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Unformatted text preview: Worksheet 15 - Film History Professor Rohdie (UCF) Looking at (and also making) a work of art, and perhaps above all a lm because of the illu- sions it creates, is to pass from one world, as through a veil, into another, to become not sim- ply a spectator, but a participant, a wanderer on a journey in a world with di erent dimen- sions of time and space. If most lms rely on this act of passage for their e ect, some take it as their subject. Vertigo is a ne example. Its characters (and the audience) are transported by their desires (and fears) into an elsewhere, revealed at the close of the lm to be an illusion, mere appearance, like dream. The journey is a descent, if not into a kind of hell (it is also an ascent into the heavenly: Kim Novak), then into a madness that the lm threatens because nothing in it is stable, no identity secure, no gaze nor word certain, and where every object and truth dissolves, as if the beck- oning of desires to love, to be loved, to possess, pursue, enter are only a lure, a trick, deceit and trap (as it is) and the journey, a labyrinth and an illusion. There are many lms of this kind where the ction is a frame for another ction inside it, like a mirror that re ects and where the passage to an elsewhere is crucial. In such lms every im- age is doubled and every frame interior to another. It is the operation of Godard’s citations, of images within images and multiple framings of the same and it is also what fascinates Chris Marker, though di erently, the voyaging between spaces and times, moments of passage be- tween worlds, parallel zones of time, the living and the dead, the everyday and the imaginary which are the constellations that glitter in the recesses of Sans soleil . One of the great early lms of this kind is Buster Keaton’s Sherlock, Jr. (1924) where a lm thea- tre projectionist, played by Keaton, enters the lm he is projecting by way of a dream to be- come one of its characters, (something like this happens to Scottie, in Vertigo ), a detective in love, but with a fantasy, one, in the case of Keaton, doubly projected, objectively in the thea- tre, subjectively in his dream such that the lm always has two perspectives and every object riven or multiple as in a Cubist work. Three other lms are worth mentioning in this regard, Das Kabinett Des Doktor Caligari (Robert Weine:1919), Metropolis (Fritz Lang:1927) and Orphée (Jean Cocteau:1949). The narrative of Caligari , whose sets and action are stylised, angular, geometric and distorted, turns out to be the imaginings of an inmate in an asylum; Metropolis is science ction, quite literally, a pas- sage into the future and also stylised; Orphée is the Orpheus myth of the journey of Orpheus to the Underworld to bring back his love, Eurydice, that Cocteau trans gures and displaces. In the lm, the Poet, Orphée, quite literally passes into the other world, through a mirror and by way of doors, tunnels, corridors...and debates....
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This note was uploaded on 09/14/2011 for the course FIL 3036 taught by Professor Rohdie during the Fall '09 term at University of Central Florida.
- Fall '09