By Kim Knowles
The yank artist guy Ray was once probably the most influential figures of the ancient avant-garde, contributing considerably to the advance of either Dadaism and Surrealism. while his pioneering paintings in images guaranteed him foreign acclaim, his job in different parts, particularly movie, is to at the present time either unknown and undervalued.
During the Nineteen Twenties guy Ray made 4 brief experimental movies and collaborated on a bunch of alternative initiatives with humans reminiscent of Marcel Duchamp, Fernand Léger, René Clair and Hans Richter. those works, in addition to a chain of cinematic essays and residential video clips made through the Nineteen Twenties and Nineteen Thirties, signify an important contribution to the advance of an alternate mode of filmmaking within the early 20th century. This e-book explores guy Ray’s cinematic interactions from the point of view of his interdisciplinary creative sensibility, growing hyperlinks among movie, images, portray, poetry, song, structure, dance and sculpture. through exposing his preoccupation with shape, and his ambiguous dating with the politics and aesthetics of the Dada and Surrealist events, the writer paints an intimate and intricate portrait of guy Ray the filmmaker.
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Reviewed by way of Carl Plantinga, Calvin College
Berys Gaut's very good new e-book, A Philosophy of Cinematic artwork, is a strength to be reckoned with within the philosophy of cinema, a subfield of aesthetics that has lately obvious a flurry of scholarly curiosity and book. Writing on cinema via philosophers dates again no less than to Hugo Munsterberg, a colleague of William James at Harvard collage, and his 1916 The Photoplay: A mental examine. Analytic aestheticians, with a number of exceptions, had until eventually the previous few a long time been reluctant to absorb the topic of cinema (let by myself its artistically suspect more youthful sibling, television), who prefer to ascertain the extra conventional positive arts. because the twentieth Century marched on, this resistance grew to become more and more anachronistic. Noël Carroll, George Wilson, and Gregory Currie begun publishing books at the philosophy of movie within the later Nineteen Eighties and the Nineteen Nineties, and diverse different philosophers became their awareness to cinema in addition. this present day a number of first-class books and anthologies at the philosophy and idea of cinema can be found, and the subject has turn into essentially the most energetic and intriguing parts of aesthetics.
Gaut's ebook seems to be as one of those second-wave philosophy of cinema, and threads its manner among the debates of the prior 3 many years, conscientiously describing the problems of rivalry. even supposing Gaut's positions on numerous concerns increase critical questions (as so much philosophical positions will), its contributions are many, now not least of that are the readability, potency, and effort of the writing and pondering, the clever and insightful discussions of specific movies whilst the topic warrants it, and Gaut's familiarity with either electronic cinema and games, the latter of which he considers to be a kind of cinema -- interactive cinema. The book's relevant contributions, for my part, are 3 in quantity: (1) it offers a transparent assessment of the various salient matters within the philosophy of cinema, including Gaut's forcefully argued positions at the appropriate debates; (2) it comprises refined discussions of the consequences of advancements in electronic cinema and games for cinema concept; and (3) it defends the beleaguered notion of medium specificity in a few of its types, hence reaffirming the significance of the explicit features of the medium for cinema thought and criticism.
Before going any longer it might be clever to spot Gaut's specific method of discussing cinema. For Gaut, cinema is the medium of relocating photographs. when you consider that relocating pictures are available many various forms, Gaut distinguishes among conventional celluloid-based photographic cinema, electronic cinema, lively cinema, and digital cinema (television). the concept that relocating pictures lie on the middle of the medium isn't a brand new one; different students have proposed that photographic motion pictures, animations, and electronic media could be grouped less than the umbrella time period "moving photograph media," and that "moving photo studies" will be an invaluable rubric to explain the sector of educational examine encompassing the research of such relocating pictures and linked types of verbal exchange and paintings. but Gaut's notion that the relocating picture media be referred to as "cinema" is novel, in that "cinema" has heretofore been linked to conventional photographic movies, the note having a nineteenth century believe deriving from its origins in that ground-breaking invention of the Lumiére brothers, the cinématographe.
Since one of many ambitions of philosophy is to advertise conceptual readability, one sees the price of calling the medium "cinema," and deciding upon different types of cinema below this wide rubric. The terminology is stipulative, notwithstanding, and its uptake within the broader neighborhood depending on the negotiation of a number of political landmines, no longer least of that's the unlikelihood that online game and/or tv students will glance kindly on conceptualizing their selected media as kinds of cinema. One envisions a tv pupil archly suggesting that conventional cinema be thought of a kind of tv (photochemical tv? ), or the online game student insisting that games represent a brand new medium separate altogether from cinema. I ensue to love Gaut's terminology, yet now not each person will.
In the ebook Gaut essentially information the salient concerns that philosophers and picture theorists have up to now grappled with. What units this booklet aside is Gaut's cautious realization to how the previous debates approximately conventional cinema relate to new different types of cinema, and particularly electronic cinema and interactive cinema (video games). whereas those discussions make the publication in particular worthwhile and relatively brand new, one wonders why digital cinema (television) is nearly thoroughly ignored.
In the 1st bankruptcy Gaut turns to Roger Scruton's argument opposed to taking images and cinema as paintings kinds simply because as photographic media, they checklist what's in entrance of the digicam immediately and hence can't convey notion. One may well query no matter if Scruton's arguments want be taken heavily any more, and certainly, Gaut does summarily reject them. alongside the best way, although, Gaut presents a few interesting discussions of Rudolph Arnheim's conception of movie and on transformations among analog and electronic images. the second one bankruptcy examines even if movie is a language (Gaut claims that it's not) and discusses the character and kinds of realism in either conventional and electronic cinema. Gaut right here argues, contra Kendall Walton, that pictures will not be obvious, seeing that in seeing a photo the sunshine rays emanating from the thing photographed don't go at once into our eyes. All photos, either conventional and cinematic, are opaque.
In the 3rd bankruptcy Gaut vehemently opposes the auteur idea, or the speculation that one individual, ordinarily the film's director, could be thought of to be the "author" of the movie, and as a substitute argues for a number of authorship in terms of so much videos. He additionally discusses those matters in terms of electronic and interactive cinema. In "Understanding Cinema," bankruptcy four, Gaut rejects intentionalism as a concept of interpretation of collaborative artforms. He additionally rejects movie theorist David Bordwell's constructivisim in want of what Gaut calls "detectivism. " This prepares the best way for his "patchwork theory" of movie interpretation, which holds that numerous components determine into settling on the proper interpretation of a movie, of which the intentions of the makers are just one. In illustrating his patchwork concept, Gaut offers a desirable demonstration of the patchwork conception in perform in his dialogue of Akira Kurosawa's Rashomon.
In bankruptcy five Gaut discusses cinema narration, settling on and rejecting 3 types of implicit cinematic narrators, and arguing that purely particular voice-over narrators needs to be stated within the cinema. alongside the way in which Gaut offers a good account of significant modifications among movie and literature, an account that serves as proof for his competition that medium-specificity has a job to play within the philosophy of cinema. eventually during this bankruptcy, Gaut additionally turns to interactive narration, that's, to how we must always examine narration in interactive media akin to video games.
Emotion and identity are the topic of bankruptcy 6, during which Gaut explains the medium-specific ways in which cinema fosters emotional engagement, and defends the proposal of "identification" from those that contemplate the concept that to be too obscure or ill-defined. Gaut reveals it curious that the majority cognitive and analytic theorists and philosophers have rejected the inspiration of id altogether as both careworn or too vast and ambiguous. Noël Carroll, for instance, has rejected identity since it ostensibly presumes a type of Vulcan mind-meld among viewers and personality. Gaut notes that the etymological root of "identification" is of "making identical," yet claims that the which means of a time period "is an issue of its use within the language" (255), now not in its etymology.
Fair sufficient, yet one wonders if Gaut's definition of id succeeds in opting for using the note in usual language, otherwise stipulates a definition that Gaut claims to be extra particular. Gaut defines id as "imagining oneself in a character's situation" (258), and is going directly to distinguish among vast varieties of identity, inventive and empathic id. imaginitive identity can itself be subdivided into numerous varieties, together with perceptual, affective, motivational, epistemic, sensible, and maybe different kinds, reckoning on what element of the character's scenario the viewers imagines itself to be in. Empathic id, nevertheless, happens whilst one stocks a number of of the character's (fictional) feelings simply because one has projected oneself into the character's state of affairs. One may possibly ask why we should always take empathy to be id in any respect, instead of an emotional reaction to identity, if identity is outlined as an act of the mind's eye instead of a type of emotional reaction. extra dialogue could take us too a long way afield, yet there are different questions that may be requested of Gaut's conception of identification.
This ebook could be noticeable partly as a problem to Noël Carroll's sustained critique of media specificity. therefore Gaut's concluding bankruptcy affirms 3 medium-specificity claims that Gaut holds to be not just right, yet invaluable for a formal appreciation of the cinema. He distinguishes among a medium and artwork shape, describes how media will be nested inside of one another, and says that medium specificity has much less to do with specialty than it does with what he calls differential houses. This bankruptcy additionally serves as an invaluable precis of the details of the ebook, during which Gaut illustrates each one of his 3 medium-specificity claims by way of reminding us of the conclusions he got here to past within the ebook, and of ways they illustrate particular features of the medium of relocating pictures.
Berys Gaut's total fulfillment in A Philosophy of Cinematic artwork is titanic, between different issues, for his persuasive argument for medium specificity, and for his recognition to new types of cinema. This complete e-book is key within the library of an individual drawn to the philosophy of cinema.
Copyright © 2004 Notre Dame Philosophical studies
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Extra resources for A Cinematic Artist: The Films of Man Ray
Except for the f leeting glimpse of the light bulb, the camera-less rayograph images dominate this section. The film then changes tone. Up to this point, separate images have lasted only a few seconds, preventing the viewer from becoming fixed on any one visual impression, and producing what could be described as a ‘fairground ef fect’, where the viewer is bombarded with a constantly changing visual stimulus. Either by coincidence or by direct reference to this ef fect, the next set of images is made up of various impressions of a fairground at night.
For another three seconds the first image reappears, followed by a f licker of text – sections of film onto which Man Ray wrote directly – that is virtually Between chaos and order: Le Retour à la raison 27 imperceptible when viewed at normal projection speed. The drawing pin returns but this time in negative, so that the pin itself appears as a white object against a black background. The nails also reappear, followed once again by the unidentifiable abstract mass. For two seconds the image of a light bulb passes across the screen, followed by another two seconds of moving circular forms that spill over the edges of the frame (see figure 4).
That the majority of films from this Between chaos and order: Le Retour à la raison 35 period have been classified in terms of Dada makes the issue all the more pertinent. Indeed, in the case of Le Retour, the absence of a traditional narrative structure is considered primarily as a Dadaist device. As we have seen, most accounts of the film highlight the negative connotations inherent in such an approach. However, what I would like to propose here is that the concentration on exclusively visual elements outside of narrative concerns does not automatically translate as ‘anti-narrative’.