You are on page 1of 21

Thinking, Recounting: The Cinema of Gilles Deleuze Author(s): Raymond Bellour and Melissa McMuhan Source: Discourse, Vol.

20, No. 3, Gilles Deleuze: Areason to Believe in this World (Fall 1998), pp. 56-75 Published by: Wayne State University Press Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/41389499 . Accessed: 01/02/2014 09:52
Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at . http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp

.
JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact support@jstor.org.

Wayne State University Press is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to Discourse.

http://www.jstor.org

This content downloaded from 158.129.160.193 on Sat, 1 Feb 2014 09:52:18 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

Thinking, The Cinema

Recounting: Deleuze

of Gilles

Raymond Bellour

For Fanny

tothe FlixGuattari These remarks arededicated , whose memory of presence the course betoolittle invoked over and thought willno doubt , ofthese days in what weare heparticipates and in so many eventhough , sofully ways, here. evoking I wanted, I would torediscover desire became clear like , totry (and this me to this the when the had the kindness to ask organizers open gathering) I read these and the which were mine when astonishment first stupefaction : the thesky books which through ofcinema theory passedlikea meteorite in which but in relation to which French cinema they theory of participate, arealsoforeign. they is announced in the here willdevelop towhat (according Manyofthose or listings) points oftheory ofconceptualization opened program particular which will twobooks Deleuze elaborated ; precise, by arguments up bythese allowus to knowa little more aboutdnemaand aboutphilosophy, and time in this abouttheir relation, forthe first way. enigmatic posed I would tell that books like to to the simply try again effect these produced in their areand whatthey forme,a little ofwhatthey provoke, generality event. Thisseemed tome,before the realwork, as in the singularity oftheir Fall 56-75. 1998 State Press, Discourse, 20.3, 1998, Wayne University pp. Copyright by 48201-1309. Detroit, Michigan 56

This content downloaded from 158.129.160.193 on Sat, 1 Feb 2014 09:52:18 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

Fall 1998

57

tothiswork A way and in relation , theleast , perhaps, poorintroduction. in view the the which served , tokeep simply programme implied by fewwords A as a title tothe lasttext Gilles Deleuze:"Immanence: recently by published "l Life.... 1. to deThe first is a projectthatis difficult whichis striking thing all in Deleuze's fine.Because itisa singular first of own oeuvre. book, we in effect findin this Despite thesmallvalue ofsuchdistributions, oeuvrewhatcould be called booksofgeneralphilosophy-Difference - and monographson a given and Repetition or TheLogicofSense or some of whichare no less significant author,philosopher not, works:on Nietzsche,Proustand Spinoza {TheFold being situated betweenthe two:a reflection on Leibniz, and a philosophyof the as also the on . But Bacon, Logiquede la sensation) Baroque; essay neverwould Deleuze, alone or withFlix Guattari, have conceived in thiswaya book on an art,a domain here named Cinema. The domain could- the idea sometimescomes up- just as well have been called Literature or Painting:twoyearsbefore TheMovementthe Bacon book initiatessuch a gesturetowardspainting; Image, et later will touch on literature, but in mono, on, Critique clinique and mixed with It is thus notwithout graphicfragments, philosophy. a strongreason thatthe domain touched in thiswaya singletime in itsentirety is called Cinema. There is thus this unique book, bearer of a unique gesture: Deleuze deciding one fine day,afterhaving seen many filmsin his life as a philosopher,to take on cinema, almost a centuryof cinema, wholesale,in order to tryto say somethingabout it, not because he, likeothers, would in turnhave ideas on cinema, simply but ratherin order to take hold of the fieldof cinema in his own This assumesan extraordinary and very effort which way. particular and cinema engages the questionofa relationbetweenphilosophy at itsvitaledge. On theone hand thereis philosophy, definedmany times thereis the byDeleuze as a creationofconcepts.On theother, cinemathatitis a questionofthinking, to theextent thatthecinema thinksalready,and not only due to the reflexivity that it has so oftendemonstrated in relationto itself, butin factbecause, likeany in itself of greatfilm-makers. art,cinema thinks throughthe films Deleuze made thisclearin thepaper givento FEMIS2 ("WhatIs the Actof Creation?" publishedin partunder the title"Havingan Idea in Cinema"); significantly, he confronts thereperhapsforthe first timethe three-way divisiondeveloped later philosophy-science-art

This content downloaded from 158.129.160.193 on Sat, 1 Feb 2014 09:52:18 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

58

Discourse 20.3

in What is thustheactivity Is Philosophy .^ Philosophy whichconsists and in creating concepts;as scienceis thatwhichcreatesfunctions; used in blocs oflines/colours(thesearen'ttheexactterms painting : they a condensationafter thefactofwhatis conCinema are rather structed without there). And this anyoftheseactivities-philosophy - everbeingin a positionto overshadow the no morethananyother of thinking the cinema,in another others.It willthusbe a matter to think withcinema ratherthan about ), by trying way ( autrement a book ofphilosophy withcinema.This remains cinema,bywriting the mostdifficult thingto think. Forthis betweenphilosophy book,whichinducesa newrelation hisbook bywriting: and cinema,is also a history. Deleuze introduces "This study is not a history of cinema. It's a taxonomy, an attempt of imagesand signs."4 The onlyhistory thathe at the classification via Peirce whose semiotics he uses as an invokes, going open model and inspiration, is a "naturalhistory," thatof Linnaeus, namelya ofa purely taxonomical Andyetitis also a matter ofhishistory type. in Cinema in the most banal and most ofthe sense , tory, complicated term(even thoughitis nevera matter ofdatingnor ofinforming) . The material ofthebook is distributed to two according greatphases whichcorrespondto thedivision intotwo volumes:on theone hand classical cinema, on the other modern cinema; the break being establishedessentially fromthe timeof the war,fromthe cinema whichisbornafter thewarwith Itis thusindeed ItalianNeo-Realism. a matterof developingcinema fromitsbeginnings, fromthe first moments ofcinema,thensilentcinema,to themostcontemporary cinema and video. The greatoppositionbetweenclassicalcinema and moderncinema corresponds to thegap betweenthe twotitles: TheMovement-Image and TheTime-Image. The first qualifiescinema conceivedas a unitary "rational cuts"beworld,constructed upon tweenshots,and accordingto typesof montagewhichinduce an indirect schmas,thanks image of timefoundedon sensori-motor to a continuity betweenactionand reaction whichsupposesorganic relations betweenthe "whole"and itssets- boththewholegrasped the by image and the possiblewhole of theworld.At the opposite "irrational cuts"which end, modern cinema is built on ruptures, betweenshots;theactionsare suppose a new,unassignableinterval no longer determinedin functionof a stimulus-response system, but are subject to a general phenomenon of immobilization and which bringsabout a directaccess to time,a direct clairvoyance in spite evolution, flow, image oftime.There is thusindeed history, of pointsof anticipation and reversal(the mostnotable being the role assignedto Ozu, "theinventor of opsignsand sonsigns," who alone alreadyconceivesa pure time-image within the verytimeof the movement-image).

This content downloaded from 158.129.160.193 on Sat, 1 Feb 2014 09:52:18 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

Fall 1998

59

Let us consideralso thewayDeleuze, in TheTime-Image , carves up cinema once again, in relationto language,dialogue and more to the soundtrack, threegreatstagesthatmatch generally forming his first division. There is thusthesilentcinemain whichtheimage is double: on the one hand purelyseen, on the otherread in the classicalsound cinema in whichthe image is visibleand intertitle; readable at the same timebecause speech has become an internal dimension;modern cinema,whichin itsextremeexamples tends to separatethe componentsof the image betweenan autonomous textand an autonomous image, both visibleand readable at the same time,together and separately. for periodization,is not new in Such a concern for history, Deleuze. We can think of the review he carriesout at the end ofhis in orderto book on Foucault,inspiredbythevisionof thisthinker, a division"the classical historical formation": propose three-way formation ofthe20thcentury": "the "theGod-form"; "thehistorical "the formation of future": "the the over-man" man-form"; (he says also: "the un-fold," "thefold,""the over-fold"). We can also think of the wayhe grasps,thanksto Bacon, the greatstagesof painting in his own way since Egyptian art,since "each paintersummarizes of painting." the history We can especiallythinkof the greattriad of the thirdchapterofAnti-Oedipus : "Savages,Barbarians, Civilized ofa "history" ofhumanity; itsmovement Men,"a sketch openingup, on thecurrent ofa controlleddrift, itsownfracture and diffraction intodated conceptualevents whichfly intosparksin the disjointed A of Thousand Plateaus willin factsayabout these (Deleuze spaces books written withFlix Guattari:"We have always had a tastefor a universalhistory."5) We can thinkin thisway of the historical ? Such are the "Geophilosophy"dimension of WhatIs Philosophy and muchmorethan of an tension signs, just signs, always operative betweenanalyzing, and Because a describing, thinking recounting. is above all everything thatseeks to recountitself and finds history itself being recounted. As such,readingthisbook on cinema,one experiencesa most a thought thatunfolds itself disturbing feeling. Following according to logicalaxes and modes,accordingto a conceptualtaxonomy that then correspondsto the different aspectsof the movement-image, the time-image, one findsoneself despite everything and at the same timefollowing in broad strokes the curvesof worldcinema. These are forexample,in TheMovement-Image, thefourgreatforms of montage (organic,dialectical, , intensive-extensive) quantitative, respectively definingthe American,Soviet,French and German cinemas.It's a division thatis moreor lessfoundin all Expressionist the good histories(but therearen't anyreally good ones), as in all the aesthetics of cinema (there aren't reallyanybetter) . Similarly

This content downloaded from 158.129.160.193 on Sat, 1 Feb 2014 09:52:18 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

60

Discourse 20.3

thereis the gradationwhichleads, in The Time, fromNeoImage Realismto theNew Waveand to New GermanCinema. But here it is a strictly conceptualorder thatensuresthe developmentof this and seems to shape it in advance even ifit originates in it. history In thisand on a broader level,a just and beautiful thinghappens: the coincidence of this vision of Deleuze's with Godard's of Deleuze's project workand image. The first public formulation thewayhe givesthem), in Novem(written, appearsin an interview ber 1976 in Cahiers du nma : an interview dedicated to Six Times Two to reconstitute , Godard's first greatTV series."In orderto try Godard's image-soundrelation,"Deleuze says,Ve would have to recounta veryabstract withseveralepisodes." Prefiguring history, the modes of conceptualization of his future book, he underlines the coincidencebetweenthishistory thathe sketches withthe first for a reference of Matter and and calls , systematic chapter Memory to Bergson for approaching cinema.6 However it is preciselyin thesesame yearsof the 70s thatGodard conceivesthe project,first histoire du une vritable appearing in a spoken book (Introduction to a TrueHistory which has been cinma[Introduction ofCinema]), form oversevenyearsin thesixfirst episodesoftheHistoire(s) taking ofan attempt at history: howto du cinma . There again itis a matter moment the of cinema as a whole at a when history cinema, grasp as a global object, has become somethingimpossible,be it only for an enormity reinvented because ofitsnew enormity, ceaselessly because of the as much as downwards itand thatmultiplies upwards on all sides.Butitis precisely explosionthatcinemais experiencing becomes moreand moreinaccessible at themomentthatthething or thosewhowishto be, thattwoprojects, historians to professional but curiously close in theirscope, their modes following divergent forthefirst oftheir desireforprecisionand theinspiration thought, of timeconceive,once again, a quite different possibility a history of cinema. The first of cinema. The first artist-history conceptual to do the other,ifonlyto Each has much with of cinema. history remainin debt, theextentthatthephilosopherand thefilm-maker the other to the which he lends himself, one to the non-history of (hi) stories( histoires ) whichhe giveshimself.7 multiplicity 2. one of its It's thatthisbook is also a novel of the 20thcentury, novels. historical are behind the scenes of thisbook on cinema, Three figures even if Deleuze seldom refersto them. Three novelistfigures:

This content downloaded from 158.129.160.193 on Sat, 1 Feb 2014 09:52:18 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

Fall 1998

61

on the second and the Balzac, Zola, Proust.Deleuze has written and Signsas the model thirdof them;and Balzac appears in Proust of Remembrance thatopened up the possibility ... .If these three novelists are important a model here, it's because theyeach offer of the developmentof species,families, on a groups,individuals, scale comparable to those put into playin Cinema 1 and 2 using a and a historical conceptualclassification plan. Let us just recall thatthe different typesof movement-images are conceived using concepts that Deleuze recognizes in Bergson: perception-image, to whichare action-image, affection-image, added as so many intermediary modes the impulse-image, the the relation-image. Thus these images proceed reflection-image, from the movement-image towards the time-image,acquiring thecategories ofPeirceand beyondothernamesand other through in relationto the momentwhere time appears directly as forms, in and thought, such, inducingnumerousmodes of construction betweenpresentand past and falsification and truth: all particular thatis establishedand circulates the multipleequivocations within of the crystal-image. It is withinthisframe,establishedfromone volumeto the otherthrough fourkeychapters, thefour"commentarieson Bergson,"thatDeleuze introducesfilm-makers, national the moments of cinema one one and in relation cinemas, great by to each other. To each conceptualinnovation, to each singular form or sub-form of the image correspondstheplacementofa "school," a workor a part of a workthatseems in factto itself induce the and it It is in this that the novelistic give body. concept qualityof classification whichthusarrangesthecharacters' entrances resides, and exits,the launchingand actionsof the dramatis personae. Buuel, for example. When Deleuze creates the categoryof theimpulse-image within themovement-image, an imageinscribed withitsown specific forcebetweenthe action-image and the affeche a invents which had never been riskedin tion-image, pairing such a wayand thatappeared to manyall the more striking: that of Buuel and Stroheim, the Spanish-Mexican film-maker and the Austrian-American film-maker. No doubttheword"naturalism" had been mentionedhere and there,oftenforthe second, sometimes for the first. But thanksto a "naturalism" thatis here taken as a model by Deleuze fromZola, a strict conjunctionis effectuated betweenBuuel and Stroheim, reunited thistimeunder organically this same concept of the impulse-image. They enter in thisway like characters, each posed in relationto the other,each opposed to the other.But Buuel's case becomes more complicated.His fourlastfilms, his Frenchfilms, escape the model of being determined by the impulsive"depths"and will be called upon much

This content downloaded from 158.129.160.193 on Sat, 1 Feb 2014 09:52:18 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

62

Discourse 20.3

later in The Time-Image , in a chapter dedicated to what Deleuze, after and "sheetsofpast."As such Bergson,calls "peaksof present" in thissecond stage Buuel suddenlyreturnsas auteur-character of the book. This is how a kind of "novelistic effect" de ( une sorte is constituted, the examples of whichare multiple. "romanesque") The wordwillseemexcessive, orvague;itis determining. As Deleuze writes while attempting to identify (again in his paper to FEMIS) the specific dimensionsof the philosophicalact in regardto those act: "Philosophy also tells stories( histoires of the artistic ). It tells Or as he goes on to say: "In philosophy storieswithconcepts."8 it is as it is in a novel: one mustask: 'What will happen?,' 'What are concepts."9 Onlythathere the happened?,' onlythe characters enterintofusion withthesemultiple characters concept-characters who are the variousfilm-makers, and thereby withthe bodies of the actor-characters who recur throughtheirfilms, whose matter is as if drained by a conceptual energythat never ceases to be at the same time evocativeand narrative, of storyof an infinity stories. also opening up "Novelistic withoutthe novel,"and thereby the reinvention of the novel. We owe it to Barthesto have in this his personal project- the waytouched upon- in order to qualify in Frenchthought movement thathas been so strong since the60s, a certain number of and into artworks books making places inwhich the search for knowledgeand truthmetamorphosedbefore our to the forceof a viewof fiction or fabulation eyesbysurrendering thatalone was capable of respondingto the new anxietiesof the times:Lvi-Strauss in his Mythologies , Barthesfromhis Michelet , to Lucida de la folie{Madness S/Z,to Camera , Foucault fromL'Histoire and Civilization) to TheHistory , Deleuze and Guattari ofSexuality fromAnti-Oedipus to A Thousand Plateaus , Deleuze in his Cinema. The astonishing and movingthingabout thisbook is thus to feel to whatextentone is continually caughtup in the taxonomy since the concepts are ordered and progressin relationto each other,but relativeto the fact that each concept is immediately incarnatedin a name, bodies, a work,a body of workor epochs. The impulse-image-to expand on thisexample- thus puts into then Buuel, then Losey,all threedefinedby Stroheim, play first constructed and open system, minutely positionsin a constraining each time thrownout like a dice-throw according to this delinthatformsthe kernel quent and revitalized styleof structuralism of Deleuze 's thoughtand becomes the instrument of the energy thatdrivesit. Anotherthing strikes and sustains one's reading:no film-maker in thishistory is ever the object of a value judgment,except that

This content downloaded from 158.129.160.193 on Sat, 1 Feb 2014 09:52:18 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

Fall 1998

63

whichemergesfromthe classification and genealogy.It goes without saying thateach new film-maker thatis introducedis valorized fact:cinemais theartinvented bythisvery bythegreatfilm-makers in thiswayto a "politics of the auteur," (the book testifies tranquil and immanent, whichowesmuch to thatof Cahiers du cinma but at the same timeremainsquite free;the silences,exclusionsor omissions have no polemical character: we are not in anywaydealing an exhaustive with evenifthewhole,the"Whole"enters and history, coexists we sense,predilections there). Of coursewe sense,we think attached to such or such an operation.A section of the chapter "Thoughtand cinema,"dedicated to the idea of choice, and of the choice of choice, one of the most dizzying momentsof The Timethus face to face three , directors, Bresson,Dreyerand Image brings each one linked to this ethical and Rohmer, metaphysical problem thatDeleuze bringsup throughPascal and Kierkegaard. We feel him there so strongly affected this idea the that text vibrates by witha sortofwavetouchingthe threeauteurswho had thecapacity to reformulate it. But thisis not a value judgment; no more than bias of an any ideological nature is ever introduced.Here every auteur carries his/hervalue in himself/herself, is found on the side of value; auteurs being differentiated only by the diversity and progressive variationsof the value-types that theyincarnate. This positionperceptibly reinforces the novelistic characterof the It is not central to Balzac to value project. carry judgments (even in the name of a need thoughhe does so, as a kindof supplement, formoral order thatgradually fadesawayin Zola and Proust), but ratherto ensure thatall social categoriesare well-represented and relatedto each otherin orderto realizethe 19thcentury projectof the "comdie ."As thereis similarly humaine forProustthenecessity to construct theworldthathe conceivesaccordingto a setofsocial,faA beautiful milial,racial,sexual and animalstratifications. example is thusthe treatment Deleuze reserves forFord,in thefirst chapter dedicated to the action-image where he posits the termsof "the and "themilieu":itis a matter ofqualifying the "large encompasser" form" in classicalcinema (whichpositsa situation engenderingan actionin such a waythatthemodifiedsituation callsforth a second actionwhichitself . . . etc.,untilthe finalsituation has become the transformed resultof the originalsituation) . This chapteron Ford and America,theAmericanDream, is the occasion ofjust ( exactes ) and movingpages dedicated to what would have been called in othertimesthe capitalist Americanimperialism. It is the ideology, towardsthe end of the 60s, question that Godard asked himself, faced with the photo of John Wayne holding Natalie Wood in his arms,in one of the most beautifulmomentsof TheSearchers :

This content downloaded from 158.129.160.193 on Sat, 1 Feb 2014 09:52:18 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

64

Discourse 20.3

or mise-en scne ?" It's the questionthatstillhauntshis "Imperialism and clouded bya more or less explicitanti-Americanism Histoire(s), animatedby a messianicRussophilia,pre-and post-revolutionary, exalted in Les enfants , due to which there is a jouent la Russie conjugationof the religiousdesireforthe image and the nostalgia It's the inevitablequestion thatDeleuze here for the revolution. treatedemergeonlyin theirpositivity avoidsso thatall the figures elementsgraspedconceptually on a novelistic as so manycinematic of becomesone ofthevirtualities level.In suchawaythateach figure are being the cinemawhosehistory, evolutionand transformations told,withoutthe film-makers beingjudged other than as a series of species,havingbecome throughthe forceof conceptsso many in a novel. characters the questionthatthisbook, unique among Thus we can clarify the inventions of a philosopher, induces:whythe cinema,whythe cinemaat thatpoint?Quite simply so thatphilosophy can thusitself itsnovel.This is to repeattowhatextent cinemawillhavebeen write the onlyone at once the art of the century and the art of reality, thatallowsphilosophyto put itself so direcdyin relationwiththe "Whole"accordingto a global perspective continually agitatedby the object of the and ruptures(thisis in particular fragmentations second volumein relationto thefirst) to confront the , and thereby has novelor thespecific novelistic that cinema quality producedfor the 20thcentury, as the materialand thought of thiscentury. and natThus, fromthe point of view of thisboth novelistic ural history, it becomes essentialthatall the typesof cinema are and theirmode of presentedhere in proportionto theirreality existencewithinthe Historyof Cinema, the "Whole" of cinema. This is to say that alongside the multipletypesof the great cinema of fiction whichis neverqualifiedas such, thereappear the more singularand alwaysbadly-named typesof cinema that are the documentary, or experimental cinema (and even cinma vt abstract or "eidetic"cinema). Followingthe directthreadbetween developmentof a history, conceptualizationand the differential Deleuze is able to introduce,chapterby chapter, these somewhat different withthe same conceptsand thuson ( autres ) film-makers the same level as all the others,to the extentthat the concepts distinctions that produced are above the generally over-simplistic are used to differentiate them.One section, admirable foritsartistic and political is thusdedicated,in thechapter"The Powers vigilance, of the False," to the act of fabulationin supposed documentarymakerssuch as Rouch, earlyCassavetesand the Canadian Pierre as all greatcritics Perrault. This is howDeleuze ruins, do, theat once false and powerfuloppositionbetweenfictionand documentary,

This content downloaded from 158.129.160.193 on Sat, 1 Feb 2014 09:52:18 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

Fall 1998

65

in the"conclusions" and evenallows, of TheTime-Image , beyondthis, an overcomingof the even more crucial divergencebetweenthe animated ( dessin ) image and the recorded image. This is whyit is a unique and atypicalfilm, entitled Film,the onlyfilm precisely likea matrix, absorbs which, strictly speakingattempted byBeckett, the three barely-introduced varietiesof the movement-image, in thefirst hisultimate volume,in orderto open up, through plan "of all thatthe second once more the worldbeforeman,"10 attaining volumewilldevelop as the suspendedcategoriesofthe time-image. 3. This force of the novelisticleads to one of the problematic or of the narrative points of thisbook: the question of narration, in its relation to fiction. (rcit), In the second chapter of The Time-Image, "Recapitulationof and of Deleuze a little his debt to settles, Images Signs," rapidly, incarnated the of work Christian Metz. This allowsus semiology, by to graspin an interesting and to how what Deleuze seeks way point to distinguish himself fromanypriority of a ( emprise ) semiological, in thiswayone of the or narratological order,situating linguistic desires of his book. "For Metz, narrationrefersto one or several determinants from codes as underlying whichitflows into linguistic theimagein theshape ofan evident On the it seems given. contrary, to us thatnarration is onlya consequence of thevisible( apparent ) images themselvesand their direct combinations- it is never a derives from theorganic given.So-calledclassicalnarration direcdy of or from their composition movement-images {montage), specification as perception-images, and action-images, affection-images schema.We shall see that accordingto the lawsof a sensory-motor the modern formsof narrationderivefromthe compositions and even "readability." Narrationis never an typesof the time-image: evident( apparent ofa structure which ) givenofimages,or theeffect underliesthem;itis a consequence of thevisible( apparent ) images of the perceptibleimages in themselves, as theyare themselves, definedforthemselves."11 initially The concern that Deleuze shows to thus distinguish himself fromanycategory pre-defined bylanguage or theoriesoflanguage seems to come up againsta dimensionthatis difficult to exclude: the reality of narration as a forceinternalto all cultureor,to put it the factthatwe have alwaystold stories.In thisverybanal simply, the activity of narration, is obviously anteriorto sense, narration, the appearance of cinema, and thislatterbecomesjust one of its

This content downloaded from 158.129.160.193 on Sat, 1 Feb 2014 09:52:18 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

66

Discourse 20.3

in spiteofitssingularity as movement-image. IfDeleuze modalities, and is resolute,at the riskof seemingtoo simplistic, it's so insists, thatthisspecificity ofthemovement-image be in no wayreabsorbed and relativized withinthe misleadinggenerality of the operations of language. By the same gesturehe takes the risk of ignoring as such,whichis not necessarily coextensive withthese narrativity operations,whetheron a large or a small scale, on its molar or molecularlevels,to use the termsof the fundamental opposition of Anti-Oedipus .12 We must grasp here the exigencyof a strong desirewhose formulation mustseem all the less banal forthe fact that it accomplishes a novelisticof the multiplewhich is to be examined and whichcould be statedin the following way:a desire to recommencethehistory oftheworldusingthehistory ofcinema. Whatis the aim of thisdesirefornarration to onlyreally begin withthe images themselves, thisforcewhichattempts to have the oftheworldbeginagainwiththeappearance ofcinemaand history thehistory thatone can graspofitfrom theend ofthe 19thcentury, at the momentof the "crisis of science and psychology" whichalso a crisis of to both which Nietzsche and Bergsupposed philosophy in theirown way?In chapterIV of TheMovement-Image son testify , the "second commentary" on Bergson,Deleuze evokes,following of the world Bergson,whatcould be called the recommencement as a setofimages:a moment, at once scientific and mythical, where matterand lightare identical,where thereare stillimages everywherebeforethereis even "a screen,"a surface,to stop them,in orderto createthesespecial and living imageswhichwillconstitute themselves is to sayall perceptions, Which and byreflecting light. in a singular the of the cinema way perception cinema, imageitself, from thispointon, countas a sortofrecommencement oftheworld as cinema.In thiswaya desirefora history ofcinema,a desirefora of theworldand a desirefora history of philosophy attract history each otherand takeshape together. The divisionof Cinemainto twovolumes is clear,functional, and has a definite effect which (in spiteoftheambiguities dynamic to the variable historical of the two belong assignation typesof .13 But one also in feels at times the second a sortof volume image) in a which a still , will, ( ) moving-off demarrage slippage onlyobscurely a volume,becomes manifest. operativein the first My suggestion: will to reconstruct a history of philosophyusing that of cinema. In effect, a double comparisonis littleby littlesuperimposed, in The Time-Image or , upon the coherentprogressionof the history the taxonomy of cinema. On the one hand classicalcinema seems thereto be correlatedwithclassicalphilosophy- the conceptions of theworld,the philosophicalsystems, Kantor Hegel, presentfor

This content downloaded from 158.129.160.193 on Sat, 1 Feb 2014 09:52:18 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

Fall 1998

67

ofthegreatforms ofmonexample analogieswiththeimplications tage (a precise comparisonis thuscarriedout betweenEisenstein and Hegel as system-builders: like a cinematographic "Eisenstein, Hegel"14). On theotherhand,in a second age, moderncinemawill become the analogue of modernphilosophy, thatwhichgoes from Nietzscheto Deleuze passingvia Bergsonwithanticipatory figures such as Pascal or Kierkegaard. It is in thiswaythatphilosophy finds itself linkedto cinema,as to thisdesireforthehistorical novelwhich informs both of them. It is striking to see how all throughthe second volume the sensori-motor builton the action/ reimage (the movement-image action couple) is relatedto classicalphilosophy as a specific mode of conceptual elaboration.If thereare twophilosophies,as there are twokindsof image,it'sbecause therecould also be twowaysof constructing concepts.We are touchinghere on themostproblematic and difficult thatbelongs to thingin thisbook (it's a difficulty all of Deleuze 's books, but thatthe materialtreatedhere endows witha supplementary dimension:thiscinema whichis the whole of theworldand of reality and of the century) . The sensori-motor is thus described as "an of an arresting image agent abstraction," its in which blocks and closes over force, center, short as a up localizable and namable reality. 'The movement-image, in itsvery of truth whichit invokeswhile essence, is answerableto the effect movementpreservesits centers."15 In thisway,it doesn't in itself have access to the "powersof the false": the time-image whose outlinestake shape "whenaberrations of movement take on their independence; that is, when the movingbodies and movements lose theirinvariants. There thenoccursa reversal wheremovement ceases to demand the true and where time ceases to be subordinate to movement."16 In thiswaythereis an oppositionbetweena namable fixedness ofoperationsand a reality whoseedge is elusive, thatby thisveryfactconstantly risk, bringingup categorizations as in a dicethrow, being put into question and repeatedly put into Ifthereis thusa history ofphilosophy playin relationto each other. internal to thetwomodes ofcinemawhosehistory is attempted and whose image is reconstructed it's thatphilosophy by philosophy, also dividesitself mannersto elaborate accordingto twodivergent itsconcepts. 4. Following this the question imposes itself,one of the most both aimed at and realizedhere,ofthestatus oflanguage, difficult,

This content downloaded from 158.129.160.193 on Sat, 1 Feb 2014 09:52:18 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

68

Discourse 20.3

of writing, of whatit includes and excludes,allows,proposes and givesto thought. We mustthen focuson the tensionthatis broughtto lightin as system," to thesebooks betweenwhatDeleuze calls "philosophy and thefreeand infinite whichhe has shownhisattachment, speed Is Philosophy ?17 of conceptsin thewayitwas finally positedin What of It seems in effectthat the passage via the sensible proximity forthe cinema- as modulationof the real itself-was determining artthat has been supposed intensified conceptionofa philosophical and Repetition : a fictional since Difference opening alwaysbringing of art and philosophycloser togetherin theircommon difficulty drawing planesoverchaos.Thisto thepointofthe"unrealizable incould be a centraldimension, terferences" whose narration-fiction to the extentthatit neverceases to linksensationand concept. such a tension. There are manywaysof unfolding and If The seems to a) Movement-Image obey a more normative is in than The this , classifying logic Time-Image precise proportion to the gap between classical cinema and modern cinema which correspondsto the gap thatis operativeoverthe course of the two a staggered betweenclassicaland volumesand follows parallelism Butmorebroadly it'sa tension modernphilosophy. betweensystemin itself slides from a form of possible and which aticity singularity in its extent. On into a relation of opposition implication dizzying theone hand thereisin Cinema a very coherence. strong conceptual thisis the mostconceptually It seems even thatsince Anti-Oedipus architectonic ofDeleuze's (and Deleuze-Guattari's) books,theone in the archiwhose conceptsremainthe mostconstantly entwined tectureand progression of the book. Althoughit does not present itself as a system itis in thisaspecta truly strictly speaking, systematic a "glossary" book. There is thusat the end of TheMovement-Image which presentsthe rudimentsof a conceptual table, with their definitions. section1 ofthe "Conclusions" of The rigorous Similarly, an admirable of the whole Time-Image presents summary project thatbringsout itsforceof articulation, itsconceptualsignposts, its historical itstaxonomical And the co-ordinates, clarity. yet language, theconceptuallanguageofDeleuze is in no waynormative, appeals to no truly founded idea of truth and can even accept in itsheart whathe namesso well"thepowersofthefalse," in favor ofwhichthe in The Time-Image crucial passage is effectuated fromthe sensorimotor image inscribedin a truthof action, to its dissolutionin a time-image whichwould no longer be eithertrue or false,but undecidable. of the b) We must thus admit that the apparent objectivity is a matterof singularity, and even the conceptual systematicity

This content downloaded from 158.129.160.193 on Sat, 1 Feb 2014 09:52:18 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

Fall 1998

69

In one of the most beautiful veryexercise of a pure singularity. of TheTime-Image on the relations betweenthebody developments and the brain,cinema and thought, overAntonioni, one lingering ofthefilm-makers himand in whomhe idenwho has mostinspired tifies a confrontation betweena weariness ofbodies and a freshness of the brain,Deleuze has thisastonishing sentence: "Antonioni's formulais valid for him only,it is he who inventsit."18 There is in favorof Deleuze and his book this a greattemptation to invert formulathus ascribed to Antonioniand thatDeleuze inventsfor him. But what sense is therein supposingthatthisextraordinary and singularsystem whichreallyisn'tone is onlyvalid forDeleuze and thathe is the one who invents it? How can we qualify in this the book of the of cinema as a way only capable grasping history us such an impression in relationto each whole in giving of "truth" one oftheauteursittreats and whichhas become, ifwe think about the and coherent aesthetic the artof it, onlyglobal todaytouching cinema in itsentirety? c) In this regard we again come across both the logic that ofthebook and itsboomerang-effect presidedoverthecomposition in the culturaluniverseof the criticism and theory of cinema that it appears to come out of. We know to what extentDeleuze was inspiredin a large part by the completed analysesof a verygreat number of auteurs that he scrupulously cites, lettingus believe a subtle that these through equivocation analysesvouch for the truthof the workstheytouch on whileall the whilehe makes this truth his own bya specificconceptual transmutation and qualities of evocation thatare so determinedthatit becomes improbable thateach auteur would recognize himself in them.19 And, at the otherend of the chain,under the extraordinary effect of freshair that these books have in particularproduced in the semi-closed worldof cinema thought, we have seen the swarming of Deleuzian references of fashion, beyondthe effects veryoftenincurring logical conflicts betweenconcepts and positions,exacerbatedby the internalautonomyof Deleuze's thoughtwhichit seems powerful (we can thinkof thewaythe authorsin the designed to crystallize "Cahiers"tradition, to whom Deleuze is particularly close, had to Lacanian heritage and practicea delicateblend betweena still-vivid the immanentconcepts of the Deleuzian visionwithwhichit has littlecompatibility) . ofa bookwhich, d) Whencetheparadoxicalsituation seeingthe wholeoftheworldin thewholeofthecinema,and,in thisthought of thewhole,thewholeofthought, offers itself at thesame timeas that "toolbox" towhichDeleuze and Guattari referred thedestiny ofthe from idea of in book-form, abdicating any totalizing objectivity favor

This content downloaded from 158.129.160.193 on Sat, 1 Feb 2014 09:52:18 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

70

Discourse 20.3

ofa sortofgeneralizedsubjective ( bricolage ) . Whence the tinkering of being "Deleuzian,"enigmatically particular difficulty predicted and by Foucault, as soon as one recognizesthatone is attracted held, even on the conceptualplane, bythe demandingcomplicity of a singularity much more thanbythe distant truth of an affirmation.Whence, also, the difficulty of not being Deleuzian: whichis whatperhaps Foucault was referring to. As the true generosity of such a thoughtis in a sense to exclude everything thatis not it, opening up in thiswayall the more assemblages,as manyassemit unfolds.A blages as readingsit givesrise to and lines of flight in thissense ancientand new,truly "for and for thought everybody nobody." of becoming-artist, e) It's the veryquestion of the novelistic, of philosophyas art, of the fictionof concepts or concepts as fiction. It can be recognizedin particular in the factthatDeleuze is a writer-philosopher who almostinvents a conceptual language of his thought("the per book. The insistenceand the constancy 20 this and the greatNietzsche-Spinoza identity") supports invention of both and favors it. But it is crossbreedings concepts tempers remarkablethat,withrare exceptions,ifnot forsome verybroad more as coordinatesthanspurs,the enorconceptswhichfunction mous battery of conceptsused in Cinema no antecedentin any h<is of his previousbooks and willhave no directecho in thosewhich followit. It is all the more striking in thisbook where,as in AntiA and Thousand there is a recommencement ofthe Plateaus, Oedipus this time from the moment when the world starts to world, starting become whatit has not stoppedbecomingsince,whenthe crisisof ofscienceand coincides thought accompaniesthetransformations withthe appearance of cinema. Deleuze has a formulaforresolving any tensionbetweenphias a and the fiction of must losophy system concepts: "the system not onlybe in perpetualheterogeneity, it mustbe a heterogenesis ." Deleuze can in thisway, almostin the same sentence,feel himself to be "a very classicalphilosopher" and positthatsuch a movement "has neverbeen attempted."21 The system willthusbe just as much the mostabsolutesingularity. ofitsexerciseas in f) In this wayis posed, in theconcretereality the question of the concept and itsantagonistic dimension: itself, on the one hand recognitionof an operativeidentity attached to the veryfactof its nominationand which is sanctionedby its on the othervariation, drift, relativization, constancy; mutability, thethreadofthesamemovement inwhich undecidability, following itis confirmed. Such is theantagonism thatwillbe workedthrough to itsextremeconsequences in What Is Philosophy ?.

This content downloaded from 158.129.160.193 on Sat, 1 Feb 2014 09:52:18 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

Fall 1998

71

Nothingin thisbook expressesbetterthe waythe genesis of Cinemain twovolumes allowsus to understandthe philosophical attachments ofcinema,acrossthehistory ofa century to whichcinema offers a reality and imposesa logic,thanthehaunting ofarrest atwork. Itis this thatcinemaaverts in itself and perpetually haunting progressively, passing fromthe ancient conception of movement made of discontinuous poses to itsmodern conceptionconceived and affirming according to the equalityof any-instant-whatevers, in the variousopenings of montage.It's thishaunting,boritself variousmasks(clich,photography, all fixations rowing semiology, of theimage through and following decomposition language), and realizes itself augmentingitselfto the extentthatthe time-image whichis the forceof time itself, in a by a sortof immobilization, cinema of the seer devouredbyhis ownvision,bypure opticaland sound images. It's the hauntingof an arresting of movement, life and immanence that playedagainstdeath, againsttranscendence, Deleuze transforms the concept of "aberrant movement," through whoseforceseemsin this thesuspended,but wayas muchto qualify as a new wayof alwaysmore vital,timeof the new cinema-image, to do continuing philosophy. How can the concept be both whatsuspends,arrests, consists, and whatflees,opens all the lines of flight? How can it be affected by an immobile speed? Deleuze alreadytouches the core of this in the image, when, following Bergson,he defines,between the and the the affection-image as "a perception-image action-image, motoreffort on an immobilizedreceptiveplate."22 This vibration of pure affection and itsinterval becomes whatthe timeprecisely in liberates it is its which is and willbecome itself, aberration, image thatof the concept itself as "centerofvibration."23 the g) It's fromthispointofviewthatwe mustalso understand idea posited at the end of The Time-Image, of a language entering into cinema, in an apparently fromthe paradoxical way,starting talkingfilm,in "the components of the image." This language, whichthusbecomes partof theimagewithout nevertheless ceasing to obeyitsspecific in thiswaytheextremetensions matter, favoring betweenthe image and the voice in the mostmodern cinema,in the Straubs, and Duras, thislanguage-image is such that Syberberg it can be releasedfrom oflanguage thatwould come, anyauthority fromthe outside,tojudge and prejudiceit and thereby the risking withdrawal of cinema fromthe movementand timeof lifewhose fulfillment itbecomes,suffering neitherimmobilization nor arrest even thoughit realizes itself under the sanctionof such a threat. This passion of language to become and to call itself image, thus escaping the judgment of transcendencelinked to all language

This content downloaded from 158.129.160.193 on Sat, 1 Feb 2014 09:52:18 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

72

Discourse 20.3

as well as to itself as exteriority, graspedin anyformof exteriority, is preciselyrecognized in philosophy, and withinphilosophyin the inventionof concepts which qualifyit, if it can be said, as to the livingbeing. This is image, using an adequation particular what Franois Regnaulthas summed up in a fewlines, suddenly "themostbeautiful book" on cinemain one ofthemost addressing texts on Deleuze, entitled written "The philosophical life" insightful and culminating(theyare the last words) with "the univocity of being": "Fromone pole to the other,the cinema spectator finally finds here in thebookwhathe feltthere, in thedarkenedtheater, what cannotbe knownfromreadingthe script, nor in talking about the even less in lookingat a still, but whatwas livedin the image film, and in the timeof thatparticular moment.He thusrediscovers in thebook whateach film about cinema. Such is the implies polarity fromthe theaterto the book. But according to the topologyof he learnsphilosophically in the book the image and the enfolding, timeof lifewhichthe theater onlygave him the experienceof."24 Thus thisbook on cinema becomes also a step towards whatis identified and opened up by What Is Philosophy ? Deleuze hintsat it at the end of Cinema : 'There is always a time,middaymidnight, whenwe mustno longerask ourselves 'Whatis cinema?',but 'What "25It is his own particular is philosophy?' out of way of "getting in he likes to letter "C" philosophythroughphilosophy"(as say of his Abcdaire) and to thusachieve the programtracedout now almostthirty and Repetition : "A yearsago in the prefaceto Difference book of philosophyshould be in part a veryparticular species of detective The timeis novel,in parta kindof sciencefiction. (...) when it will be to write a book of coming hardly possible philosophy as it has been done forso long. (...) The searchfornew means of philosophicalexpressionwas begun by Nietzscheand mustbe such pursuedtodayin relationto therenewalof certainotherarts, as thetheater or thecinema."26 The presupposition ofthedetective novel implies a dramaturgy of concepts,taken from"spheresof influence" and involving a certain"cruelty"; thatof science fiction calls for a reversibility betweenknowledgeand ignorance,which alone engageswriting and opens it up, farfromanyassignation of closer than we thoughtto the fiction truth,to a sort of fiction, led by those in whom it is apparendytheir specificgenius, the tellers ofstories and worlds, film-makers and novelists-Borges,for thisprefaceofDifference and example,on the image ofwhatarrests Repetition. "Fromchaos to the brain":it's thejourney which,at the end of What Is Philosophy ?,Deleuze and Guattari assignequallyto three activities, philosophy,science, art, whose differences they have

This content downloaded from 158.129.160.193 on Sat, 1 Feb 2014 09:52:18 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

Fall 1998

73

modulatedand whosecrossovers Extrinsic when "each they classify. disciplineremainson its own plane and uses its own elements." Intrinsic when slippages come into effect between the planes of immanence,whichare so subtlewe findourselveson "planesdifficultto qualify." the crossovers are unrealizable "in relation Finally to the chaos which the brain plunges into." It would seem that whose emergenceis favored fiction, bycinema throughthe particular pressurethatitsfabulations exerton philosophy, is precisely to be situatedat the crossover-point betweenthe intrinsic crossovers and the unrealizable crossovers, to the extentthatit specifiesa first breakawayfromchaos withoutyet necessarily findingitself affected differentially accordingto theplanes ofimmanencethatit a specific betweenwhichitmaintains forceofcirculation. traverses, Thus a straight line is traced,on which,at the veryheart of what and in proportionto whateach properly belongs to each activity, allows to be seen of the other,to thinkand to recount become a single thing,envelopingthe sensationand the concept in what seems to be a unique grasp.This is what,after and A Anti-Oedipus Thousand Plateaus this book of cinema , philosophyincorporating in a way that had never been done before or since, allows to be imaginedabove all. Notes 3-7. 1 Philosophie 47 (September 1995issuededicated to Gilles Deleuze) 2 La Fondation desMtiers de l'Imageetdu Son. Europenne 3 Jean-Marie Straub Daniele Huillet Hlderlin Czanne 1990) (Antigone, 4 L 'image-mouvement xiv. 7; The Movement-Image, 6 Pourparlers 62-64.

68.

5 Pourparlers Editions de Minuit, (Paris: 1990)206. 7 Jean-Louis Leutrat has outlined a relationship between thesetwo "historical" in "Surterre comme au ciel," Iris10 (gestes d'histoire) gestures issue Christian Metz et la thorie du cinma . 1990, ) (April special 8 Iris10 (April issueChristian Metz etla thorie ducinma) 1990, special 68. 9 Pourparlers 192. 10 Limage-mouvement 68. 100;The Movement-Image 11 L'image-mouvement . 26-27 40; The Movement-Image

This content downloaded from 158.129.160.193 on Sat, 1 Feb 2014 09:52:18 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

74

Discourse 20.3

12A Deleuzian ofDeleuzehasbeencarried outinan accomcritique manner Andr inhisunpublished Parente work Filmic plished by narrativity and non-narrativity. this work(Llmage-temps 39, note 1; TheTimeCiting that Parente insists on "the , 285,note1) Deleuzeremarks Image only postulate ofnarrativity." In fact Parente criticises Deleuzeandparticularly the inorder cited above toshow that [le passage "cinematographic story-telling rdt andutterances that ] , as wellas theimages cinmatographique compose of narrative/imaging uses the it,are theresult (53). Parente processes" Deleuzianconcept of theevent to establish that"theimaging processes that Deleuzediscerns . . . arecoextensive with thenarrative that processes condition thestory-telling, theimages andtheutterances that it." compose He thus allows in particular on theidea of"narrative in voice" us,leaning to overcome theantinomy Deleuze while at the Blanchot, postulated by sametime hiscritique ofsemiology. fully integrating 13 Invoking this "real which thetext doesnotresolve," problem JeanLouisLeutrat thefollowing solution: "themovehypothetically proposes and thetime-image are twomodalities of a samesubstance ment-image in which allows us to presuppose theanteriority ofone overthe nothing other" article What is as a addressed (cited 205). justified critique perhaps toDeleuzefrom thepoint ofview ofa history ofcinema properly speaking, is lessso from thepoint ofview that is also Deleuze's:that ofa history of as a force that a universal philosophy crystallises history. 14 Llmage-temps 210. 273; The Time-Image 15Id., 186 (English 142). 17 In particular in theletter-preface to thebookby Martin, Jean-Clet Variations 1993). (Payot, 18 Llmage-temps 205. 267; TheTime-Image 16Id.,ibid(English 143).

19Thishasbeenparticularly underlined Marie-Claire inher by Ropars of Cinema lecteur de Gilles Deleuze," ("Le cinma very insightful reading Cinmaction 47 [1988]) . 20 See thearticle Zaoui ["La 'grande identit' NietzschebyPierre inPhilosophie 47 (September 1995). Spinoza: quelleidentit?"] 21 Variations 7. He also says:"I'm interested in thewaythata page and yetit is all closedup on itself likean egg." route, escapesbyevery 49 [issue on Deleuze,1972]48). (L'Arc 22 LImage-mouvement 66. 96; The Movement-Image ' 23 Qu est-ce la ? IsPhilosophy ?23.Wefind a beau28; What que philosophie tiful ofthe inwhich cinema andphilosophy arearticulated and example way on each other to two modes and times superimposed according contrary in spiteof their whenin the"conclusions" of TheTime-Image crossovers, Deleuzeopposes thetwo ofimages onelasttime from thepoint of regimes

This content downloaded from 158.129.160.193 on Sat, 1 Feb 2014 09:52:18 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

Fall 1998

75

oftheinterval, inrelation view oftheconstitution andwrites for to example, themovement-image, thepast-tense: "there wasa continual already putinto circulation ofthetwo internalization inthewhole, in externalization here, circle or spiral forthecinema, theimage, which constituted no lessthan for themodeloftheTrueas totalisation" (362English 277). philosophy, 24 Magazine littraire 25 (September 1988)35. 25 Limage-temps 280. 366; TheTime-Image 26 Diffrence etRptition andRepetition xx-xxi. 3-4;Difference TranslatedbyMelissaMcMuhan (I wantto thankNicole Brenez and Danielle Sivadon,who helped draft ofthis bothat University ofAixme to formulate thefirst work, 's Seminar.This articlehas been en-Provence and in Flix Guattari in Le nmaselon ed. OliverFahle and Deleuze, publishedpreviously Lorenz Engeil (Paris:Pressesde la Sonbonne Nouvelle,1997) and at the same timeby the Verlagder Bauhaus- Universitt Weimar, Weimar, 1997). Germany,

This content downloaded from 158.129.160.193 on Sat, 1 Feb 2014 09:52:18 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions