The Aesthetic Richness of Cinema I • Pictorial: Cinema is the projection of a three dimensional world onto a two dimensional screen. Exploration of the senses of spatiality and the forms of images. The size of the cinematic image is also particularly important—alters the perception of faces, etc. Also various modes of color vs. modes of black and white. • Kinesthetic: Unlike paintings and photographs, cinematic images move. This movement occurs both by how that which is pictured by the camera moves and by how the camera itself can move as it pictures. • Sonic: Cinema presents sounds in a sonic environment. Aleatory, Music, Human Voice • Temporal: Not only are cinematic images spatially dynamic but also temporally so. In cinema, time can move up or slow down. Not only the movement within a scene but the movement from scene to scene (cutting/montage) is used to explore the senses of time.
The Aesthetic Richness of Cinema II • Narrative: Through editing and speaking the scenes of a film arrange themselves into a narrative. (Beginning, Middle, End) • Dramatic: Characters are acted out in a film—they move and come into relationships with one another. • Character: Through their actions, characters show forth their inner motivations and natures. • Mis-en-scene: Cinematic images portray a particular world—the way in which objects and their backgrounds are put together for the camera are a crucial part of the aesthetics of cinema. Cinema can evoke historical epochs or everyday locales, not to mention dreamlike states, spiritual depths or fragmented consciousness.
Form vs. Content • The formal features of an artwork are the various ways of organizing, interrelating its being perceived such that the perceptions it evokes have a harmonious or significant emotive quality to it. The work is beautiful, probing, stunning, wondrous. • The content involves what it objectively portrayed or intimated in the formal arrangement of an artwork. • In great art, form and content become synonymous?
Two Tendencies in Cinematic Art • The Ordinary Real—Cinema records the complexity of details and the surprise and happenstance of the everyday. Example: the varied movements and expressions of the players of the court orchestra as they play a composition. The flickering of a candle. • The Surreal—Cinema offers an alterative reality. We see beyond what could be seen in the everyday. Often this seeing beyond puts the sense of the everyday radically into question. Example: the appearance of Colombe’s dead wife in the hut.
Cinema as a Artistic Medium • The flickering of light upon a screen. How the cinematic media is NOT oil on canvas or charcol on paper but evavescent. • Films that thematize themselves as a meditation on the medium of film versus films that do not! In what sense is AMW a meditation upon art? On film? Or on music?
Form in Cinema—Persona • Form as Form Shadow vs. Light, Shadow vs. Substance, White vs. Black, Foreground vs. Background, Juxtaposition vs. Separation, Right vs. Left, Front vs. Back, Face vs. Faceless, Open vs. Closed Gestures, Tiredness vs. Wakefulness, Filmy vs. Edged, Silence vs. Speaking, Youth vs. Experience, Healing vs. Illness, Listening vs. Addressing, Faithfulness vs. Unfaithfulness, Word vs. Image, Innocence vs. Prurience, Hope vs. Despair, Looking and Being Looked At, Voyeurism vs. Participation • Form as Content Doubled Existence, Ambivalence about What is Real, the Emptiness of Speech and the Fullness of Silence = Growing Feeling of Anxiety and then Horror at the Other Occupying One’s Self
Questions Persona Provokes • How do we know who we are? And which who we are?? • What is the relationship of the external world of everyday events to the internal world of dreams, of memories, of inner voices. • How worldly is art? How unworldly?
Cinematic Form in All the Mornings • Light vs. Dark • Stillness vs. Motion • Everyday Chores vs. Contemplative Art • Frumpery vs. Plainness • Country vs. Court • Catholic vs. Protestant • Public vs. Private • Interior vs. Exterior • Age vs. Youth
Formal Thematic Oppositions in AMW • Mastery vs. Apprenticeship • Male vs. Female • Father vs. Son • Teacher vs. Student • Son vs. Daughter • Daughters vs. Wife • Music vs. Entertainment • Sacred vs. Profane • Grandeur vs. Intimacy
Music vs. Film in AMW • Cinema is both words and a moving image. In this sense is it both like and unlike music. • Like music, cinema can live purely in the image, in the gestures and gazes of its participants. Film is temporal in the way that dance and music are, purely formal. • Like literature, cinema engages us in a story and in commentary about the world. Film is temporal in the manner of memory, substantial.
The Temporality of Music and Cinema • Music invokes a virtual time within an actual time. • The virtual time of music and cinema is profoundly formal. At any given moment we have a sense of where the time has been and where it is going to take us. • In its formal movement, music suggests an emotive form as well. Emotion as “a being moved” [Origin: 1570–80; appar. < MF esmotion, derived on the model of movoir: motion, from esmovoir to set in motion, move the feelings < VL *exmovére, for L émovére; see e-, move, motion]
Filming Music • Scene One: Practicing the Viol in Marais’ Studio • Scene Two: An early concert of St. Colombe with his two daughters. • Scene Three: The “Variations” by Marais. • Scene Four: The music of the court • Scene Five: Playing the “Suite pour Madeline” • Scene Six: Marais playing at the film’s ending.
But Paintings Too, Lubin Baugin • St. Colombe keeps a painting of the table upon which he places wine and wafers. Like his music, it is without words. • He visits an actual artist, Louis Baugin, the actual painter of the image used in the film.
Lubin Baugin 1610-1663 • Master of the still-life • Two distinct periods of work—earlier, still life (France); later, religious portraits (Italy) • Lived outside of Paris • He was openly involved in republishing the books of the empirical doctor, David Laigneau, against bloodletting. A Protestant, Laigneau had also written a treatise on alchemy. Could an interest in empiricism and alchemy exist in harmony with orthodox piety in 1660? In any case, it was the sign of a free spirit, an open mind, a critical awareness.
Still Life Painting—Painting the Realm of the Dead? • “la nature morte” in French • While painting “The Five Senses” in AMW, Baugin states: “Death is the sum of what it steals from us.” • Rather than speaking with Baugin, St. Colombe listens to him in the act of his painting “une nature morte”—to the rustling of his brush strokes.