Apertúra Film-Vizualitás-Elmélet
Spring, 2010 | Nyomtatás |

History of Cinema

Laura Marcus: How Newness Enters the World: the Birth of Cinema and the Origins of Man

The essay looks at ways in which, in the writings about film of the first three decades of the 20th century, "cinema history" overlapped with broader models of historical development. The focus is on looking at the ways in which writers on the cinema negotiated the question of the emergence of cinema as a new form of representation and perception, and at the ways some of the models and fantasies of time, history and consciousness developed on the back of the terms of "newness", "emergence", and  "coming into being".

Luc Vancheri: The extended history of cinema or the history of extended cinema?

In the article the French author studies questions dealing with contemporary films. His train of thoughts stems from the esthetic consequences of a 2006 exhibition at the Pompidou Center in Paris. The exhibition entitled "Le mouvement des images" (The movement of images) treated the influence of film on the fine art of the 20th century and exhibited the collection of the museum accordingly. In turn, it categorized the displayed works of art according to the different constituents of the movie apparatus (succession, montage, projection and narration). The author compares two aesthetic viewpoints: the opinion of the curator of the exhibition, Philippe-Alain Michaud, to that of Hollis Frampton, American experimental film director. Vancheri is looking for the answer to the question of how the concept of film can be conceptualized in the era of digital pictures, exhibited cinema, and the increasingly influential mixture of different branches of art. One approach, represented by Michaud, relies on the concept of movement, while the other emphasizes the materialistic nature of film. 

Muriel Andrin: Petrified cinema. Reflections on the arrangement of filmic works displayed as exhibits.

Muriel Andrin raises the question regarding the change of cinema's identity and the change of the audience's positions in case of filmic works displayed as exhibits. Rather than attributing it to film, museum exhibitions of cinematic images attribute movement to the audience wandering in the exhibition space of the museum. 

Oliver Fahle: The "visibility" of the world. Deleuze, Merleau-Ponty and the cinema

Olivier Fahle examines the relevance of Gilles Deleuze's works to film theory, film history, and philosophy. The aim of the undertaking is to reveal the ways Deleuze's analyses of the visible space contributed to a radical rearrangement of his philosophical investigations regarding the art of the cinema, and the ways these analyses can be connected to Maurice Merleau-Ponty's theories. 

Michael P. Steinberg - Suzanne Stewart-Steinberg: Fascism and the Operatic Unconscious

The article starts out from the interpretation of the relationship between Italian opera and the formation of the Italian national consciousness, examining the way Verdi's opera became the canonical representation of Risorgimento, and the way this operatic form became gradually empty, and finally the way in which the return of the late Puccini to monumentality and the exotic made opera into an easily exploitable tool by fascism. According to the argument, however, fascist aesthetics had a rather ambivalent relationship to opera, and managed to integrate opera into its own ideology to the extent fascist aesthetics reduced the operatic to the spectacular. The main thread of the argument is woven through the analysis of two films: Sense by Visconti and The Spider's Strategy by Bertolucci, examining the way these works confront operas with the burden of their own history.

Materialism and Signification

Peter Wollen: "Ontology" and "materialism" in Film

The article presents the perspectives of poststructuralist film semiotics. The first target of its critical attitude is the realist school characterized by the work of André Bazin, and the second is the material essentialism of the cinematic avant-garde, presented as self-reflexive. Wollen considers both approaches as unreflected and ontologizing, according to which in the given discourse canonical trends represent (different aspects of) reality in an unproblematic way. These trends are based, according to Wollen, on a critical attitude that starts from the criticism of creating illusions and forgets about the language aspect of film, and becomes ontologizing and essentialistic. This is why Wollen regard both trends as modern, partly based on their utopist faith in the possibilities of technological media. According to Wollen the alternative opposed to these approaches may be based on a Brechtian attitude: stressing the semiotic constructedness of referentiality, without the negation of referentiality. Thus instead of film-representation or film-object the focus of attention becomes the film-text. 

Pascal Bonitzer: What is the plan?

The starting point of Bonitzer's study is the double meaning of the French term plan (plane or frame, and shot as a temporal element, a segment of a film).  Although the plan  is considered as the basic unit of the language of cinema, it is defined differently by theoreticians (Bazin, Mitry), and filmmakers. Bonitzer shows the change in understanding the ontology of cinema following the change in the understanding of the plan from Griffith's close-up to Godard's inserts. 

Gyöngyi Pál: Icon and index or symbol? Where has the meaning of the photograph gone?

A theoretical gap and a major problem have appeared in the definition of photography since digital photography has spread all over the world. Some theorists even speak of the death of the medium. This essay looks at some aspects of this theoretical confusion, mainly based on French literature. Since the invention of the medium, theoretical writings have always focused on the problem of the relationship between the image and reality. The capacity of photography of capturing and showing reality has revolutionized all other tools of representation. On the other hand, the easy manipulation of digital photography has cast some doubt on the previously evident meaning of pictures, and on the legitimacy of documentary photography. French photography theories try to explain the always changing nature of signs with terms such as the "trace" and the so-called "dispositif". The limits of photography have thus extended beyond its physical manifestation.

Student's Workshop  

Péter Juhász: Representation of cultural foreignness as the common challenge of the ethnographic text and the moving image

The paper analyses some problems of the filmic representation of cultural foreignness. It makes an attempt to prove that the culturally different cinematic representation and the anthropological and ethnographic representation of foreigners are similar, and suffer to meet similar challenges. The aim of the paper is to draw attention to these parallels, and to offer points of view to the development of a system into which both filmic and ethnographic representations of foreigners may be interpreted. 

Zsóka Berta: Serial thinking in Wong Kar-wai's oeuvre

Wong Kar-wai's first film (As Tears Go By, 1988) was widely acknowledged by Hongkong viewers and critics alike, and his second work, Days of being wild gained international fame. His unique perspective, the characteristic atmosphere of his films, and the thought-provoking topics he chooses and that are detectable in his oeuvre add up to a unique corpus. The article analyses the way Wong's serial thinking creates a web-like oeuvre, in which each film can be regarded as a whole in itself, but the individual works are connected to each other in a way that they call for being treated as parts within a system. 

Tamás Bodroghalmi: Narrowing circles - Cult, Hitchcock and Cary Grant. Rise and fall of stars

The first half of the paper offers an explanation of the reasons and the possible mechanisms of the creation of cults, stressing specifically the European trend and its initial differences rooting in its cultural and historic heritage - which may offer an explanation to the ambiguous relationship of Alfred Hitchcock with stars. Hitchcock's views regarding acting and his attitude towards the challenges of the American market are addressed, as well as the ways his stars became tools in communication with the audience. Finally, the oeuvre of Cary Grant, one of Hitchcock's emblematic figures is evoked through different eras of his career. The argument addresses the question of Grant as a cultic figure of both the audience and the director.