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September 1998, Week 5


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Damian Peter Sutton <[log in to unmask]>
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Wed, 30 Sep 1998 16:44:27 +0100
TEXT/PLAIN (56 lines)
I'm still not convinced, Ed, (and other 'listers')
Deleuze makes himself clear, in the preface to Cinema 1, that
his job is not a historian's, that point is not in dispute.
Nor is the fact that Deleuze himself muddies his own water by
analysing Renoir and the time-image after he had placed the
'break' in film development at WWII.
However, he _does_ make the break, and sets this out in the
preface to Cinema 2.
On the whole, he is not absolutely clear.  (most of the
Hitchcock films his praises as being classic movement-image
stuff are in the post war period, so I quite understand the
point you make about Renoir)
Deleuze's decision to describe WWII as an appropriate
juncture is supported by his argument, but nevertheless it is
a social-historical event which marks this boundary, not a
conceptual one. Deleuze is still defining the devlopment of
film language around a historical framework. The point I
would make is that Deleuze contradicts himself, and that this
should be seen as an opportunity to view his work as
presenting a history. When Deleuze says that he is not going
to write a film history, I do believe he means that a
categorical history based on arbitrary points of invention
and social incident is not his intention. I don't think that
he would ever have been interested in such a project.
On the point of conceptual vs historical, I would say that is
is this argument which is at the heart of my original
question. In short, the teaching and research of film history
is often science based, and seems to place inventions and
developments in film language/exhibition in the realm of the
arbitrary. There is rarely a chance to examine the concepts
behind the scientific of semiotic developments.
Deleuze's valuable example of this is his discussion of
Beckett's 'Film', which itself is an attempt to make films to
a very strict conceptual framework. Whilst this is valuable,
Deleuze also intimates in his discussion of more mainstream
films that there is a conceptual framework behind the
development of film language by Hitchcock, Kubrick, and of
course, Eisenstein as exemplirs.
So my argument is precisely for the use of conceptual
frameworks alongside the sociological frameworks which direct
historical analysis. My suggestion is for the introduction of
philosophical viewpoints on Cinema history.
If Hegel is better for you, then great, but I find a certain
illumination in understanding Deleuze as seeing the
development of film language and exhbition as the 'englobant'
of a process of changing - logically progressive - concepts.
Damian Peter Sutton
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Screen-L is sponsored by the Telecommunication & Film Dept., the
University of Alabama.