Translators introduction

This is a translation of L'image-temps, the second and final volume of Deleuze's work on the cinema, which was first published in France in 1985. The first volume, L'image-mouvement was translated in 1986 as Cinema /.'. Each volume can be read on its own as dealing with a separate aspect of the cinema, classical and modern, pre-and post-war, movement and time. Together, they constitute what has been called 'one of the finest contemporary reflections on the liveliness and grandeur of the modern cinema'.2

But Deleuze does not set out to provide another theory of the cinema. His project is a philosophical one. Philosophy itself is not a reflection on an autonomous object but a practice of creation of concepts, a constructive pragmatism. This is a book of philosophical invention, a theory of cinema as conceptual practice. It is not a question of 'applying' philosophical concepts to the cinema. Philosophy works with the concepts which the cinema itself gives rise to.

For Deleuze, the philosopher 'works alongside' the cinema, producing a classification of its images and signs but reordering them for new purposes. What makes cinema of special interest is that, as with painting^, it gives conceptual construction new dimensions, those of the percept and affect — which should not be confused with perception and feeling. 'Affect, percept and concept are three inseparable powers, going from art to philosophy and the reverse'.4 Cinema and philosophy are brought together in a continuing process of intercutting. This is philosophy as assemblage, a kind of provoked becoming of thought.

The book's first aim is descriptive. Deleuze sets out to describe the two fundamental images of the cinema - the movement-image and the time-image - and their corresponding signs. The first volume dealt with the various movement-images of the classical cinema: perception-image, affect-image and action-image. The present one deals with the forms of the direct time-image of the modern cinema.

The point of transition between the two volumes, and the two images, is the crisis of the 'action-image' after the Second World War. The unities of situation and action can no longer be maintained in the disjointed post-war world. This gives rise to pure optical and sound situations from which the 'direct time-

image' emerges. Cinema II is concerned with the taxonomy of the time-image and its signs, which are called 'chronosigns'. These are signs of the order of time, of its internal relations and signs of time as series. Both types of signs bring the notion of truth into question and the book culminates in powerful discussions of the powers of the false in cinema, thought in the cinema and the body and the brain.

But this simple summary gives little impression of the extraordinary range and richness of the book. The time-image which Deleuze releases from modern cinema gives him a new line of approach to a number of important problems of modern thought: the undecidability of truth and falsity, the relation of inside and outside, the nature of'the people', the relation between brain and body.

Modern cinema recreates the concepts of modern philosophy, but in a new way. In particular, the cinematic reversal of the subordination of time to movement repeats a philosophical revolution which took place over several centuries. Deleuze draws a number of consequences from this reversal in the cinema. His analysis begins with the break up of theclassical notion of the image which was defined in relation to external world and self-aware subject. This notion was adequate to the movement-image of pre-war cinema but is also a victim of its post-war disintegration.

The modern world and the modern image operate in the realm of 'incommensurability'. The films of Welles, Resnais or Marguerite Duras no longer rely on world or subject. The modern image cannot be integrated into a totality, it is connected through 'irrational cuts' between the non-linked, a confrontation takes place between 'outside' and 'inside'.

From this confrontation 'thought' appears. Deleuze sees the modern cinema as exploring a thought outside itself and an unthought within thought. And it is 'thought' which remains his concern throughout. The construction of concepts is guided by a secret 'image of thought' which inspires by its developments, forkings and mutations the necessity of always creating new concepts, not as a function of external determinism, but as a function of a becoming which carries along the problems themselves.5

The creation of concepts in the cinema is guided by a powerful 'image of thought' which is central to our 'modernity'. As Deleuze says in a recent interview, what interested him about the cinema was that in the screen there can be a brain, as in Resnais or Syberberg's cinema. Cinema does not operate only with linkages by rational cuts, but by re-linkages on irrational cuts: this is not the same image of thought."

This image of thought through re-linkage by 'irrational cuts' inspires Deleuze's own constructive pluralism. He is engaged in the creation, the constant re-creation, of a philosophy of immanence, a constructive pragmatism. This book shows such a philosophy at work in the post-war cinema.

A whole range of new terminology is introduced in this volume. In general, these terms gain their sense through the roles they play in the assemblage of the text and we have not sought to provide further explanations. The reader is referred to the glossary of terms in Cinema /. However, the translation of a number of terms have presented additional difficulties.

The word 'auteur' is a problem for all translators of French writings about the cinema. Its usual sense is 'author', but it was applied to film makers to indicate a view of the director as author of the film. The word has sometimes been left untranslated but this turns an ordinary French word into a technical term. We have, in general, rendered 'auteur' as 'author'. It should be borne in mind that, when this word is used of film makers, it carries the sense of'director' as well as 'author'.

Deleuze uses the word 'bal(l)ade' to convey both 'balade' (trip) and 'ballade' (ballad). We have been unable to retain this dual sense in English and have rendered this terms as 'trip/ballad'. In this volume, as in Cinema /, Deleuze uses the term 'englobant' as a noun. The verb 'englober' has the sense of'to include, embody, bring together into a whole'. We have translated this term as 'encompasser'.

The word 'récit' is commonly translated as 'story', 'account' or even 'narrative' but is often used in conjunction with 'histoire' which is also translated as 'story', but also has the sense, 'history'. We have rendered 'récit' as 'story' with the French word in brackets when appropriate. The word 'fabulation' has been translated as 'story-telling'.

As always, Gilles Deleuze provided prompt and clear answers to all our questions and we would like to express our thanks for this and for the opportunity to take part in this adventure of time and movement. We owe a large debt of gratitude to Denise Cole for the word processing of a manuscript that always lived dangerously on the margins of legibility. Tippin Beesley did the same for a part of the manuscript. Simon Beesley provided support and assistance when it seemed it would never end. Martin Joughlin was constructive. Caroline Davidson is always told that this is the last one but continues to be tolerant. The translation is dedicated to Michael Galeta and Dorothy Thompson who have seen a lot of films.

Hugh Tomlinson Robert Galeta


1 Cinema I: The Movement-Image, translated Hugh Tomlinson and Barbara Habberjam, London: The Athlone Press, 1986.

2 Reda Bensmaia, Magazine littéraire. No. 257, septembre, 1988, p. 57.

3 See Gilles Deleuze, Francis Bacon: Logique de la Semation, 2 volumes, Paris: Edition de la Différence, 1981.

4 See 'Signes et événements', Magazine littéraire, No. 257, septembre 1988, p. 17.

6 loc cit.

0 0

Post a comment