Thought and cinema

Those who first made and thought about cinema began from simple idea: cinema as industrial art achieves self-movem«« automatic movement, it makes movement the immediate gjy of the image. This kind of movement no longer depends on moving body or an object which realizes it, nor on a spirit which reconstitutes it. It is the image which itself moves in itself. In this sense, therefore, it is neither figurative nor abstract. It could be said that this was already the case with all artistic images; and Eisenstein constantly analyses the paintings of Da Vinci and El Greco as if they were cinematographic images (as Elie Faurt does with Tintoretto). But pictorial images are nevertheless immobile in themselves so that it is the mind which has to 'make' movement. And choreographic or dramatic images remain attached to a moving body. It is only when movement becomes automatic that the artistic essence of the image is realized: producing a shock to thought, communicating vibrations to the cortex, touching the nervous and cerebral system directly. Because the cinematographic image itself 'makes' movement, because it makes what the other arts are restricted to demanding (or to saying), it brings together what is essential in the other arts; it inherits it,« is as it were the directions for use of the other images, it converts into potential what was only possibility. Automatic movement gi*® rise to a spiritual automaton in us, which reacts in turn movement.' The spiritual automaton no longer designates - a* does in classical philosophy - the logical or abstract possibility formally deducing thoughts from each other, but the circuit which they enter with the movement-image, the shared a what forces thinking and what thinks under the s <j* nooshockHeidegger said: 'Man can think in the sense "V^ possesses the possibility to do so. This possibility alone, how ^ is no guarantee to us that we are capable of thinking. |S^jt capacity, this power, and not the simple logical possibiH j'^m cinema claims to give us in communicating the shock- '' ^ cinema were telling us: with me, with the movement-iwag • ^ can't escape the shock which arouses the thinker m "

,«rl collective automaton for an automatic movement:

sJVt of the'masses.

the an ^ knows that, if an art necessarily imposed the shock or tveTy vvorld would have changed long ago, and men vibrati«"' ... "

would ha> the cinema, today- imposing it on tne masses, tne people ^vertov, S'|0C ' ¡n Gance, Elie Faure ... ). However, they foresaw that

I _J «n/r»iintpr 'jnil u/'JC ii I rp-jrl v pnrAiintprinnr -j 11 flip vibrat ^ ^ ^^ thinking for a long time. So this pretension of w°u . ma at least among the greatest pioneers, raises a smile tbe t,n j believed that cinema was capable of imposing the and imposing it on the masses, the people (Vertov, ein, Gance, Elie Faure ... ). However, they foresaw that a would encounter and was already encountering all the ^hieuities of the other arts; that it would be overlaid with a nerimental abstractions, 'formalist antics' and commercial configurations of sex and blood. The shock would be confused, in bad cinema, with the figurative violence of the represented instead of achieving that other violence of a movement-image developing its vibrations in a moving sequence which embeds itself within us. Worse still, the spiritual automaton was in danger of becoming the dummy of every kind of propaganda: the art of the masses was already showing a disquieting face.4 Thus the power or capacity of cinema was in turn revealed to be only a pure and simple logical possibility. At Feast the possible took on a new form here, even if the people were not yet a match for it, and even if thought was still to come. Something was in play, in a sublime conception of cinema. In fact, what constitutes the sublime is that the imagination suffers a shock which pushes it to the limit and forces thought to think the whole as intellectual totality which Roes beyond the imagination. The sublime, as we have seen, may l matheniatical, as in Gance, or dynamic, as in Murnau and or dialectical, as in Eisenstein. We will take the example of "enstein because the dialectical method allows him to decom-(bu^ ij16 noos'loc'c 'nto particularly well-determined moments (in whole of the analysis is valid for classical cinema, the

^maof the movement-image, in general). t0 ^ l'1^ to F-'senstein, the first moment goes from the image ima i' from the percept to the concept. The movement-the ob C 'S essentia"y multiple and divisible in accordance with Parts TktS ^tween which it is established, which are its integral their d() ere's shock of images between themselves according to depen(j.)rninam characteristic, or shock in the image itself depen(jJ1^ on its components, and, again, shock of images roniniun-^ °n a" t'le'r components; the shock is the very form of cation of movement in images. And Eisenstein criticizes

Pudovkin for having retained only the simplest case of shnj] Opposition defines the general formula, or the violence of^jS image. We saw earlier Eisenstein's concrete analyses of fiogrjfl Potemkin and The General Line, and the abstract schema whj revealed: the shock has an effect on the spirit, it forces it to iwJl and to think the Whole. The Whole can only be thought, becai it is the indirect representation of time which follows fJ? movement. It does not follow like a logical effect, analytically synthetically as the dynamic effect of images 'on the wiidL cortex'. Thus it relies on montage, although it follows from tht image: it is not a sum, but a 'product', a unity of a higher order The whole is the organic totality which presents itself by opposjne and overcoming its own parts, and which is constructed like the great Spiral in accordance with the laws of dialectic. The whole is the concept. This is why cinema is dubbed 'intellectual cinema' and montage 'thought-montage'. Montage is in thought 'the intellectual process' itself, or that which, under the shock, thinks the shock. Whether it is visual or of sound, the image already has harmonics which accompany the perceived dominant image, and enter in their own ways into suprasensory relations (for example, the saturation of heat in the procession in The General Line): this is the shock wave or the nervous vibration, which means that we can no longer say 'I see, I hear', but I FEEL, 'totally physiological sensation'. And it is the set of harmonics acting on the cortex which gives rise to thought, the cinematographic I THINK: the whole as subject. If Eisenstein is a dialectician, it is because he conceives of the violence of the shock in the form of opposition and the thought of the whole in the form of opposition overcome, or of the transformation of opposites: 'From the shock of two factors a concept is born'. *'This is the cinema of the/wncA- Soviet cinema must break heads.' But in this way he dialecticizes tl» most general given of the movement-image; he thinks that an) other conception weakens the shock and leaves thought °Ptl0Tr The cinematographic image must have a shock effect on t^0"^.' and force thought to think itself as much as thinking the wn This is the very definition of the sublime.

But there is a second moment which goes from the con(yuj the affect, or which returns from thought to the image- ^ matter of giving 'emotional fullness' or 'passion' back ^ intellectual process. Not only is the second moment insep ^ from the first, but we cannot say which is first. Which >s ^ montage or movement-image? The whole is produced

. |sQ the opposite: there is a dialectical circle or spiral, parts but ■ pisenstein contrasts with Griffith-style dualism), •nionist" ^ dynamic effect is also the presupposition of its W(he spiral. This is why Eisenstein continually reminds us ^sC:ntelIct,ual cinema' has as correlate 'sensory thought' or tl>al ! | intelligence', and is worthless without it. The organic Cl"0tl correlate the pathetic. The highest form of consciousness ^ ¡«s art as correlate the deepest form of the hconscious, following a 'double process' or two coexisting SU ents In this second moment, we no longer go from the 111 ement-image to the clear thinking of the whole that it "^Dresses; we go from a thinking of the whole which is presupposed and obscure to the agitated, mixed-up images which xpress jt The whole is no longer the logos which unifies the Darts, but the drunkenness, the pathos which bathes them and spreads out in them. From this point of view images constitute a malleable mass, a descriptive material loaded with visual and sound features of expression, synchronized or not, zig-zags of forms, elements of action, gestures and profiles, syntactic sequences. This is a primitive language or thought, or rather an internal monologue, a drunken monologue, working through figures, metonymies, synecdoches, metaphors, inversions, attractions . .. From the outset, Eisenstein thought that the internal monologue found its extension and importance in cinema rather than literature, but he still restricted it to the 'course of thought of a man'. It is in the 1935 speech that he discovers it to be appropriate for the spiritual automaton, that is, to the whole film. Internal monologue goes beyond dream, which is much too individual, and constitutes the segments or links of a truly collective thought, th* iev.e'°Ps a pathos-filled power of imagination which reaches e 'nuts of the universe, an 'orgy of sensory representations', a lUnj? music which is like mass, fountains of cream, fountains of the ¡n°US wa,er. spurting fires, zig-zags forming numbers, as in the simous se(lllence in The General Line. Earlier, we went from from h ~,ma8e lo ''1e f°rmal and conscious concept, but now ¡ma„ ^ unconscious concept to the material-image, the figure-givesth emho(,ies't and produces shock in turn. The figure sens(Jn'e 'niage an affective charge which will intensify the 'be asc -S1 • ' I two moments are mixed up, interlaced, as in 'be con nt 'n ^le General l ine where zig-zags of numbers repeat Her"Stl<)Us concept ,h again it will be noted that Eisenstein dialecticiz.es a very general aspect of the movement-image and montage. The that the cinematographic image proceeds through figure

reconstitutes a kind of primitive thought, is to be found in ^

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