Thursday, May 28, 2009

Points of view

More from L'exercice a été profitable, Monsieur:
12 December 1989 - Old principle of "our" cinephilia: the point of view. For me, the "point of view" is precisely what comes in the place of a body which is elided in the image, what can be seen from the blind spot. The point of view refers to what could be seen by a character who would always be in the camera's place. To stick with this point of view immediatly means confronting problems of mise en scène (since there are forbidden images, which would not be consistent with the unique point of view). The question of the "point of view" comes down to asking who is looking. Who is the additional character? For example, in Depardon's film, another guard, a guard "who would know".

The cinema of the unique point of view is disappearing (in both senses of the term) in its (mystical, pictural) relation to the "real". It abolishes itself. It never has much success since it confiscates for itself what's imaginary (and deprives the audience of it: Antonioni, Depardon). Obsessive.

The cinema of the double point of view is popular cinema by excellence, since it firmly camps between the shot and the "reaction shot" (read Warren's book), playing the "objet petit a" between two objects caught in a power struggle (see my old idea on Jaws: the shark and the child's legs). It's popular because it creates a vertiginous identifying between two poles: active/passive, chasing/chased, torturer/victim, etc. Hysteria.

This leaves the cinema with n points of views, in the end the greatest. It sometimes is "popular" but not necessarily. It has to juggle with paranoia, law, madness. I can't imagine a greater film than The Night of the Hunter in this category, the category of polyphony, of carnival (along maybe with Ivan the Terrible, 2001, some Ford's movies).

Tiebreaker: is the cinema of zero point of view possible? No. We would need to analyse television not with visual but with tactile metaphores ("point of touch", tactile padding) and proxemics.
pp. 196-7, POL, 1993, my translation

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