Download Essays on the Essay Film PDF

TitleEssays on the Essay Film
PublisherColumbia University Press
ISBN 139780231172677
CategoryArts - Film
Author
LanguageEnglish
File Size1.7 MB
Total Pages390
Table of Contents
                            Essays on the Essay Film
Contents
Introduction
	A SHORT HISTORY
	OVERVIEW OF THE COLLECTION
		FOUNDATIONS
		THE ESSAY FILM THROUGH HISTORY
		CONTEMPORARY POSITIONS
		FILMMAKERS ON THE ESSAYISTIC
	SOME LINGERING THOUGHTS
	NOTES
Part I. Foundations
1 Georg Lukács: On the Nature and Form of the Essay
2 Robert Musil: The Man Without Qualities
3 Max Bense: On the Essay and Its Prose
	NOTES
4 Theodor W. Adorno: The Essay as Form
	NOTES
5 Aldous Huxley: Preface to the Collected Essays of Aldous Huxley
Part II. The Essay Film Through History
6 Hans Richter: The Film Essay: a New Type of Documentary Film
7 Alexandre Astruc: The Future of Cinema
8 André Bazin: Bazin on Marker
	A DOCUMENTARY POINT OF VIEW
	FROM THE EAR TO THE EYE
	INTELLIGENCE AND TALENT
	NOTES
Part III. Contemporary Positions
9 Phillip Lopate: In Search of the Centaur: The Essay-film
	NOTES
10 Nora M. Alter: The Political Im/perceptible in the Essay Film: Farocki’s Images of the World and the Inscription of War
	INTRODUCTION
	FROM ESSAY TO ESSAY FILM
	VISION AND ITS OTHERS
	GENDER/ED TROUBLE
	POLITICAL IN/VISIBILITY, IN/AUDIBILITY
	NOTES
11 Paul Arthur: Essay Questions
	MIND OVER MATTER
	ROOTS AND BRANCHES
	NOW VOYAGERS
12 Michael Renov: The Electronic Essay
	NOTES
13 Laura Rascaroli: The Essay Film: Problems, Definitions, Textual Commitments
	THEORISING THE ESSAY: HERESY, FORM, TEXTUAL COMMITMENTS
	INTERPELLATION THROUGH THE GAZE: CHRIS MARKER’S SANS SOLEIL (1983)
	THE INSCRIPTION OF SUBJECTIVITY IN THE ESSAY FILM: VOICE-OVER, INTERPELLATION AND THE QUESTION OF AUTHORITY
	THE PLACE OF THE ESSAY FILM
	INTERPELLATION THROUGH WRITTEN TEXT: HARUN FAROCKI’S IMAGES OF THE WORLD AND THE INSCRIPTION OF WAR (1989)
	NOTES
14 Timothy Corrigan: Of the History of the Essay Film: Vertov to Varda
	NOTES
15 Raymond Bellour: The Cinema and the Essay as a Way of Thinking
	NOTES
16 Thomas Elsaesser: The Essay Film: From Film Festival Favorite to Flexible Commodity Form?
	NOTES
Part IV. Filmmakers on the Essayistic
17 Ursula Biemann: Performing Borders: Transnational Video
	NOTES
18 Jean-Pierre Gorin: Proposal for a Tussle
	DISQUIET
	THE BLACK HOLE
	THE ARIADNE’S THREAD CUT
	SCHEHERAZADE, ENGINEER
	TERMITE(S)
	THE ID
	ENVOI
	NOTES
19 Hito Steyerl: The Essay as Conformism? Some Notes on Global Image Economies
	OPTICAL CONNECTIONS
	RETERRITORIALIZING AUDIOVISUAL FLOWS
	A CONFLICT IN MOTION
	NOTES
20 Lynne Sachs: On Writing the Film Essay
21 Ross McElwee: Tramp Steamer
22 Harun Farocki & Christa Blümlinger: The ABCcs of the Film Essay
	A FOR ADORNO
	B FOR BAZIN
	C FOR CHAIN/CABLE
	D FOR DISTANCE
	E FOR ESSAY
	F FOR FAKE
	G FOR GRAFE
	H FOR HERESY
	I FOR INSCRIPTION
	J FOR “JE”
	K FOR KLUGE
	L FOR LAGGARD
	M FOR MONTAGE AND MISE-EN-SCÈNE
	N FOR NUMBER
	O FOR ORDER
	P FOR PORTRAIT
	Q FOR QUARREL
	R FOR REPETITION
	S FOR SERIES
	T FOR TRANSMISSION
	U FOR UNIVERSE OF TECHNICAL IMAGES
	V FOR VERACITY
	W FOR WEISS
	X FOR AN UNKNOWN QUANTITY
	Y FOR YATES
	Z COMME ZIDANE (Z FOR ZIDANE)
	NOTES
23 Laura Mulvey: Riddles as Essay Film
	PETER WOLLEN, LAURA MULVEY: “THEORY” FILM AS ESSAY FILM?
	SOME PERSONAL BACKGROUND
	PRINCIPLES: SOME POINTS OF COINCIDENCE BETWEEN THEORY FILM AND ESSAY FILM
	LANGUAGE, WRITING, AND PSYCHOANALYTIC THEORY
	SELF-EXPRESSION AND AUDIENCE
	NOTES
24 Renée Green: Certain Obliquenesses
	NOTES
25 Rea Tajiri: Essay Documentary: The Disembodied Narrator and an Unclaimed Image That Floats Through Space and Time
26 Isaac Julien: From Ten Thousand Waves to Lina Bo Bardi, via Kapital
	NOTES
Bibliography
Contributors
Permissions
Index
Back Matter
                        
Document Text Contents
Page 2

E SSAYS ON THE E SSAY F IL M

FILM AND CULTURE

Page 195

182�CONTEMPORARY POSITIONS

15. Peggy Phelan, Unmarked: e Politics of Performance (New York: Routledge, 1993), 148.
16. Marita Sturken, “Paradox in the Evolution of an Art Form: Great Expectations and the

Making of a History,” in Illuminating Video, ed. Hall and Fifer, 119.
17. Rosalind Krauss, “Video: The Aesthetics of Narcissism,” October 1 (1976), reprinted in

Video Culture: A Critical Investigation, ed. John G. Hanhardt (Rochester, N.Y.: Visual
Studies Workshop and Peregrine Smith Books, 1986), 179–180.

18. Montaigne, Essays, 821.
19. Ibid., 611, 721.
20. Barthes, Roland Barthes by Roland Barthes, 129.
21. Quoted in Kauffmann, “Skewed Path,” 74.
22. Roland Barthes, e Pleasure of the Text, trans. Richard Miller (New York: Hill and

Wang, 1975), 64. Barthes’s metaphor of the essayistic text as a spider’s web occurs earlier
in Adorno’s Minima Moralia (1944–1947), but with a crucial and informative difference.
For Adorno, the spider’s web is a site of textual accretion rather than subjective dissolve:

Properly written texts are like spiders’ webs: tight, concentric, transparent, well-
spun and firm. They draw into themselves all the creatures of the air. Metaphors
flitting hastily through them become their nourishing prey. Subject matter comes
winging towards them. The soundness of a conception can be judged by whether
it causes one quotation to summon another. Where thought has opened up one
cell of reality, it should, without violence by the subject, penetrate the next. It
proves its relation to the object as soon as other objects crystallize around it.
In the light that it casts on its chosen substance, others begin to glow. (Minima
Moralia: Re�ections from Damaged Life, trans. E. F. N. Jephcott [London: Verso,
1974], 87)

This position is reinforced in the later “Essay as Form” (1954–1958), in which, for essayis-
tic writing, “the fruitfulness of the thoughts depends on the density of the texture” (13).

23. Bellour, “Interview with Bill Viola,” 101.
24. Quoted in Adorno, “Essay as Form,” 17.
25. Lyotard, Postmodern Condition, 81.
26. André Tournon, “Self-Interpretation in Montaigne’s Essais,” in “Montaigne: Essays in

Reading,” ed. Gérard Defaux, special issue, Yale French Studies 64 (1983): 62.
27. Maureen Turim, “Video Art: Theory for a Future,” in Regarding Television: Critical

Approaches—An Anthology, ed. E. Ann Kaplan (Los Angeles: University Publications of
America, 1983), 134.

28. Lukács, “On the Nature and Form of the Essay,” 18.
29. Adorno, “Essay as Form,” 13.
30. Slavoj Žižek, “Is There a Cause of the Subject?” in Supposing the Subject, ed. Joan Copjec

(London: Verso, 1994), 103.
31. Ibid., 102.
32. Ibid., 101.
33. Adorno, Minima Moralia, 70–71.

Page 196

THEORISING THE ESSAY: HERESY,
FORM, TEXTUAL COMMITMENTS

All these attempts at de�ning the essay �lm are productive, in that they
identify a number of characteristics that are undoubtedly relevant; and,
principally, the two primary markers of the form—re�ectiveness and sub-
jectivity. However, they also diverge in some substantial ways, perhaps
due to that “heretical” factor that we recognise in the literary essay �rst
and, consequently, in its cinematic versions. While the heretical aspect
of the essay should be respected, and an over-theorisation of the form
avoided, it is important to understand why certain �lms produce in the
spectator the impression of watching an essay, as opposed to a documen-
tary, a �ction, a poem, a travelogue or an experimental �lm.

At the level of textual commitments (which can be summarised as fol-
lows: “I am going to share with you my personal line of reasoning on
this topic”), an essay is the expression of a personal, critical re�ection
on a problem or set of problems. Such re�ection does not propose itself
as anonymous or collective, but as originating from a single authorial
voice; as Arthur writes, “a quality shared by all �lm essays is the inscrip-
tion of a blatant, self-searching authorial presence.”1 �is authorial “voice”
approaches the subject matter not in order to present an ostensibly factual

13
THE ESSAY FILM

Problems, De�nitions, Textual Commitments

(2009)

LAURA RASCAROL I

Page 389

Indie: An American Film Culture

Michael Z. Newman

Pretty: Film and the Decorative Image

Rosalind Galt

Film and Stereotype: A Challenge for Cinema and Theory

Jörg Schweinitz

Chinese Women’s Cinema: Transnational Contexts

Edited by Lingzhen Wang

Hideous Progeny: Disability, Eugenics, and Classic Horror Cinema

Angela M. Smith

Hollywood’s Copyright Wars: From Edison to the Internet

Peter Decherney

Electric Dreamland: Amusement Parks, Movies, and American Modernity

Lauren Rabinovitz

Where Film Meets Philosophy: Godard, Resnais, and Experiments in Cinematic Thinking

Hunter Vaughan

The Utopia of Film: Cinema and Its Futures in Godard, Kluge, and Tahimik

Christopher Pavsek

Hollywood and Hitler, 1933–1939

�omas Doherty

Cinematic Appeals: The Experience of New Movie Technologies

Ariel Rogers

Continental Strangers: German Exile Cinema, 1933–1951

Gerd Gemünden

Deathwatch: American Film, Technology, and the End of Life

C. Scott Combs

After the Silents: Hollywood Film Music in the Early Sound Era, 1926–1934

Michael Slowik

“It’s the Pictures That Got Small”: Charles Brackett on Billy Wilder and Hollywood’s Golden Age

Edited by Anthony Slide

Plastic Reality: Special Effects, Technology, and the Emergence of 1970s Blockbuster Aesthetics

Julie A. Turnock

Page 390

Maya Deren: Incomplete Control

Sarah Keller

Dreaming of Cinema: Spectatorship, Surrealism, and the Age of Digital Media

Adam Lowenstein

Motion(less) Pictures: The Cinema of Stasis

Justin Remes

The Lumière Galaxy: Seven Key Words for the Cinema to Come

Francesco Casetti

The End of Cinema? A Medium in Crisis in the Digital Age

André Gaudreault and Philippe Marion

Studios Before the System: Architecture, Technology, and the Emergence of Cinematic Space

Brian R. Jacobson

Impersonal Enunciation, or the Place of Film

Christian Metz

When Movies Were Theater: Architecture, Exhibition, and the Evolution of American Film

William Paul

Carceral Fantasies: Cinema and Prison in Early Twentieth-Century America

Alison Gri�ths

Unspeakable Histories: Film and the Experience of Catastrophe

William Guynn

Reform Cinema in Iran: Film and Political Change in the Islamic Republic

Blake Atwood

Exception Taken: How France Has Defied Hollywood’s New World Order

Jonathan Buchsbaum

After Uniqueness: A History of Film and Video Art in Circulation

Erika Balsom

Words on Screen

Michel Chion

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