Darryl Wiggers | 1 Jan 02:01 2006

Re: Reasons Filmic Reality isn't Real

From: "Kassel, Michael" <mkassel <at> umflint.edu>

Just an interesting observation -- some of us are giving film examples
of how life is not a simple narrative of beginning, middle and end,
which is interesting in that the question which prompted this
particular line had to do with how life itself could be envisioned as
non-linear.  I guess that's what makes this such an interesting and
complicated line of thought.

Mike Kassel
University of Michigan-Flint

MODERATOR'S NOTE - I wonder if the films of Nicolas Roeg bear  
discussion in this thread. I haven't screened some of his latest but  
many of his 70s and 80s releases seem to come closest to replicating  
our thought processes -- random and seemingly disorganized. Whereas  
most films use flashbacks at strategic points to complement a scene  
(e.g. the watery dissolves that often punctuated films until at least  
the 60s), Roeg tended to use flashbacks as representative of moments  
when the character was most likely to have them -- closer to reality,  
if you will. Of course this tactic still strikes this viewer as more  
filmic than of being realistic, but it's a unique approach I can't  
recall other filmmakers utilizing.

> -----Original Message-----
> From: H-NET List for Scholarly Studies and Uses of Media
> [mailto:H-FILM <at> H-NET.MSU.EDU]On Behalf Of Darryl Wiggers
> Sent: Saturday, December 31, 2005 1:20 PM
> Subject: Re: Reasons Filmic Reality isn't Real
(Continue reading)

Darryl Wiggers | 1 Jan 03:33 2006

Filmic Reality isn't Real . . but what Is?

From: Houston Wood <hwood <at> hpu.edu>

Michael Kassel  wrote "The question which prompted this particular  
line had to do with how life itself could be envisioned as non-linear."

Then the Moderator noted, Nicolas Roeg's films "seem to come closest  
to replicating  our thought processes."  And it becomes apparant that  
the question how filmic reality differs from "life itself" or "our  
thought processes" must first solve the problem of how to describe/ 
think about "life itself."

I posted the original question and see now that I was naively  
assuming we could agree on how to think about "life itself." Without  
being able to do that, of course we cannot speak about how "unlike"  
or "like" to it films are.

It is  emerging that the terms, ways we think about "life itself" are  
much shaped by earlier  analyses of texts and fictions. E.g. we have  
discussed whether narratological concepts fit everyday reality. In  
other words, "everyday reality" is thought about in terms originated  
in thinking about written and screen texts.

The way out . . .?

Darryl Wiggers | 1 Jan 12:22 2006

Re: Reasons Filmic Reality isn't Real

From: Patrick Kinsman <rkinsman <at> indiana.edu>

i seem to have missed the beginning of this discussion (the first  
exchange i
see regarding this thread is houston wood citing mike frank), but in  
a recent
trip to new york city, i was re-thinking the minimalist shooting in  
akerman's News from Home (1976) in terms of this thread.

ivone margulies makes the case that, despite the real-time shooting  
in subway
cars, which allies the pro-filmic and the real, the camera hails the  
of the riders, and in one sequence, a man stares fixedly at the  
camera and then
walks back into the next car, still turning and looking and visible  
(to us)
doing so.  in this case, the camera records its own presence (because  
it is
arguably the camera which draws the attention of that rider) and can  
be said to
wreck perhaps the "documentary purity" of the real in that subway car.

and from that, there's a secondary thread to be had about  
"documentary purity,"
but that's a wholly different topic.  aside from that argument,  
however, the
car, the riders, and the filmmakers were all real in 1976 (meaning  
that they
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Darryl Wiggers | 1 Jan 12:24 2006

Re: Reasons Filmic Reality isn't Real

From: "James Welsh" <jxwelsh <at> salisbury.edu>

RE the MODERATOR'S NOTE, Nic Roeg is an excellent example.  Consider
also the way time is fragmented, restructured, revisited, and
reorganized multiple times by director Peter Watkins in his 5-hour
biopic EDVARD MUNCH.  In telling the story Watkins was writing from the
journals Munch kept while tromping through several rough patches; the
journals were then on deposit at the Munch Museum in Oslo when Mr.
Watkins began work on his screenplay.  The psychological organization of
time in this film recalls Proust searching for lost time but recalling
vivid images (or sickness or death or lost love) in random sequences as
if triggered by the odd paintings Munch did before his nervous
Frankly, I believe psychology is far more relevant than metaphysics in
sorting out this issue, but the Brecht/Godard dispute has been fun.
[Note that I've corrected my sign-off from the last time. Forgive the
typo which utterly confused the name of Romania's great liberator,
Alexander Ion Cuza.  Sorry, and sorrier still to be pedantic.]
Jim Welsh, former Fulbright lector, Alexander Ion Cuza Universitatia,

>>> darryl <at> INTERNET.LOOK.CA 12/31/05 8:01 PM >>>
From: "Kassel, Michael" <mkassel <at> umflint.edu>

Just an interesting observation -- some of us are giving film examples
of how life is not a simple narrative of beginning, middle and end,
which is interesting in that the question which prompted this
particular line had to do with how life itself could be envisioned as
non-linear.  I guess that's what makes this such an interesting and
complicated line of thought.
(Continue reading)

Darryl Wiggers | 1 Jan 17:56 2006

Re: Reasons Filmic Reality isn't Real

From: "Card, Lorin" <lorin.card <at> ubc.ca>

There is a film that I sometimes show to my classes, as it plays with  
focalization and moves from the documentary genre to a deconstruction  
of stereotypical love scenes, and is the antithesis of the Hollywood  
lovers' movie, entitled Les Amants du Pont-Neuf (Lovers on the  
Bridge), by Leos Carax (1996). It plays with a love affair between  
the two main characters, which is a part of life, but during the  
middle part of the film, the third main character, an older homeless  
man, walks alone and aimlessly off the side of a dock and into the  
Seine, and is never seen nor heard from again. On the surface, his  
death shows us how little we sometimes focus on a homeless person's  
disappearance, but on a symbolic level, it also shows how  
insignificant death really is, in that it is neither the beginning  
nor the end of anything, and definitely not a rite of passage, but  
often an accident to which so little attention is actually paid, if  
we, the living, left-behind witnesses, don't ascribe a meaning to it.

Just a thought.

Lorin Card 

Darryl Wiggers | 1 Jan 19:29 2006

Re: Reasons Filmic Reality isn't Real

From: K Lehman <lehmannz28 <at> yahoo.com>

Apart from the excellent comments on the technical ways that film  
recreates reality, it seems that the key to this comparison lies in  
how each produces meaning. Reality or life has no meaning until we  
create it, and in this sense psychology, metaphysics and the social  
sciences all contribute to an understanding of how meaning is  
produced, but perhaps the humanities are those areas in which artists  
attempt to provide material that allows critical reflection on how  
meaning is produced and felt as an individual. In life, reflection  
breaks up time as mentioned previously, drawing on memory and  
anticipating the future in such a way that we do not experience only  
one linear event but many perceptions that only memory and thought  
organise into a linear and meaningful reality. Film and literature  
tend to reinforce our perceptions that create us as individuals, and  
here the last comment about being a spectator in viewing film is  
crucial. Most film and literature get us to forget that we are
  always social beings dependent on community and our feeling about  
beginnings and endings are essentially those moments when we cannot  
escape the illusion of being an individual but are forced to confront  
our shared lives. Third cinema in particular worked and continues to  
work at ways in which the spectator might conceive our lives as  
always in community. Traditional societies still have group rituals  
that reinforce the group over the individual but film and literature  
in modern societies tend to reinforce the illusion that real life is  
lived as an individual.  In a film the spectator experiences birth  
and death and leaves the theatre able to continue life as before even  
if perceptions are heightened. In life, births and deaths force us  
into collective modes of experiencing reality that we cannot escape.

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Darryl Wiggers | 1 Jan 19:26 2006

Re: Filmic Reality isn't Real . . but what Is?

From: "Kassel, Michael" <mkassel <at> umflint.edu>

Houston Wood makes an excellent point, and I was thinking about this
myself but decided not to get into the film v. life issue.  I don't
think it should be naive for someone to think we can agree on this,
however, for while life does have many beginnings, middles, and ends,
and while we don't know what comes before or after, we pretty much
should be able to agree that filmic reality is quite different if only
because we are able to recognize it as such, particularly when a film
messes with linear time.  Life is lived in linear fashion -- I don't
think that is a social construct, it's just a basic fact that we are
born, we grow, we die.  I can recall my childhood, but, unlike in a
film, I can't go back and change it or even view it with any
precision. I can imagine the future, but I can't jump ahead and see
myself ten years from now -- I don't even know what will happen
tomorrow--but I could do this if I were a film (or any literary form,
for that matter).  Houston Wood is right -- there has to be a baseline
from which we can talk about this issue, and I think the ability to
mess with time is one of the big differences between film and life. 

Darryl Wiggers | 2 Jan 20:39 2006

KinoKultura: Special issue on Slovak cinema

From: padunov+ <at> pitt.edu

The issue on Slovak Cinema, guest edited by Martin Votruba (University
of Pittsburgh) is now available at

Martin Votruba (University of Pittsburgh): "Historical and National
Background of Slovak Filmmaking"

Václav Macek (University of Performing Arts [V…MU], Bratislava): "From
Czechoslovak to Slovak and Czech Film"

Jelena Pa˚téková (Director, Institute of Slovak Literature, Academy of
Sciences; and University of Performing Arts [V…MU], Bratislava): "The
Context of Slovak Filmmaking during the Imposition of Communism


Steven Banovac (University of Pittsburgh): Ján Kadár‚s and Elmar Klos‚s
The Shop on Main Street (Obchod na korze), 1965

Kevin Brochet (University of Pittsburgh): Du˚an Hanák‚s Paper Heads
(Papierové hlavy)  1995

Kevin Brochet (University of Pittsburgh): Juraj Jakubisko‚s A
Thousand-Year Old Bee (Tisícroèná vèela) 1983

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Kenneth S Nolley | 4 Jan 22:34 2006

Filmic Reality isn't Real . . but what Is?

I have particularly enjoyed the thread engendered by Houston Wood's
inquiry here; it has provoked a discussion that has grown increasingly
complex and difficult to get one's arms completely around, as so often is
the case with good discussions.  One thing that struck me particularly
from his second post here was that he got closer there to what seems to me
the root of the problem by noting the difficulties we have in agreeing on
what is meant by 'life itself.'  And part of that difficulty may be, as
was suggested by Jim Welsh, rooted in psychology, because all that any of
us can talk about is life itself as we imagine it to be.  For some of us,
that sense appears to be richly narrativized; for others of us, that sense
seems to have more to do with the raw data that is converted into
narrative by the generative processes that create stories.

In that latter sense, I find the references to Roeg and Watkins' Edvard
Munch particularly rich, especially Watkins' film on Munch.  Indeed, I
first encountered this thread in a way that felt to me much like Watkins'
representation of Munch's consciousness--a largely nonlinear mix of
immediate responses to current stimuli emerging out of stored up memories,
ideas and anxieties (that Watkins creates out of non-sequential cutting
and an often heavily layered soundtrack).

As I first read and began to formulate responses to the first group of
posts, I was in the midst of other pressing concerns that kept
interrupting and deflecting my thoughts--a spirited family discussion was
going on in the background that partially occupied and interrupted my
thoughts, and I was struggling to understand Houston's reference to Mike
Frank's comments (something that got remedied later with an off-line
e-mail to Houston directly).

But the point I am hoping to make in a very laborious way is that my
(Continue reading)

Kenneth S Nolley | 5 Jan 02:09 2006

Draft Program for Southwest/Texas PCA/ACA meeting

From:    RollinsPC <at> aol.com

Dear Popular Culture/Film Scholars,

A rough draft of the program for the regional meeting in Albuquerque, 8-11
Feb, 2006 is available on the organization web site:

_http://www.h-net.org/~swpca/_ (http://www.h-net.org/~swpca/)

With nearly 800 participants on a wide spectrum of film and popular culture
topics, the Albuquerque meeting is a special chapter in each year's regional

Emily Toth, Academia's "Ms. Manners," will conduct a special guidance

Jim Welsh of Salisbury University and Literature/Film Quarterly will lead a
discussion of journal editors to include those who produce five major 

Wheeler Winston Dixon will give the keynote address and receive the annual
book award for his most recent work.

Check out the program for all the details....and Be There!

Peter Rollins, Co-Founder, SWPCA/ACA
_RollinsPC <at> aol.com_ (mailto:RollinsPC <at> aol.com)