While the protocols of metafiction and narrative self-reflexivity have become the order of the day in much contemporary mainstream cinema, there is scant evidence to suggest that there has been a correspondingly self-conscious problematization of film's material basis. This is a rather peculiar omission, given the current rapid conflation in many feature films of the digital and the photographic.In her book Prosthetic Culture (1998), Celia Lury points out that photography and computer generated imagery (CGI) represent and entail two fundamentally different ways of seeing, founded on and required by the ontological specificity of each image-yielding practice. (1) On a similar note, Kevin Robins worries that postphotography will alter "the epistemological structure" of our culture. (2) Itmight have been a comparable uneasiness that in a 1999 issue of Sight and Sound prompted Peter Matthews to advocate film theory's return to the enigmatically realist philosophy of André Bazin. (3) As you may recall, Bazin argues first that the principal purpose of the filmic is the mummification of change itself, and second, that the ethics of photographically-based art involves nothing less thanthe emancipation of memory from subjectivity. "The aesthetic qualities of photography," Bazin famously writes in "The Ontology of the Photographic Image," "are to be sought in its power to lay bare the realities." (4) Bazin promotes the concept of celluloid memory as a superior and in fact more ethical alternative to individual memory, steeped as the latter is in the cosmetic modifications of ourown private recollections. For a vivid enactment of the principle at the core of Bazin's commemorative poetics, consider this somewhat lengthy excerpt from Don DeLillo's Americana (1971):
"I took the camera from my lap, raised it to my eye, leaned out the window a bit, and trained it on the ladies as if I were shooting. One of them saw me and immediately nudged her companion but withouttaking her eyes off the camera. They waved. One by one the others reacted. They all smiled and waved. They seemed supremely happy. Maybe they sensed that they were waving at themselves, waving in the hope that someday if evidence is demanded of their passage through time, demanded by their own doubts, a moment might be recalled when they stood in a dazzling plaza in the sun and were registered on thetransparent plastic ribbon; and thirty years away, on that day when proof
is needed, it could be hoped that their film is being projected on a screen somewhere, and there they stand, verified, in chemical reincarnation, waving at their own old age, smiling their reassurance to the decades, a race of eternal pilgrims in a marketplace in the dusty sunlight, seven arms extended in a fabulous saluteand to the forgetfulness of being. What better proof (if proof is ever needed) that they have truly been alive? Their happiness, I think, was made of this, the anticipation of incontestable evidence, and had nothing to do with the present moment, which would pass with all the others into whatever is the opposite of eternity." (5)
Although rarely approached by the discourse of films, thisevidential incontestability that the photographically filmic is said to promulgate is of course nothing if not contestable. One of the few films that grapples explicitly with the semiotic and mnemonic ambivalences of photography, as well as with the difficulty of the process of seeing, is Michelangelo Antonioni's Blow-Up, a quintessential text of 1960s art cinema just recently released on DVD. Widelyregarded as a film which exposes both the schism between appearance and reality (6) and the occasional indistinguishability of observation and deception, (7) Blow-Up is also a metapictorial work of introspective filmicity which in effect foregrounds the conditions of its own deconstruction. Moreover, in this process Blow-Up becomes not film theory but a theory film, its discursive method laid bare...
Leer documento completo
Regístrate para leer el documento completo.