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September 1998, Week 5


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Tony Archdeacon <[log in to unmask]>
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Tue, 29 Sep 1998 11:59:10 +0100
TEXT/PLAIN (45 lines)
FROM DAMIAN PETER SUTTON [log in to unmask]
In reply to "Edward R. O'Neill" <[log in to unmask]>
on Deleuze.
I'll digest the rest of your comments at a later time, if I may, but
the point I would like to pick up on is the first point on Deleuze
and history.
I realise that Deleuze never professes that his work is an historical
one, and as such it is the use of a philosophy of history which I can
see his work as being useful for.
For example:
Deleuze historicizes film into two distinct periods, separated in
time by the Second World War, and in development by the achievement
of a narrational movement-image of final complexity. This achievement
he sees as being realised by the work of Alfred Hitchcock.
Regardless of his own protestations, Deleuze is writing a history of
sorts, by using the movement-image and time-image to chart the
development of the medium.
Historical problems with this approach are his starting and finishing
points (1917-80ish), whilst genre problems exist in his not dealing
with popular genres, and in particular actions films.
The last possible obstacle I can see is Delueze's insistance on
analysing the work of auteurs, the auteuerist approach being a rather
contentious method of categorisation.
My point is that the development of historical approaches to film
must be governed by a philosophy of sorts, and most often is. What
Deleuze's work provides is just such a philosophy. He is not reliable
as a taxomymist, but his ideas on the progression of film language
are very poignant. I myself am not too sure about his reasons for
placing WWII at its apex, but there clearly is a dissatisfaction
with narration involving the movement-image in the post-war period,
which is then followed by filmic experiments which explore the
perception of time in film. Once the full realism of the
movement-image is reached, Deleuze sees a desperate need occurting
for the true 'realism' predicated on the perception of time.
As an overview, the quest for the full realist effect, which is a
quest which starts with the development of the camera obscura,
through photograph and into film, can be seen as the 'englobant' of
the progress of film devdlopment. I would contest, then, that Deleuze
provides a useful philosophy of study.
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