speech acts can also depicts deceptions or lies, poorly grasped perceptions, sometimes clarified by a special acts of ‘seconds speech or voice- off’ (230).

Talkies tended to focus on ‘the most superficial social forms…  Encounters with the other…  Pure forms of sociability necessarily passing through conversation’ (230), which provides an absence of social determinants, except as aspects of interaction.  Conversation therefore becomes ‘schizophrenic’ [presumably, a critical terms here, quite unlike the celebration of schizophrenics in Anti– Oedipus?].  Conversation suspends interactions based on social identity, especially whether people are separated and social division suspended, as in small talk [I think—231].  It is this form of conversation that cinema is particularly good at, and that was developed into definite genres such as comedy.

Conversation becomes an active element in itself, stimulating subsequent interactions such as amorous encounters or comedic ones—conversation becomes witty and disorienting, crazy.  This kind of detached conversation can even appeared democratic, a mild form of confrontation between nations all social classes, constituting individual subjects by the use of accents or intonations, or even making subjects blank, or  abstract (232) [one example is the witty by-play between Bogart and Bacall in The Big Sleep].

Talk adds dimensions, as much as does depth of field, and this has led to flatter images in cinema.  However, it can also take on the role of revealing or seeing.  It does so in a particularly direct way, which ‘hollows out space.  Bogart’s voice at the microphone is like a guided missile which strives to reach the woman in the crowd’ (233).  Speech forces a path through, almost as something visible itself.

There are also noises and music as well as words.  Noises can isolate an object.  The three elements need not be combined in a complementary way.  Noises can become the characters themselves [the example is a Tati comedy].  Words, noises and music might be better considered as located on a ‘single sound continuum, whose elements are separated only in terms of an ultimate referent or signified, but not of a “signifier”’ (234).  In Godard’s cinema, words and music can conflict, or combine.  Sound therefore emerges as a dimension in its own right, with its own paths  and obstacles.

Sounds can also allude to something out of field, something not seen visually—the obvious example is the voice – off, but there are also noises-off.  Sometimes these noises extend the space seen in the image, such as the noise of an oncoming vehicle.  Sometimes there is a different relation, or connection to the whole, ‘to the duration which is expressed in space, to the living concept which is expressed in the image, to the spirit which is expressed in matter’ (236): often this is music, but it can be a reflecting or commenting voice.  Extension or allusion to the whole [in Deleuzian language an’ actualisable relation with other possible images, realized or not, and a virtual relation with the totality of images which is unrealisable’ (236)]  act as two directions for sound—Godard apparently said that therefore two soundtracks are needed [I suppose one of his 'allusions to the whole' occurs in Pravda, where two offscreen characters narrate and occasionally read bits out of works like Grundrisse, referring to the debate about economic determinism].

These two aspects constantly communicate and restore the continuum [I think the examples refer to the voice off which is either concrete and located, or becomes abstract and omnipotent, or music at first seen as resulting from an actual musician, and which then goes out of field and accompanies people—237] [We amateurs just calling this dubbing a continuous soundtrack on to edited visuals].  All these possibilities help us to read the visual image.

However, there is another relation which reverses this priority, where the visual image helps us understand the sound elements, especially if music.  To recap, movement images necessarily have the same two sorts of relations to material out of field—one which rounds off an image [relative out of field], and one which refers to a changing whole [absolute].  However, these images can equally be seen the other way around, as elements of the whole.  Time is only indirectly represented, and expressed in movement images.  The same can apply to cinema music.  In silent cinema it simply corresponded to the visual image, but in sound it is emancipated and can allude to the whole itself, forming some analogy to the visual, helping us read the visual.

However, visual images themselves express wholes—so is the music redundantly echoing the visual , or rather ‘expressing the whole in two incommensurable, and noncorresponding ways?’ (239).  Nietzsche's accounts of visual images can be deployed here [bizarre—visual images can represent the whole indirectly, in an Apollonian sense, while music is Dionysian, representing some ‘inexhaustible Will’ (239)].  This has inspired some musicians [French ones, 239] to see cinema music as necessarily suggesting something beyond what is seen in the film, having no simple correspondence, but offering more of a reaction to the images, stimulating movement, acting as an irritant, a matter of ‘contrast…  conflict…  [or]... disparity’ (240).  [Examples are as mystifying as ever, but turn on filmmakers who have tried to open a ‘”pathetic distance” between music and images’—I could only think of calm classical music accompanying  excessive violence in Clockwork Orange.  Apparently this shows how music can also represents time indirectly as a changing whole].

Other sound elements can have the same functions, including voice—Garbo’s voice was ‘capable not only of expressing the internal, personal change of the heroine as affective movement, but of bringing together to form a whole the past, the present and the future, crude intonations, amorous cooings, cold decisions in the present, reminders from memory, bursts of imagination (from her first talking film, Anna Christie)’ (240) [just from its sonic qualities?  Nothing to do with the dialogue?]. 

There is no contradiction between the notion of a continuum and that of an irritant—the continuum becomes an irritant when it refers to some absolute out of field, while the absolute continually reconstitutes the sound continuum in order to relate to the visual images.  The visual remains dominant, but relations between image can become ‘rich and complex’ in talkies.  This still means that we cannot use conventional understandings of language, seeing images as simple utterances – the visual instead constitutes ‘the utterable of language’ (241).

Modern cinema did not begin with the talkie.  It offers a new way of using sound and images, making sound autonomous and able to directly represent and interact with the visual. There is also a special use of the voice—‘the free indirect style’, a combination of direct and indirect [discussed further, with examples, 242].  Sometimes characters talk about themselves in the third person, sometimes characters appear to hear their own words reported by someone else.  This happens because of the decline of the sensory motor schema to govern speech, so that a separate sound image emerges.  It is not even a matter of reflection, but speech becomes a matter of (political) story telling, as in Rouch or Perrault.

This decline also liberates the image [argued above]. Images can now allude to various strata of space including ‘deserted layers of time’ (244) and to asw. The present is made up of fragments from these strata [loads of lyrical examples 244f – landscapes which represent the past. In Straubian cinema ‘the earth stands for what is buried in it’ ( 244) ]. However, non-naturalist images and sequences have to be actively read. This involves  ‘a perception of perception, a perception which does not grasp perception without also grasping its reverse, imagination, memory or knowledge’ [a posh elite form of media literacy, not as vulgarly analytic, no doubt requiring loads of cultural capital] (245) , especially since sound no longer simply helps the visual to be read and becomes independent itself. Sometimes modern cinema reverts to the practices of silent cinema (such as intertitles etc) –but it is still the whole image which must be read in this active way, not just the [formerly privileged] written bits. The same audio visual image can indicate the new arrangements of the visual and of speech.

I had not come across the work of Straub and Huiliet before, but I found one of the films in full, with English subtitles on YouTube -- Klassenverhalftnisse (Class relations - I think Deleuze calls it Amerika, rapports de [sic] classes -- it is based closely on Kafka's novel, Amerika and is well Kafkaesque. It displays many of the charateristics of 'modern' cinema listed by Deleuze -- immobile cameras start and continue rolling after the characters have walked into and out of shot, often focussing on landscapes. The dialogue and acting is very flat and wooden (except for the hotel manager). For a long time, nothing happens - the characters more or less stand there in frozen poses and recite their lines very calmly or say nothing, in a quite jarring and ludicrous way  -- see below. They are smartly dressed, incongruously.  I saw this in classic Brechtian terms, as an attempt to alienate or shock the viewer.

There are noises off when the characters stand and listen -- the US national anthem is played in full as the ship docks, a political parade passes by unseen.

The story concerns a young man wandering in America and discovering its dark side -- poor industrial relations and work conditions. For a while it turns into a road movie.  There is also an underclass of wandering beggars and jobseekers who drag the naive young man down still further so it gets a bit noirish. His life is just a series of ecounters and the film ends with him on a train seeking work elsewhere (while the camera looks out of the window for minutes on end).

Deleuze talks about the film as resistance to the text (Kafka's novel), and Straub films generally  as resistance to landscapes (in Aaron and Moses - -also on YouTube I expect). In Klassen... the nomad appears as hero, and his speech acts are political, since 'from the outset, the hero takes on the defense of the underground man, the driver [stoker ya prat] from below, then has to confront the machinations [geddit?] of the class above who separate him from his uncle' [he resists very ineptly and naively , on a moral basis alone, and soon gives up in the face of power, and also discovers the downside of the proletariat in meeting the two beggars who rob him, lose him his job, and beat him up]  (255-6); and 'In the Straubs, the class struggle is the relation which keeps circulating  between the two incommensurable images, the visual and the sound, the sound image which does not tear the speech-act from the speech of the gods or bosses without the intercession of someone who could be described as a 'traitor to his own class'...This is why the Straubs could present their work as profoundly Marxist, even taking into account the cases of the bastard or the exile (including the very pure class relations which drive Amerika)' (259).  And see below.

This may indeed be thought-provoking [or 'formalist antics'], but if this is marxism it is a very bourgeois and sentimental version, with the usual reservations and anxieties about the underclass stealing and making people pregnant. Utter crap in my view --soggy sentimentalism and lousy politics. Inarticulate or villainous proles have to be rescued by this callow naif?

I have extended my education a bit more, and watched Une Visite Au Louvre, an extended commentary on some paintings in the Louvre. An article I have found says the script just uses the words of Cezanne. The commentary supports a lot of Deleuze's own stuff on painting as breaking with realism to allude to wholes -- muiltiplicities?. Find my notes here.

A new cinematic pedagogy is required - -and Godard and Straub have developed one (Rossellini too, but in a more didactic way, apparently 247-8.  Rossellini’s The Rise of Louis XIV shows a new world emerging, and how discourse is patterned accordingly).  The example in Godard is Six fois deux, via ‘lessons in things and lessons in words’ (248).  The technique involves relinking images ‘on top of irrational cuts, which no longer belong to either of the two and are valid for themselves (interstices).  Irrational cuts thus have a disjunctive and no longer a conjunctive value’ (248) [I just had an awful flashback to those awful delirious Kantian bits about various kinds of disjunctive and conjunctive syntheses in Anti-Oedipus].

I really like Six fois deux. Classic Godard -- people discussing what images mean with a dry, laconic commentary introducing political analysis. Rather Magritte like too as in 'Ceci n'est pas un pipe'. For example we see a shot of an assembly line and are told it is a sex film. Where is the sex?' asks one of the blokes. Destroyed by capitalism says the other. We see people shopping and are told it is a fire -- a burning desire for goods. Or we see a fish on plate with its own tail in its mouth and we are told that is capitalism, which wants to grow and consume itself at the same time. That is impossible says one onlooker -- that's the trouble with capitalism says the other, it would be easier to understand if it were not impossible.

Absolute laugh a minute!

The stages of the relations between sound and image can be summarised—a simple relation at first, but now approaching a limit, an ‘irrational cut’, seen in various visual forms.  These can include anomalous images interrupting the naturalist linkages, and black or white screens [as above].  There is a new notion of sound as well – a silence, a strange speech act [as in Klassen...?] or intercession by a particular character, an act of music, accompanying the blank screen and so filling the gap between images, a sudden use of music, sometimes used to punctuate the images (249).

Even with more didactic films which use sound as a commentary on the visual, a gap can develop.  Last Year... shows ‘a new  asynchrony where the talking and the visual were no longer held together…  but belied and contradicted themselves, without it being possible to say that one rather than the other is “right”’ (250).  The idea is to deconstruct or unhook naturalism.  Sometimes, sound and image indicate real and imaginary, or true and false, but not necessarily consistently.  Even the voice- off no longer orchestrates,  but can compete with the image; it stops being omnipotent.  It gains autonomy instead. 

In another development, sound and image become ‘heautonomous...  with a fault, an interstice, an irrational cut between them’ (251), almost providing two films in one [Duras’s claim about her La Femme du Gange, 251], a break with ‘the film of the image’.  [Deleuze denies this as a possibility, and suggest that her remark is simply 'a humorous or provocative pronouncement', 253 -- couldn't say the same for him!]

Conventional framing disappears with the conventional image, and becomes replaced by a notion of point of view.  Sometimes, this ‘disconnects the sides or establishes a void between them in such a way as to extract a pure space, an any-space-whatever from the space given in objects’ (251).  And now, sound can frame as well, via individual sound events, 'extracted from the audible given continuum' (251).  The out of field disappears with conventional framing, and with dependence on natural objects.  Instead,  limits of images are indicated by interstices between two framings [maybe one sound, one visual], or irrational cuts.  Apparently, these possibilities were made real by television [does he mean video?], although television soon ceased to be creative, and great cinema authors developed the possibility instead (and sometimes gave the techniques back to television, 252).

Again these developments show the uniqueness of cinema, and its philosophical importance.  For example, we now have new types of speech acts—interactive ones, reflexive ones and purely cinematic ones ('acts of storytelling, "flagrant offences making up legends"' (252)) ['Pure' or 'flagrant' because we can see them being made up?].  Such cinema shows us that the visual and the sound can become autonomous, even heautonomous, and linked in all sorts of non-naturalistic and complex ways.  However, they can never be totally separate, referring back to La Femme du Gange above [and a classic philosophical argument ensues: 'Otherwise, the work of art would have no necessity of its own; there would only be a contingency, and a gratuitousness, anything about anything else, as in the mass of bad arty films', 253. Classic distinction going on here - disdain for the popular etc]. Heautonomy indicates, by contrast, the power of the audio visual as a complex, 'a specific relinkage' (253).

Back to the cinema of Straub and Huillet.  Apparently, they were working on the pure cinematic utterance, different from any written form, but as a matter of drawing out this utterance from a text [and the films exampled show people reading letters, speaking as the author wrote and spoke, listening to themselves speak, reading works in a foreign language with an accent in order to emphasise ‘the rhythm or a tempo; what they tear from language is an “aphasia”’ (253).  These elements of strangeness emphasise the pure speech act.  In the work with Kafka, this speech act asserts itself against the text, 'the struggle to it must be economical and sparse, infinitely patient, in order to impose itself…  But extremely violent in order to be itself a resistance, an act of resistance' (254).  Straub uses speech to cross over visual images, emphasizing what the spaces conceal [just like  commentary?], but the visual image resists any simple speech act [the example is the way the landscape escapes simple meaning, I think, 255].

This prevents the despotism [natural authority?] of speech, a disjunction with speech, and this makes us aware of speech as a political act [sounds a bit like the struggle to name things] [the example here is Klassen... discussed above].  The speech act is deliberately offered as an act of resistance on the side of the underdog, but 'the visual image…  Develops a whole aesthetic power which reveals the layers of history and political struggles on which [the landscape] is built' (256).

Thus the audio visual image is composed of heautonomous visual and sound elements, linked by something non-naturalistic, some 'non totalizable relation' (256).  [Then a discussion on Duras ensues, 256f, and how she gradually developed the heautonomy , not complete separation, of visual and sound, despite what she said herself.  To do so, she had to leave behind her favourite setting, the house, and move to the location on the beach or the sea—importing the famous French metaphor of the grey sea.  Arty comparisons between Duras and Straub ensue, 258f.  One interesting one is that the Straubs retain Marxist commitments [see above], so that the class struggle ultimately relinks the sound with the visual, despite some non-proletarian characters. Duras abandons this focus].

So, heautonomy of sound , both speech and music, arises after a process of detachment from what is [naturally, normally, empirically] spoken, and from abandoning the dominance of the visual. It is the same with the visual. Both achieve their limits and thus become separate from each other [only heautonomous though]  – but there is a new possibility of relinkage too – ‘What speech utters is the...[normally] invisible...what sight sees is the unutterable uttered by speech’ (260). A purer form of the audiovisual arises, only possible following a radical separation. They are in a ‘free indirect relationship’, and can offer a new ‘time-image for itself, with its two dissymmetric, non-totalizable sides’ (261).

Chapter 10 Conclusions. 

Cinema is not langue or parole, but provides a kind of presupposed content which is then turned into objects—movements and thought processes as pre- linguistic images, and points of view ‘(presignifying signs)’ (262).  It presents the utterable of a language, and ‘a whole “psychomechanics”, the spiritual automaton’ (262).  It is wrong to try and grasp it is a language, especially through semiology which, by focusing on the signifier, can ‘cut language off from the images and signs which make up its raw material’.  Semiotics, by contrast, tends to focus only on this specific content of images and signs.  In cinema, images and signs are connected afresh to utterances, and these take on their own characteristics, especially when we consider sound and its relation to the visual, and the specifics of each system of images.

Cinema considered as psychomechanics [a form of pedagogy and philosophy, irritatingly referred to in terms of 'the automaton'], offers a conflict between ‘the highest exercise of thought, the way in which thought thinks and itself thinks itself’, and a kind of dominating effect on the viewer who is ‘dispossessed of his own thoughts, and obeys an internal impression which develops solely in visions or rudimentary actions’ (263)—and see the notes above on the differences between spiritual and psychological automata.  This is a more direct relation with automata than the theatre can offer, and it develops ‘the most ancient powers’ in human beings, turning them into somnambulists, or hypnotising them.  There was even an ‘Hitlerian automaton in the German soul’ partly created unwittingly by German expressionist cinema (264), and Benjamin also saw the problem, although he rendered it as the art of reproduction, of creating mass art—the masses as psychological automaton, their leader as ‘great spiritual automaton’ (264). 

Fascist cinema came to a peak with Riefenstahl and her development of the movement image.  In this way, rejecting the movement image can also be seen as a political struggle against fascism.  However, radical politics requires new associations and new mental automata, by abandoning movement images and limiting other creative powers.  Is this possible?

The notion of automata themselves have become more sophisticated, from clockwork, through motor, to cybernetic variants [see Delanda on this].  Power becomes represented as a network not as a single leader, and these were sometimes depicted in film, as surveillance systems, or Kubrick’s 2001 computer.  However, digitalisation also develops into television and the electronic image.  These in turn offer new challenges to cinema—they are reversible and nonsuperimposable, and information can be generated from any point of the image.  As a result, space loses its signifying power and becomes omnidirectional, and the sceen simply becomes ‘an opaque surface on which are inscribed “data”, information replacing nature’ (265).  Sound becomes similarly digitalised, offering new relations with the visual.  Together, these developments offer a new possibilities for thought, ‘new psychological automata’ (266).

All will be well if these new developments are deployed in the interests of a ‘will to art’ (266).  This will have to be like the one that developed the time image, and will similarly have to resist commercialism or fascism.  Some conventional cinema anticipated these developments [the examples are Bresson and others, page 266, where images were already treated highly flexibly, and events seen as data.  Godard too.  The discussion relies on of the earlier one of sound becoming heautonomous, and thus appearing non naturalistically, as supplementary data.  Some directors even began to experiment with video  -- Godard again].  This is the right way around, to develop an aesthetic before allowing the technology to dominate.

The new developments in the audio and visual systems are taken up by Syberberg as well—for example in splitting sound and visual disjunctively.  Sometimes, for example, the characters point of view is denied by the visual material projected behind—‘in Hitler, the giant furniture, the giant telephone, while the dwarf servant talks about the masters underpants’ (268).

You can see the whole film here  -but it is absoutely bloody enormous. 7 sodding hours! I can see why it is important to take as many views as possible on the appalling events, but Sontag's essay adds other possibilities. Unable to extricate himself, she says, 'excessively empathic, wallowing in 'a voluptuous anxiety about concluding'. It is a pleasant  but very arduos film, with a mixture of drama, lavish sets [Wagnerian for Sontag], puppets, clips from Hitler speeches, re-enactments, umpteen perspectives and possibilities [but no marxism or feminisms says Sontag]. I found it almost apologetically relativist [not that I have seen it all yet] -- of the 'we are all to blame' liberal persuasion.

Del;euze says : Syberberg apparently offers a whole flood of information, forming a network, a complex body of information which cannot be represented by single individuals, only by the automaton.  Thus Hitler ceases to be an individual, nor is he an effect of the totality [no nasty sociology needed obviously] , but a complex set piece of information, an image of something that can also exist in ourselves.  This means that resisting fascism could not be achieved by providing even more information, but by asking critical questions about the source and the audience [also Godardian pedagogy, says Deleuze]. [Most of this is apparent from Part 1 of the film] This is done by attempting to depict ‘a pure speech act, creative storytelling exposing dominant myths [examples from Syberberg’s Parsifal, 270].  It is necessary to present raw information,  before the Hitler myth developed.  The origin of information becomes crucial.

[Other examples, 268, include one where the split between sound and visual arts produces ‘neither a whole nor an individual, but the automaton’.  Somehow, this emerges from the combination of different sorts of information into an ‘irrational relation’]. 

The development of the new time image is crucial. Many films show combinations still with movement images, but the movement image itself is no longer the only way of referring to time, except in its conventional chronological sense, time as progression, time as a unity from montage.  Modern cinema presents time directly, in the pure state, something which produces movement.  Such depictions produce ‘false movements,  as aberrant movement’ (271).  Modern cinema therefore displays new forces of work in images, and needs new signs to do so.

The first stage is to break the connection with sensory motor schema, the action image, and classic narrative cinema.  The War produced a break with that conception (272), producing situations or spaces which no longer seemed easily connected to action or reaction.  Pure optical and sound situations resulted, to which characters respond or try to understand—they see, and encourage the viewer to see as well.  The image becomes important in its own right.  The cinema is also developing autonomously towards new forms of depiction, including new realism, new wave and so on.  Ozu was one of the first to realise how opsigns and sonsigns could represent time.

What are the connections between the images if they are no longer sensory motor?  We have long had recollection images and dream images in cinema, but these still reflected sensory motor schema, and indirect representations of time.  For the time image to emerge in its own right, it has to be connected only with its ‘own virtual image as such’ (273).  It must be divided, double sided.  It overcomes the usual splits between the real and imaginary in favour of an ‘indiscernibility of the two, a perpetual exchange’ (273), as in crystal images, with their ‘constitutive dividing in two into a present which is passing and a past which is preserved’ (274).

This is an example of one kind of chronosign, representing non chronological orders of time, its internal relations, its topology [sheets and peaks], representing not individual psychological theory but some collective ‘world memory’ (274).  Sometimes, a number of points of the present are presented, with complex relations between the past and future, through ‘quantic jumps’ (274).  Undecidable alternatives between sheets of the past, or inexplicable differences between points of present are depicted.  The distinction between the real and the imaginary gets displaced in favour of a relation between the true and false, but even this is no longer easily decided, since ‘the impossible proceeds from the possible, and the past is not necessarily true’ [in Leibniz’s bizarre philosophy].  Again,  Last Year ... is the best example to show coexisting sheets of the past and simultaneous peaks of present—and ‘Welles was master of the time image’ (275).

Other time images illustrate the nature of becoming, the transformation of the sequence into a series: the latter explains the former [basically—275].  In this sense times ceases to be merely a matter of before and after, and becomes instead the relation between the higher and the lesser power, a matter of ‘potentialization’ (275).  Again true and false become blurred, as becoming is more or less complete, more or less transformed [as it is actualised].  This also removes story telling from the simple narrative and the simple notion of true and false.  In Welles, actualization is driven through a will to power.  In cinema vérité, the act of telling the story transforms the character and the author, who both experience becoming, including becoming other.  In yet other cases, characters become elements of a gest, and vice versa.  Other elements can become parts of the series, including attitudes of the body, colours, logical categories and so on.  Individual images forms series which move ‘in the direction of a category’, and from one category to another, and each category can take part in another series of a higher power (276).

In the old realist cinema , images had two basic axes [as above, as in a 2.2 table].  The relations between them were association, resemblance, contrast and so on, and together they could make up a concept inductively—and the concept could then appear in the image itself as an example.  This is the way in which the out-of-field was referred to, as an exterior, and as a [constituting] whole, which itself changed and adapted—this was the indirect and limited representation of time.  Rational cuts  linked the images.  Everything fitted together in a commensurable way.  In modern cinema, things are more incommensurable and irrational, and series become more complex [as above], and there is no need to represent an external world.  New ways of linking images into wholes emerge, through ‘parcelling’ (277), such as the construction of [one of his wacky] series in Godard --lovely ones in images which are then discussed as misleading appearances or false communication of capitalism in Six fois deux .  In this way, thought is empowered [by not being connected to naturalistic possibilities, I think, 278].  The unthought appears as something unsummonable or radically undecidable.

Visual and sound images are particularly split or cut.  Sounds can become images themselves, instead of mere supplements.  Framing, and the notion of out-of-field are weakened, and new relations have to be considered.  Particular sound images indicates acts of speech or storytelling themselves, just as visual images allude to an any-space-whatever.  There is no correspondence between them, although there is a relation—sound images allude to speech acts, and the visual images to ‘stratigraphic or archaeological burying’ (279).  Both the images are pushed to their limit [of representation?], and thus common limits [to ordinary natural life and ways of depicting it] are displayed.  The modern cinema has to be read by thinking, philosophising viewers—displaying new noosigns and lectosigns.

How useful is it to theorise about cinema?  Godard always argues that the new directors just got on and made cinema rather than philosophising about it, even when they were writing about it.  However, this misunderstands theory and philosophy.  The usual view is that these are ready made, but both actually are a ‘practice of concepts’ (280).  Theory is not designed to guide cinema itself, but reflect upon the concepts it gives rise to, and the connections between those concepts arising from the other practices, especially if they interfere [philosophers like to systematise] .  When the great directors talk about cinema, they are doing philosophy, even if they want to deny it.  Discussion of cinema tends to shade off into philosophy.  Generally, ‘Cinema’s concepts are not given in cinema’, although they are not abstract, and not mere theories (280).  No mere technical applications, or applications of existing theories such as psychoanalysis or linguistics, can explain cinema: it requires a specific philosophical practice to do so.

A final glossary ( not that I used these special terms much):

CHRONOSIGN (point and sheet): an image where time ceases to be subordinate to movement and appears for itself.

CRYSTAL-IMAGE OR I-IYALOSIGN: the uniting of an actual image and a virtual image to the point where they can no longer be distinguished.

DREAM-IMAGE OR ONIROSIGN: an image where a movement of world replaces action

LECTOSIGN: a visual image which must be ‘read' as much as seen.

NOOSIGN: an image which goes beyond itself towards something which can only be thought.

OPSIGN: an image which breaks the sensory-motor schema, and where the seen is no longer extended into action.

RECOLLECTION-IMAGE OR MNEMOSIGN: a virtual image which enters into a relationship with the actual image and extends it.

back to Deleuze page, and on with my life...