The Essay Film: From Montaigne, After Marker by Timothy Corrigan

By Timothy Corrigan

Why have definite types of documentary and non-narrative movies emerged because the best, fascinating, and provocative video clips made within the final two decades?

Ranging from the flicks of Ross McElwee (Bright Leaves) and Agnes Varda (The Gleaners and that i) to these of Abbas Kiarostami (Close Up) and Ari Folman (Waltz with Bashir), such motion pictures have intrigued audience who even as have struggled to categorize them.

Sometimes defined as own documentaries or diary motion pictures, those eclectic works are, really, most sensible understood as cinematic adaptations at the essay. So argues Tim Corrigan during this stimulating and useful new publication. due to the fact Michel de Montaigne, essays were noticeable as a full of life literary class, and yet--despite the paintings of pioneers like Chris Marker--seldom mentioned as a cinematic culture.

The Essay Film, providing a considerate account of the lengthy rapport among literature and picture in addition to novel interpretations and theoretical versions, offers the information that might swap this.

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Extra info for The Essay Film: From Montaigne, After Marker

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As these sequences suggest, the voice-over in Letter from Siberia is that of a time traveler and guide through a world that will always elude him and us temporally and spatially. Whereas the text/image relationship in Koreans identifies a fissure or gap, the audio commentary offers a more temporally mobile relationship with the fragmented chronologies of the film image. The changing voices, incorporated quotations, and music and sound recordings—from the lyrical, to the bemused, to the pedagogical—describe a series of shifting subject positions surrounding and intervening in the visuals.

1] Through the places and histories of two patriarchs, McElwee becomes a self spatially undone by a rival’s empire and a history defined by personal loss. As the luxurious close-ups of that opening dream make clear, the sensuality and abundance of tobacco leaves are the emblem of a complex natural and cultural world that suffuses McElwee’s life and history. Most prominently, the film weaves his personal quest for the roots of an identity into a public commentary on the politics and commerce of the tobacco industry, past and present.

The unusual mobility of this voice exploring time between images creates, in Bazin’s words, a “montage . . forged from ear to eye” (“Bazin on Marker” 44). Through it, Letter from Siberia insists “that the primary material is intelligence, that its immediate means of expression is language, and that the image only intervenes in the third position, in reference to this verbal intelligence” (44). ” Although Deleuze’s perspective on “thought and cinema” casts a much wider net than the essayistic, it accommodates Marker’s work and essayistic cinema in general in a manner that few theoretical models can— which is the justification for my selective appropriation of Deleuze.

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