CinematographicIdeogram

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Unformatted text preview: ..,.'_._.v-._._-- ' .a-r. ..-:_..-. >.E'_-.fi1;";¢.r_-'—‘-_ . "ea. u-u-u-u-z- . _ . ' l_. THE CINEMATOGRAPHIC PRINCIPLE AND THE IDEOGRAM IT IS a weird and wonderful feat to have written a pamphlet on something that in reality does not exist. There is, for ex- ample, no such thing as a cinema without cinematography. And yet the author of the pamphlet preceding this essay' has Contrived to write a book about the cinema of a country that has no cinematography. About the cinema of a country that has, in its culture, an infinite number of cinematographic traits, strewn everywhere with the sole exception of—its cin— ema. This essay is on the cinematographic traits of Japanese cul— ture that lie outside the Japanese cinema, and is itself as apart from the preceding pamphlet as these traits are apart from the Japanese cinema. Cinema is: so many corporations, such and such turnovers of capital, so and so many stars, such and such dramas. Cinematography is, first and foremost, montage. The Japanese cinema is excellently equipped with corpora- tions, actors, and stories. But the Japanese cinema is completely unaware of montage. Nevertheless the principle of montage can be identified as the basic element of Japanese representa~ tional culture. Writing—for their writing is primarily representational. The hieroglyph. The naturalistic image of an object, as portrayed by the ski]- ful Chinese hand of Ts’ang Chieh 2650 years before our era, 'Eisenstein's essay was originally published as an "afterward" to N. Kaufman's pamphlet, Japanese Cinema (Moscow, I919). 23 "———.____s‘__.__ .——- .. THE CINENIATOGRAPHIC PRINCIPLE AND THE IDEOCRANI becomes slightly formalized and, with its 539 fellows, forms the first “contingent” of hieroglyphs. Scratched out with a stylus on a slip of bamboo, the portrait of an object maintained a resemblance to its original in every respect. But then, by the end of the third century, the brush is in- vented. in the first century after the “joyous event" (ADJ—- paper. And, lastly, in the year zzoulndia ink. A complete upheaval. A revolution in draughtsmanship. And, after having undergone in the course of history no fewer than fourteen different styles of handwriting, the hieroglyph crystallized in its present form. The means of production (brush and India ink) determined the form. The fourteen reforms had their way. As a result: MN) In the fierin cavorting hieroglyph ma (3 horse) it is already impossible to recognize the features of the clear little horse sagging pathetically in its hindquarters, in the writing style of Ts’ang Chieh, so well-Itnown from ancient Chinese bronzes. Bur let it rest in the Lord, this dear little horse, together with the other 607 remaining brimxg cbeng symbols—the earli- est extant eategory of hieroglyphs. The real interest begins with the second category of hiero- glyphs—the Imci-i, i.e., "copulative." The point is that the copulation (perhaps we had better say, the combination) of two hieroglyphs of the simplest series is - 29- _ A ._ . . I ~4— ._ . __-....-.—--—.--—--n 30 FILNI FORM: to be regarded not as their sum, but as their product, i.e., as a value of another dimension, another degree; each, separately, corresponds to an object, to a fact, but their combination cor— responds to a concept. From separate hieroglyphs has been fused—the ideogram. By the combination of two “depictables” is achieved the representation of something that is graphically undepictable. For example: the picture for water and the picture of an eye signifies “to weep"; the picture of an car near the drawing of a door = “to listen"; a dog + a mouth 2 “to bark"; a month + a child = "to scream”; a mouth + a bird 2 “to sing"; a knife + a heart = “sorrow,” and so on} But this is—montage! Yes. It is exactly what we do in the cinema, combining shots that are dcpicritie, single in meaning, neutral in content—into intellectual contexts and series. This is a means and method inevitable in any cinemato- graphic exposition. And, in a condensed and purified form, the starting point for the “intellectual cinema." ' For a cinema seeking a maximum laconism for the visual representation of abstract concepts. And we hail the method of the long—lamented Ts'ang Chieh as a first step along these paths. We have mentioned laconism. Laconism furnishes us a tran- snion to another point. Japan possesses the most laconic form of poetry: the baikai (appearing at the beginning of the thirteenth century and known today as “haiku” or “holtltu“) and the even earlier Ignite (mythologically assumed to have been created along with heaven and earth). Both are little more than hieroglyphs transposed into phrases. So much so that half their quality is appraised by their cal— THE CINEMATOGRAPHIC PRINCIPLE AND THE I'DEOGRAL-I 3E ligraphy. The method of their resolution is completely analo- gous to the structure of the ideogram. . _ _ _ As the ideogram provides a. means for the laconic imprint- ing of an abstract concept, the same method, when transposed into literary exposition, gives rise to an identical laconism of pointed imagery. _ . Applied to the collision of an austere combination of sym- bols this method results in a dry definition of abstract concepts. The Same method, expanded into the luxury of a group of already formed verbal combinations, swells into a splendor of fraugth effect. I The concept is a bare formula; its adornment (an cxpansron by additional material) transforms the formula into an image— a. finished form. Exactly, though in reverse, as a primitive thought process— imagist thinking, displaced to a definite degree, becomes trans- formed to conceptual thinking. But let us turn to examples. The haiku is a concentrated impressionist sketch: A lonely crow On leafless bough. One autumn eve. _ nasno “That a resplendent moon! It casrs the shadow of pine boughs Upon the mats. KIKAKU An evening breeze blows. The water ripples Against the blue heron‘s legs. aU50N It is early dawn. The castle is surrounded By the cries of wild ducks. Kronor-w2 32 FILM FORM: The earlier tanka is slightly longer (by two lines): 0 mountain pheasant Iong'are the feathers trail'st thou on the wooded hill-side— as long the nights seem to me on lonely couch sleep seeking. nrroatmofi] 3 I From our point of view, these are montage phrases. Shot lists. The Simple combination of two or three details of a material kind yields a perfectly finished representation of an~ other kind—psychological. And if the finely ground edges of the intellectually defined concepts formed by the combined ideograms are blurred in these poems, yet, in mutational quality, the concepts have blos— somed forth immeasurably. We should observe that the emo- tion is directed towards the reader, for, as Yone Noguchi has . ,,. . . . . said, it IS the readers who make the bark-H’s imperfection a perfection of art." ‘ It is uncertain in japanese writing whether its predominatinrr aspect 15 as a system of characters (denotative), or as an indeii pendent creation of graphics (depictive). In any case, born of the dual mating of the depicrive by method, and the deno- tatwe by purpose, the itlcogram continued both these lines (not consecutive historically but consecutive in principle in the minds of those developing the method). Not only did the dcnotative line continue into literature, in the tanker, as we have shown, but exactly the same method (in its depictive aspect) operates also in the most perfect ex- amples of Japanese pictorial art. Sharaltu—creator of the finest prints of the eighteenth cen- tury, and especially of an immortal gallery of acrors’ portraits. The Japanese Daumier. Despite this, almost unknown to us. Thecharactcristic traits of his work have been analyzed only incur century. One of these critics, Julius Kurth, in discussing THE CINEMATOGRAPHIC PRINCIPLE AND THE IDEOGRAM'. the question of the influence on Sharaku of sculpture, draws a parallel between his wood-cut portrait of the actor Nakayama Tomisaburo and an antique mask of the semi—religious N6 theater, the mask of :1 R020. The faces of borh the print and the mask wear an identical ex- pression. . . . Features and masses are similarly arranged although the mask represents an old priest, and the print a young woman. This relatiOnship is striking, yet these two works are otherWise totally dissimilar; this in itself is a demonstration of Shataku's originality. While the carved male was constructed according to fairly accurate anatomical proportions, the proportions of the por~ trait print are simply impossible. The space between the eyes comprises a width that makes mock of all good sense. The nose is almost twice as long in relation to the eyes as any normal nose would dare to be, and the chin stands in no sort of relation to the mouth; the brows, the mouth, and every feature—is hopelessly misrelated. This observation may be made in all the large beads by Slmmlm. That the artist was unaware that all these proportions are false is. of course, our of the question. It was with a full awareness that he repudiated normalcy, and, while the drawing of, the separate features depends on severely concentrated naruralism, their proportions have been subordinated to purely intellectual considerations. He set up the essence of the psychic expression a: the norm for the proportions of the single features.” Is not this process that of the ideogram, combining the inde- pendent “mouth” and the dissociated symbol of “child” to form the significance of “scream”? 34 FILM: ronM Is this not exactly what we of the cinema do temporally, . just as Sharaku in simultaneity, when we cause a monstrous di3proportion of the parts of a normally flowing event. and _suddenly dismember the event into "close-up of clutching hands,” “medium shots of the struggle," and "extreme close-up of bulging eyes,” in malting a montage disintegration of the event in various planes? In making an eye twice as large as a man’s full figure?! By combining these monstrous ineongruities we newly collect the disintegrated event into one whole, but in our aspect. According to the treatment of our relation to the event. The disproportionate depiction of an event is organically natural to us from the beginning. Professor Luriya, of the PsycholOgical Institute in lllOSCOW, has shown me a drawing by a child of "lighting a stove." Everything is represented in passany accurate relationship and with great care. Firewood. Stove. Chimney. But what are those zigxags in that huge cen— tral rectangle? They turn out to be—matches. Taking into account the crucial importance of these matches for the de- picted process, the child provides a proper Scale for them.‘ The representation of objects in the actual (absolute) pro- portions proper to them is, of course, merely a tribute to '1: is possible to trace this particular tendency from its ancient. almost pre-historical source (“. . . in all ideational arr. objects are given size according to their importance. the king being twice as lat c as his subjects, or a tree half the size of a man when it merely ingornis us that the scene is out-of~doors. Somethin of this principle of size ac- cording to significance persisted in the liinese tradition. The favorite disciple of Confucius looked like a little boy beside him and the most important figure in any group was usually the largest." c') through the highest development of Chinese art, parent of japanese graphic arts: l_ “. . . natural scale always had to bow to iictorial scale . . . size accord- ling to distance never followed the laws oi geometric perspective but the lneeds of_ the design. Foreground features might be diminished to avoid lobstruction and overeinphasis, and far distant objects. which were too ‘ iinute to count pietorially. might be enlarged to acl: as a counterpoint o the middle distance or foreground." 7 __.__.—___...._—__.._ THE ClNEl'iiATOGRAPlIlC PRINCII’LE AND THE IDEOGRAMC orthodox formal logic. A subordination to an inviolablc order of things. ' ' d. d I ri— Both in painting and sculpture thch is a perm ic an 11'“;- able return to periods of the establishment of absolutism. is— placing the expressiveness of archaic disproportion for regu- lated “Stone tables” of officially decreed harmony. Absolute realism is by no means the correct form of percep- tion. It is simply the funcrion of a certain form of soc1al_struc- ture. Following a state monarchy. a state uniformity of thought is implanted. Ideological uniformity of a sort that C31; be developed pictorially in the ranks of colors and deSigns o the Guards regiments . . . Thus we have seen how the principle of the hieroglyph— “dcnorarion by depiction”—split in two: 'along the line of it; purpose (the principle of “denotation"),. into the prinCiplgs of creating literary imagery; along the hpe of nmetho Io realizing this purpose (the prmcrple of depiction ),.into tic striking methods of expressiveness 'used by Sliaraltu. b 1 And, just as the two outspreading Wings of .a'hyper oa meet, as we say, at infinity (though no'one has viSited SO'dlS- tant a regionl), so the principle of hieroglyphics, JDflnltCl); splitting into two parts (in accordance 'Wltllltllc function 0 symbols), unexpectedly unites again from this dual estrange- ment, in yet a fourth sphere—in the theater. _ I 1 Estranged for so long, they are once again—in the crad e period of the drama—present in a parallel form, in a curious dualism. _ _ The significance (denotation) of the action is effected by the reciting of the Iéi‘uri by :1 mice behind the stage-Tthc representation (depiction) of the action 15 effected by silent marionettes on the stage. Along with a specific manner of movement this arehaism migrated into the early Kabuki the- " It has been left to James Joyce to develop in literftwelthc depi'ctivtlz line of the Japanese hieroglyph. Every word of lturths analysts o Sharaltu may be appliedI neatly and easdy, to Joyce. ___‘_~___.TH_—_—————-nq—Wm;¢.nagfiaui I M«shLHnA-w_u4_" ' -. . __ .__- ,._.'_..," .._.._1 i_‘ u:- i. 36 ‘ FILM FORM ater, as well. To this day it is preserved, as a partial method, in the classical repertory (where certain parts of the action are narrated from behind the Stage while the actor mimes). But this is not the point. The most important fact is that into the technique of acting itself the ideographic (montage) method has been wedged in the mosr interesting ways. However, before discussing this, let us be allowed the luxury of a digression—0n the matter of the shot, to settle the debated que5tion of its nature, once and for all. A shot. A single piece of celluloid. A tiny rectangular frame in which there is, organized in some way, a piece of an event. “Cemented together, these shots form montage. When this is done in an appropriate rhythm, of course!” This, roughly, is what is taught by the old, old school of film-making, that sang: “Screw by screw, Brick by brick . . ." Kuleshov, for example, even writes with a brick: If you have an idea-phrase, a particle of the story, a link in the whole dramatic chain, then that idea is to be expressed and accu- mulated from shot-ciphers, just like bricks.3 "The shot is an element of montage. Montage is an assembly of these elements.” This is a most pernieimis make-shift an— alysis. Here the understanding of the process as a whole {connec— tion, shot-montage) derives only from the external indications of its flow (a piece cemented to an0ther piece). Thus it would be possible, for instance, to arrive at the well-known conclu- sion that street-cars exist in order to be laid across streets. An entirely logical deduction, if one limits oneself to the external indications of the funetions they performed during the street- fighting of February, 1917, here in Russia. But the materialist conception of history interprets it otherwise. The worst of it is that an approach of this ltind does aetu- ally lie, like an insurmountable street-car, across the pOtenti- THE CINEBIATOGRAPI'IIC PRINCIPLE AND THE IDEOGRANI alities of formal development. Such an approach overrules dialectical development, and dooms one to more evolutionary "perfecting," in so far as it gives no bite into the dialectical substance of events. . . In the long run, such evolutionizing leads either through refinement to decadence or, on the other hand, to a simple withering away due to stagnation of the blood. Strange as it may seem, a melodious witness to both these disrressing eventualities, simultaneously, is Kuleshov's latest film, The Gay Cmmry [19:9]. The shot is by no means an elmrem of montage. The shot is a montage cell. Just as cells in their division form a phenomenon of another order, the organism or embryo, so, on the Other side of the dialectical leap from the shot, there is montage. By what, then, is montage characterized and, consequently, its cell—the shot? By collision. By the conflict of two pieces in Opposition to each Other. By conflict. By collision. In front of me lies a crumpled yellowed sheet of paper. On it is a mysterious note: “Linkage—P" and "Collision—E." This is a substantial trace of a heated bout on the subject of montage between P (Pudovltin) and E (myself). _ This has become a habit. At regular intervals he visits me late at night and behind closed doors we wrangle ovetmatters of principle. A graduate of the Kulcshov school, he loudly defends an understanding of montage as a linkage of pieces. Into a chain. Again, “bricks.” Bricks, arranged in series to expound an idea. I confronted him with my viewpoint on montage as a col— lision. A view that from the collision of two given factors arises a concept. . -l.. .._'_.--..__..- ._ -_ ...-‘.-,._..1 __'.r.. _L',x‘—Nh‘ » 38 FILM roruxr From my point of view, linkage is merely a possible special case. _ Recall what an infinite number of combinations is known in physics to be capable of arising from the impact (collision) of spheres. Depending on whether the spheres be resilient, non-resilient, or mingled. Amongst all these combinations there is one in which the impact is so weak that the collision is degraded to an even movement of both in the same direc- tion. - This is the one combination which would correspond with Pudovkin’s view. Noelong ago we had another tallt. Today he agrees with my pomt of View. True, during the interval he took the op- portunity to acquaint himself with the series of lectures I gave during that period at the State Cinema Institute. . . . So, montage is conflict. As the basis of every art is conflict (an “imagist” transfor- mation of the dialecrical principle). The shot appears as the cell of montage. Therefore it also musr be considered from the VJCWPOlnt of conflict. - Conflict within the shot is potential montage, in the devel- opment of its intensity shattering the quadrilateral cage of the shot and exploding its conflict into montage impulses between the montage pieces. As, in a zigzag of mimicry, the misc-en- scene splashes out into a spatial zigzag with the same shat— tering. As the slogan, “All obstacles are vain before Russians ” bursts out in the multitude of incident of War and Pence. ’ If‘montagc is to be compared with something, then a pha~ lane: of montage pieces, of shots, should be compared to the series of explosions of an internal combustion engine, driving forward its automobile or tractor: for, similarly, the dynamics of montage serve as impulses driving forward the total film. Conflict within the frame. This can be very varied in char- acters it even can be a conflict in—the story. As in that “pre- historic” period in films (although there are plenty of instances THE CINELIATOGRAPHIC PRINCIPLE AND THE IDEOGRALE in the present, as well), when entire scenes would be photo- graphed in a single, uncut shot. This, however, is outside the strict jurisdiction of the film—form. These are the “cinematographic” conflicts within the frame: Conflict of graphic directions. (Lines—either static or dyna'nric) Conflict of scales. Conflict: of volumes. Conflict of nmsses. (Voltanes filled with cations intensities of light) Conflict of depths. And the following conflicts, requiring only one further im- pulse of intensification before flying into antagonisric pairs of pieces: Close shots and long shots. Pieces of graphicaily varied directions. Pieces resolved in volume, with pieces resolved in area. Pieces of darkness and pieces of lightness. And, lastly, there are such unexpected conflicts as: Conflicts between an object and its dimension—and con- flicts between an event and its duration. These may sound strange, but both are familiar to us. The first is accomplished by an Optically distorted lens, and the second by stop-motion or slow—motion. The compression of all cinematographic factors and prop— erties within a single dialectical formula of conflict is no empty rhetorical diversion. We are now seeking a unified system for methods of cine— matographic expressiveness that shall, hold good for all its elements. The assembly of these into series of common indica- ‘ tions will solve the task as a whole. Experience in the separate elements of the cinema cannot be absolutely measured. Whereas we know a good deal about montage, in the theory of the shot we are still floundering about amidst the most aca— demie attitudes, some vague tentatives, and the sort of harsh radicalism that sets onc’s teeth on edge. —-. .-.......—_.._....-....I_._.- and ' I another less sample problem in counterpoint: tozmd film of acoustic: and optics. C . - I) I -- . t - .. l t t '- Ill. C IIIICI'I OSJUOH ‘1'; 1 1111ICIJ1II/ ltlon 0 he COI‘llllC [L‘rccn OIHJIIIZng .lOl'lC 01 [he dlltctol and [he ll CI: I” H: ()l D g the object in c0]]' ' . iSion reflects ' ‘ angle. ' the dmlCCUC of the camera- I . y . . Cip}: tthrs matlter Inc are sull impressionistic and laelci o a Sic tent rr ‘ . Ciplc can be h d .110 Ioegrce. Nevertheless, a sharpness of prin a in t to tee mi ue of ti" a law ‘ I ‘ q us, too. The dr uadri- ral, plunging into the hazards of nature's dilluselictis g 1 ' J .l I E) l .l l l P- ”lctllod IS l1 “ll” dlal’tulg l“. :1 ll‘lCSC SClIOOlS. LL15 on]: .1] CE Ol [CJCIHHU dial-Hit“. J.“ 1 l b D ng in prin- THE ClNEhiATOGRAPllIC PRINCIPLE AND THE IDEOGRAM 4r Here's the branch of a cherry-tree.” And the pupil cuts out from this whole, with a square, and a circle, and a rectangle— compositional units: EEG-5?? Ill-til He frames a shot! These two ways of teaching drawing can characterize the two basic tendencies Struggling within the cinema of today. One—the expiring method of artificial spatial organization of an event in front of the lens. From the "direction" of a se- quence, to the erection of a Tower of Babel in front of the lens. The Other—a “picking—out” by the camera: organization by means of the camera. Hewing out a piece of actualityr with the as of the lens. However, at the present moment, when the center of atten— tion is finally beginning. in the intellectual cinema, to be trans- ferred from the materials of cinema, as such, to “deductions and conclusions,” to "slogans" based on the material, both schools of thought are losing distinction in their differences and can quietly blend into a synthesis. Several pages back we lost. like an overshoe in a street-car, the question of the theater. Let us turn back to the question of I.-. mum __.~.- “Vivi. 42 FILM. roan-I methods of montage in the Japanese theater, particularly in acung. The first and most striking example, of eourse, is the purely cinematographic method of “acting without transitions.” Along with mimic transitions carried to a limit of refinement, the Japanese actor uses an exactly contrary method as well. At a certain moment of his performance he halts; the black- shrouded kurago obligingly conceals him from the spectators. And lol—he is resurrected in a new make—up. And in a new wig. Now characterizing another stage (degree) of his emo- tional state. Thus, for example, in the Kabuki play Namkmui, the actor Sadanii must change from drunkenness to madness. This tran- sition is solved by a mechanical cut. And a change in the arsenal of grease—paint colors on his face, emphasizing those streaks whose duty it is to fulfill the expression of a higher in~ tensity than those used in his previous make-up. This method is organic to the film. The forced introduction into the film, by European acting traditions, of pieces of “emo- tional transitions" is yet another influence forcing the cinema to mark time. Whereas the method of "cut" acting makes pos— sible the construction of entirely new methods. Replacing one changing face with a whole scale of facial types of varying meods affords a far more acutely expressive result than does the changing surface, too receptive and devoid of organic re- sistance, of any single professional actor's face. In our new film [Old and New] I have eliminated the in- tervals between the sharply contrasting polar stages of a face‘s expression. Thus is achieved a greater sharpness in the “play of doubts" around the new cream separator. Will the milk thicken or no? Trickery? Wealth? Here the psychological process of mingled faith and doubt is broken up into its two extreme states of joy (confidence) and gloom (disillusion- ment). Furthermore, this is sharply emphasized by light—illu- mination in no wise conforming to actual light conditions. This brings a distinct strengthening of the tension. Another remarkable characteristic of the Kabuki theater is THE CENEh-IATOGRAPHIC PRINCIPLE AN the principle of D THE inEOGRAM 43 ' la ed the “ ‘ ' ted"act1n .Shocho,who p y dmmcgm hgcater that visited Moscow, leading female roles in the Kabuki t (The Mam-Maker). ' ' ' the d ing daughter in Yasbaé lpieijftbli‘iitddghis role in pieces of acting completely detached from each other: Acting with only tin; right :1er. ' ' he neck and tea 0 y. one leg. Actmg with t ' _ [Cd into 5010 Per‘ of the death acony was disintegra A I A Edgfdces of each metiiber playing its pwg rltlfle.d ghirgigap: h role of the arms, the role 0 _t e ea . iiic-ilcgjirit: shots. With a gradual shortemng of these sedparate, suicegsive pieces of aeting as the tragle end approalche .t r is Freed from the yoke of primitive naturalism, tie ac 0 enabled by this method to fully grip the specltatogtrlaty “ h thrns" maltinrt not only acceptablc,-but definitey a fl h tiveya stdge builtvon the mOst consecutive and detailed es and blood of naturalism. ’ ' _ Since we no longer distingms tions of shot-content and montage, we example: The japanese theater h in rinciple between ques- P may here cite a third makes use of a slow tempo to a degree - ' ' ' )3. unknown to our stage. The famous sccgie 10f hara (litmwgnof an 1n 0\ ' ' ' unprecedente s ow g - slam m is based on an ' I m movilfnent—beyond any pomt we have ever seen. “ginger? n ' ' tron o t e a — ' ’ e observed a disintegra the revmus example, w - . . the SlEiOEIJIS between movements, here we see d1smtegrat1pln pf ] process of mOvement, viz", slow-motion. I have hear 0 on y h lication of this method, using 16 Of a thoroug app film with a composrtionally yed with some purely pic- one examp - H the technical possubihty of the soned lan. It is usually emplo ' n I _ iii-hi aim? such as the “submarine kingdom in The Thief of . . m Bagdrd or to represent a dream, as in Zvemgora. dOr, moti I ’ I I - often it is used simply for formahst Jackstraws] an! upgnoic , ' ' ’ ' e 4 v1 — ‘ Vertovs Man wit: ta 9 vated camera mlschief as in c in Clayton. The more commendable example appears to bdh jean Epstein‘s La chute de la Maison Usher—at least aceor '1 g ' ns to the press reports. In thls film, normally acted emouo filmed with a speeded—up camera a re said to give unusual emo- -'/-Ll.A—ll .-:.-'-. -.- “1.9.4:.- .- -_-._:__.-‘ . . .'.'H .. _.__ __‘a_..,,.: ,.-_ .__-_._.«_+._._._._...U_Mu..-.-,<:—. Lin. 2'-,-' 44. FILNI FORTXI tional pressure by their unrealistic slowness on the screen. If it be borne in mind that the effeCt of an actor's performance on the audience is based on its identification by each spectator, it will be easy to relate both examples (the Kabuki play and the Epstein film) to an identical causal explanation. The in- tensity of Perception increases as the didactic process of iden- tification proceeds more easily along)r a disintegrated action. Even instruction in handling a rifle ean be hammered into the tightest motor—mentality among a group of raw recruits if the instructor uses a “break—down" method. The most interesting link of the Japanese theater is, of course, its linlt with the sound film. which can and muSt learn its fundamentals from the Japanese—the reduction of , visual and aural sensations to a Common physiological denom- inator.‘ _ So, it has been possible to establish (cursorily) the permea— tion of the most varied branches of Japanese culture by a pure cinematographic element—its basic nerve, montage. And it is only the Japanese cinema that falls into the same error as the “leftward drifting" Kahulti. instead of learning how to extract the principles and technique of their remarkable acting from the traditional feudal forms of their materials, the most progressive leaders of the japanese theater throw their energies into an adaptation of the spongy shapelessness of our own “inner” naturalism. The results are tearful and saddening. In its cinema Japan similarly pursues imitations of the most revolting examples of American and European entries in the international commercial film race. To understand and apply her cultural peculiarities to the cinema, this is the task of japan! Colleagues of japan, are you really going to leave this for us to do? [1929] ‘ Discussed in the preceding CSS:}’.—EDITOIL ...
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