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TitleCinema 1: The Movement-Image
PublisherUniversity of Minnesota Press
ISBN 139780816613991
CategoryArts - Film
File Size4.5 MB
Total Pages264
Document Text Contents
Page 1

Cinema 1 The Movement-lmage

Page 132

118 7 The affection-image

In certain respects, Expressionist darkness and lyrical white played
the role of colours. But the true colour-image constitutes a third
mode of the any-space-whatever. The principal forms of this image -
the surface-colour of the great uniform tints [grands aplats], the
atmospheric colour which pervades all the others, movement-colour
which passes from one tone to another - perhaps originate in the
musical comedy and its capacity for extracting an unlimited virtual
world from a conventional state of things. O f these three forms it is
only movement-colour which seems to belong to the cinema, the
others already being entirely part of the powers of painting.
Nevertheless, in our view, the colour-image of the cinema seems to be
defined by another characteristic, one which it shares with painting,
but gives a different range and function. This is the absorbent
characteristic. Godard’s formula, ‘it’s not blood, it’s red’ is the
formula of colourism. In opposition to a simply coloured image, the
colour-image does not refer to a particular object, but absorbs all that
it can: it is the power which seizes all that happens within its range, or
the quality common to completely different objects. There is a
symbolism of colours, but it does not consist in a correspondence
between a colour and an affect (green and hope. . .). Colour is on the
contrary the affect itself, that is, the virtual conjunction of all the
objects which it picks up. Thus Oilier is led to say that Agnès
Varda’s films, notably L e Bonheur, ‘absorb’, and absorb not only the
spectator, but the characters themselves, and the situations, in
complex movements affected by the complementary colours.18 This
was already true of L a Pointe courte where the white and the black
were treated as complementary, and where the white took hold of the
feminine aspect - white work, white love and death - whilst the black
took the male aspect, and the two protagonists of the ‘abstract couple’
traced out in their speech the space, of the alternative or of
complementarity. It is this composition which reaches a colourist
perfection in L e Bonheur with the complementarity of violet, purple
and oranged gold, and the successive absorption of the characters in
the mysterious space which corresponds to the colours. Now, if we
continue to refer to very different directors in order to explore the
possible validity of a concept more clearly, it must be said that, from
the beginning of a total cinema of colour, Minnelli had made
absorption the properly cinematographic power of this new dimension
o f the image. This is the source of the role of the dream in his work:
the dream is only the absorbent form of colour. His work in musical
comedy, but also in all other genres, follows the obsessive theme of
characters literally absorbed by their own dream, and above all by the

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Any-space-whatever s 119

dream of others and the past o f others (Yolanda and the Thief, The
Pirate, Gigi, Melinda) by the dream of power of an Other (Les
Ensorcelés). And Minnelli reaches the highest level with The Four
Horsemen o f the Apocalypse, when the beings are caught up in the
nightmare of war. Throughout his work the dream becomes space,
but like a spider’s web, made less for the dreamer himself than for the
living prey that he attracts. If states of things become movement of
the world, and if characters become the figure of a dance, this is
inseparable from the splendour of colours, and from their almost
carnivorous, devouring, destructive, absorbent function (like the
bright yellow caravan of The Long, Long Trailer). It is appropriate
that Minnelli should have tackled a subject which is ideal for
expressing this adventure without return: the hesitation, the fear and
the respect with which Van Gogh approaches colour, his discovery
and the splendour of his creation, and his own absorption in what he
creates, the absorption of his being and of his reason in yellow
(Lust fo r L ife ) .19

Antonioni, another of the cinema’s greatest colourists, makes use
of cold colours pushed to the limit of their plenitude or intensification
in order to go beyond the absorbent function, which still maintained
the transformed characters and situations in the space of a dream or a
nightmare. In Antonioni, colour carries space as far as the void, it
effaces what it has absorbed. Bonitzer says:

Since L ’Avventura, Antonioni’s great project has been the empty
shot, the de-peopled [deshabité] shot. At the end of Eclipse all the
shots through which the couple have passed are surveyed and
corrected by the void, as the title of the film indicates. . . .
Antonioni looks for the desert: Red Desert, Zabriskie Point, The
Passenger. . . [which] is completed by a forward travelling shot on
the empty field, in an interlacing of insignificant tracks, at the limit
o f the non-figurative. . . . T he object of Antonioni’s cinema is to
reach the non-figurative through an adventure whose end is the
eclipse of the face, the obliteration of characters.20

It is certainly true that the cinema had succeeded long before in
obtaining great effects of resonance by juxtaposing a single space, at
one time populated and at another empty (notably Sternberg, in The
Blue Angel, for example, with Lola’s theatre box, or with the class­
room). But, in Antonioni, the idea takes on a previously unknown
range, and it is colour which controls the juxtaposition. Colour elevates
space to the power of the void, when that which can be realised in the
event is accomplished. Space does not emerge from it depotentialised,

Page 263

Simon of the Desert (Buñuel) 125
Sisters of the Gion (Mizoguchi) 194
Sixth of the World, A (Vertov) 82
Sjostrom, Victor 142
Snow, Michael 84, 122
Sometimes a Great Notion (Newman)

Spellbound (Hitchcock) 12
Stagecoach (Ford) 146
Stage Fright (Hitchcock) 200
Steamboat Bill Junior (Keaton) 173
Sternberg, Josef von 89, 93-5,113,

Storm over Asia (Pudovkin) 38,

Stormy Waters (Gremillon) 79
Story from Chikamatsu, A (Mizoguchi)

192, 195
Story of the Last Chrysanthemums,

The (Mizoguchi) 194-5
Strangers on a Train (Hitchcock)

Straub, Jean-Marie 121
Stray Dog (Kurosawa) 188
Street Scene (Vidor) 144
Strike (Eisenstein) 182
Stroheim, Erich von 51-2, 89,

125-31, 136-8
Stroszek (Herzog) 185
Summer with Monika (Bergman) 94
Sumurun (Lubitsch) 163
Sun Also Rises, The (King) 134
Sunrise (Murnau) 49-50, 54, 93
Susana (Buñuel) 129
Suspicion (Hitchcock) 12, 202-3

Tabu (Mumau and Flaherty) 112
Taris, roi de I’eau (Vigo) 80
Ttrrtuffe (Murnau) 72,112
Taxi Driver (Scorsese) 207-9
Ten Commandments, The (De Mille)

Testament of Dr Mabuse, The (Lang)

Third Man, The (Reed) 21
Thirty-Nine Steps, The (Hitchcock)

Three Ages (Keaton) 149,174


Time-image xv, 11, 29, 55, 68-9
Time without Pity (Losey) 136-7,

To Be Or Not To Be (Lubitsch) 162
To Live (Kurosawa) 191
Too Late Blues (Cassavetes) 121,

Torrent, Le (L’Herbier) 77
Tourneur, Jacques 112
Trial, The (Welles) 21
Trial of Joan o f Arc, The (Bresson)

Trouble with Harry, The (Hitchcock)

Trout, The (Losey) 137, 139
Truffaut, François 213
Turksib (Tourin) 42
Two Rode Together (Ford) 147

Ugetsu Monagatari (Mizoguchi)

Vampyr (Dreyer) 114
Varda, Agnes 118
Vaudeville (Dupont) 49, 72, 77
Vertigo (Hitchcock) 21, 204
Vertov, Dziga 39-43, 47, 61, 70,

Vidor, King 22,134,144,148
Vigo, Jean 42-3, 79-80
Violanta (Schmid) 121
Viridiana (Bunuel) 129-30
Visconti, Luchino 133

Wagorrmaster (Ford) 146, 165
Warning Shadows (Robison) 112
Wavelength (Snow) 122
Wedding, A (Altman) 207
Wedding March, The (Stroheim)

Wegener, Paul 14, 50-1, 53, 93
Welles, Orson ix, 21, 26, 200
Wenders, Wim 5, 22, 101
Whale, James 51
White Dog (Fuller) 156
White Sheikh, The (Fellini) 71,212
White Zambie (Halpérin) 51
Wiene, Robert 50


Page 264


Wild Bu
Wilder, Biliy
Wmchester ’73 (Mann) 70
Wind, The (Sjostrom) 142
Wind Across the Everglades (Ray)

Woman Who Dared, The (Gremillon)

Women in Love (Russell) 90
Woyzeck (Herzog) 185
Wrong Man, The (Hitchcock) 203

R E T U R N E D Index

IVylc-i :2

Yang Kwei Fei (Mizoguchi) 194
} 'olanda and the Thief (Minnelli) 119
Young and the Damned, The (Bunuel)

Young Mr Lincoln (Ford) 149

Zabriskie Point (Antonioni) 119
Zola, Emile 124, 130, 134
Zvenigora (Dovzhenko) 38, 39

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