Unformatted text preview: Wednesday, Oct. 2 The Cinema4c Apparatus Roland Barthes. The Rustle of Language. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1986, “Leaving the Movie Theater,” pp. 345 – 349. Jean-‐Louis Baudry. “ The Apparatus: Metapsychological Approaches to the Impression of Reality in Cinema.” Narra2ve, Apparatus, Ideology: A Film Reader. Ed. Philip Rosen. New York: Columbia UP, 1986, pp. 299 – 318. “Cinema4c-‐apparatus” “The cinemaUc insUtuUon is not just the cinema industry. It is also the mental machinery – another industry – which spectators ‘accustomed to the cinema’ have internalized historically, and which has adapted them to the consumpUon of ﬁlms.” ChrisUan Metz, “ The Imaginary Signiﬁer” Two seminal texts for “apparatus theory”: Jean-‐Louis Baudry’s • “ The Ideological Eﬀects of the Basic Cinemamatographic Apparatus” (1970) • “ The Apparatus: Metapsychological Approaches to the Impression of Reality in the Cinema (1975) Both are steeped in psychoanalysis, parUcularly applied to ﬁlm, and draw from philosophy when conﬁguring the relaUon between the psychological and technological components of the cinema. At the center of Baudry’s analysis is the ﬁlm spectator and he examines how the “cinemaUc apparatus” constructs its subject-‐spectator. That is, according to “apparatus theory” the ﬁlm spectator is posiUoned and produced by the cinemaUc experience and machinery. For Baudry (and psychoanalyUc ﬁlm theory in general) spectatorship is connected with the circulaUon of desire – unconscious fantasy and idenUty formaUon – conﬁgured within the imaginary projecUon that characterizes the cine-‐subject within the viewing state of watching a ﬁlm. *What’s important for us is the acUve role assigned to the cinemaUc apparatus in determining experience and the spectator. Baudry draws a number of analogies in his arUcle between the: 1) ﬁlm spectator and Plato’s cave as well as 2) the cinema experience and dream Baudry extends Plato’s cave to the cinema “a kind of cavernous underground chamber with an entrance open to light” (Plato) The prisoner-‐spectators are seated. Immobilized. Chained. (Baudry, p. 303) A ﬁre burning behind them “at some distance distance higher up” (Plato/Baudry, p. 304) The ‘operators’, the ‘machinists’ are similarly kept out of the prisoners’ sight, hidden by a ‘parapet, like the screen at a puppet-‐show, which hides the performers while they show their puppets over the top’ (Baudry, p. 304) It is the apparatus that creates the illusion, and not the degree of ﬁdelity with the Real: here the prisoners have been chained since birth. (Baudry, p. 305) “Plato’s prisoner is the vicUm of an illusion of reality, that is, of precisely what is known as a hallucinaUon, if one is awake, as a dream, if asleep; he is the prey of an impression, of an impression of reality” (Baudry, p. 302) “Cave, grogo, ‘sort of cavernous chamber underground’, people have not failed to see in it a representaUon of the maternal womb, of the matrix into which we are supposed to wish to return. Granted, but only the place is taken into account by this interpretaUon and not the apparatus as a whole; and if this apparatus really produces images, it ﬁrst of all produces an eﬀect of speciﬁc subjects—to the extent that a subject is intrinsically part of the apparatus; once the cinema has been technically perfected, it produces this same eﬀect deﬁned by the words ‘impression of reality’ […] cinema as an answer to a desire inherent in our psychical structure” (Baudry, pp. 306 -‐307) Dream State Certain condiUons make ﬁlm viewing similar to dreaming: we are in a darkened room, our motor acUvity is reduced, our visual percepUon is heightened to compensate for our lack of physical movement. According to proponents of apparatus theory the spectator (on account of his/her condiUon) enters into a regime of belief where the images experienced are accepted as the “impression of reality” Moreover, the cinema’s power of fascinaUon over the viewer doesn’t simply provide an “impression of reality” but the impression intensiﬁed by the dream-‐like state of recepUon (profound sensaUon of reality, slippage between the real and non-‐real). *The Cinema* “…the key to the impression of reality has been sought in the structuring of image and movement, in complete ignorance of the fact that the impression of reality is dependent ﬁrst of all on a subject eﬀect and that it might be necessary to examine the posiUon of the subject facing the image in order to determine the raison d’être for the cinema eﬀect […} in order to explain the cinema eﬀect, it is necessary to consider it from the viewpoint of the apparatus that it consUtutes, apparatus which in its totality includes the subject.” (Baudry, p. 312) …the darkness of the movie theater …the relaUve passivity of the situaUon …the forced immobility of the cine-‐
subject …the eﬀects which result from the projecUon of images, moving images …the cinematographic apparatus brings about a state of arUﬁcial regression (the desire to return to an earlier stage of development with its own forms of saUsfacUon) …powerlessness like in a dream (no means to act upon the object of his percepUon, change his viewpoint) …the ﬁlm image is imposed in the same way as images in dreams and hallucinaUon. (Baudry, p. 313) “In dream and hallucinaUon, representaUons are taken as reality in the absence of percepUon, in cinema, images are taken for reality but require the mediaUon of percepUon.” (Baudry, p. 316) Roland Barthes “Leaving the Movie Theater” (1975) “There is something to confess: your speaker likes to leave a movie theater.” Goes leaves cinema situaUon
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