cinema


cinema
  ---- by Constantine Verevis
  Following his work on A Thousand Plateaus, Deleuze's Cinema books Cinema 1: The movement-image and Cinema 2: The time-image - understand film as a multiplicity, a phenomenon simultaneously oriented toward a network of reproductive forces, which make it a-signifying totality (a 'being-One'), and equally toward a network of productive forces, that facilitate the connection and creation of an encounter (a 'becomingOther'). The first interpretation of film finds its clearest expression in two great mechanisms of cinematic overcoding - historical poetics and textual analysis - that have dominated anglophone, academicised film interpretation since the mid-1970s. Each of these approaches understands repetition as a kind of redundancy, one that contributes to the habitual recognition of the same: an industrial representational model, a symbolic blockage. Within these totalising and homogenising approaches to film, repetition (redundancy) functions as a principle of unification, limiting - but never totally arresting - cinema's potentially active and creative lines of flight. In place of these nomalising - informational and/or symbolic - accounts of cinema, another approach develops an experimental-creative understanding of film in which an attentive misrecognition abandons representation (and subjectification) to sketch circuits - and . . . and . . . and - between a series of images. The latter describes Deleuze's 'crystalline regime', an intensive system which resists a hierarchical principle of identity in the former present, and a rule of resemblance in the present present, to establish a communication between two presents (the former and the present) which co-exist in relation to a virtual object - the absolutely different.
  This direct presentation of time - a becoming-in-the-world - brings cinema into a relation not with an ideal of Truth, but with powers of the false: opening, in the place of representation, a sensation of the present presence of the moment, a creative stammering (and . . . and . . . and). These two critical interpretations of film correspond to, yet cut across, the separate aspects of cinema dealt with in each of the Cinema books. In Cinema 1, Deleuze identifies the classical or 'movement-image' as that which gives rise to a 'sensory-motor whole' (a unity of movement and its interval) and grounds narration (representation) in the image. This movement-image, which relates principally to pre-World War II cinema, contributes to the realism of the 'action-image', and produces the global domination of the American cinema. In Cinema 2, Deleuze describes a post-war crisis in the movement image, a break-up of the sensory-motor link that gives rise to a new situation - a neo-realism - that is not drawn out directly into action, but is 'primarily optical and of sound, invested by the senses' (D 1989: 4). As Deleuze describes it, even though this opticalsound image implies a beyond of movement, movement does not strictly stop but is now grasped by way of connections which are no longer sensory-motor and which bring the senses into direct relation with time and thought. That is, where the movement-image and its sensorymotor signs are in a relationship only with an indirect image of time, the pure optical and sound image - its 'opsigns' and 'sonsigns' - are directly connected to a time-image - a 'chronosign' - that has subordinated movement.
  Appealing to Henri Bergson's schemata on time, Deleuze describes a situation in which the optical-sound perception enters into a relation with genuinely virtual elements. This is the large circuit of the dream-image ('onirosign'), a type of intensive system in which a virtual image (the 'differenciator') becomes actual not directly, but by actualising a different image, which itself plays the role of the virtual image being actualised in another, and so on. Although the optical-sound image appears to find its proper equivalent in this infinitely dilated circuit of the dream-image, for Deleuze the opsign (and sonsign) finds its true genetic element only when the actual image crystallises with its own virtual image on a small circuit. The time-image is a direct representation of time, a crystal-image that consists in the indivisible unity of an actual image and its own virtual image so that the two are indiscernible, actual and virtual at the same time. Deleuze says: 'what we see in the crystal is time itself, a bit of time in the pure state' (D 1989: 82).
  In a brief example, Chinatown (1973) is a perfectly realised (neoclassical) Hollywood genre film but one that exhibits an ability to exceed itself. Chinatown can be understood as a representational and symbolic text - a detective film and an Oedipal drama. But its subtle patterning of repetitions - the motifs of water and eye - while contributing to the film's narrative economy sketch the complementary panoramic vision of a large circuit indifferent to the conditions of meaning and truth. Additionally, the film's final repetition - a woman's death in Chinatown - brings the detective Gittes' past and present together with hallucinatory exactitude to form a small circuit in which the virtual corresponds to the actual. The final act gestures toward neither a diegetic nor oneiric temporality, but a crystalline temporality.
  Connectives
   § crystal
   § time-image

The Deleuze dictionary. . 2010.

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