Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Only the cinema

Seul le cinéma /  Le cinéma, seul

I'm reading about Raymond Bellour's latest book, La querelle des dispositifs, which attempts to differentiate a specific dispositif of cinema:
"To live through the projection of a film in a theatre, in the dark, the prescribed time of a more or less collective screening, has become and remains the condition of a unique experience of perception and memory, defining its spectator."
from that of other moving images - as in contemporary art installations - each of them having to invent its own dispositif.

And I came across this early passage, challenging the idea of a decline of cinema:
"At a time when, in phases, throughout the 80s, Daney seemed to lose hope in cinema as it was being hit, from outside and inside, by the invasion of television, advertising, 'brand images', everything he called 'the visual', with the concurrent drop in ticket sales and the desertification of theatres, at the time when he wrote this apocalyptic text 'From Movies to Moving' which seems to consummate a death or at least an irremediable transformation of cinema, this same year, 1989, Daney symbolically conceives in his diary the idea of a chronicle entitled 'Only the cinema' [Le cinéma, seul]."
Here's the extract from Daney's diaries (the first entry for 1989):
"Let's start up again here. This chronicle should be called 'Only the cinema'. It should talk about  what only the cinema is in charge of pursuing. It should be a way out from the period when we talked of 'images', the era of all the incests and the clever tricks. Anyway, it's my new starting point."
 And the translation of course is anything but simple. "Le cinéma, seul" can be read both as the exclusive "Solely the cinema" and as the melancholic "The cinema, alone."

Besides, it's "Le cinéma, seul" and not "Seul le cinéma" (Only the cinema). The latter has been used by Godard in Histoire(s) du cinéma, episode 2A... the one beginning with a chat with Daney...


  1. Thank you Laurent. Much food for thought here...

  2. You're welcome Andy. I like the many correspondences. Of course, Daney and Bellour went on to found Trafic a few years later… to focus on cinema.

    As food for thoughts, Bellour's is one of two important books published these last months on cinema. The other is Jacques Aumont's What's left of cinema (Que reste-t-il du cinéma?).

    Can't wait to read them.


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