Quotes of quotes of quotes of quotes, 10/14

Well, I haven’t done this in a while. Today’s quote comes courtesy of the French philosopher Gilles Deleuze, whose two books of cinematic philosophy, Cinema 1: The Movement-Image and Cinema 2: The Time-Image, receive all sorts of scholarly attention these days. Personally I’ve only read the first of the two, and while initially I found it slightly less than coherent, I’ve grown to like it quite a bit insofar as Deleuze thinks and writes about cinema in a way that more critics and scholars ought to try to emulate. Cinema, as with any artistic medium, constantly provides us with images and ideas to be put to use—for Deleuze, cinema provides the materials necessary to develop and articulate both a theory of consciousness and a theory of composition. In this regard, Deleuze’s theory of cinema is characteristically expressionistic: an assemblage of thoroughly stylized nuggets of thought that take cinema as their point of departure rather than as their ultimate destination.


Anyway, I think the quote below (from Cinema 1) has a lot in common with some of the Benjamin and Heidegger quotes I’ve posted over the past couple months in that Deleuze argues that cinema defamiliarizes our world, effectively transforming the everyday into the fantastic, the banal into the mystical, the all-too-familiar into a sight-for-sore-eyes. One thing that has consistently interested me about cinema and film studies is the notion, repeated in so many theoretical works, that films necessarily exert tangible effects on the way in which we perceive our environment. Eisenstein, Benjamin, Deleuze, you name ’em: all argued that cinema influences our impressions of the world around us. There’s a dissertation topic in here somewhere.


The cinema can, with impunity, bring us close to things or take us away from them and revolve around them, it suppresses both the anchoring of the subject and the horizon of the world. Hence it substitutes an implicit knowledge and a second intentionality for the conditions of natural perception. It is not the same as the other arts, which aim rather at something unreal through the world, but makes the world itself something unreal or a tale. With the cinema, it is the world which becomes its own image, and not an image which becomes world.


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