Friday, March 14, 2008
Oudart, Jean-Pierre. "Cinema and Suture." CAHIERS DU CINEMA 211 and 212 (1969). Trans. Kari Hanet. SCREEN 18 (1978).
Suture represents the closure of the cinematic énoncé in line with its relationship with its subject (the filmic subject or rather the cinematic subject), which is recognized, and then put in its place as the spectator - thus distinguishing the suture from all other types of cinema, particularly the so-called "subjective" cinema, where the suture did exist, but undefined theoretically. At first film-makers had only experimented quite intuitively with the effects of the profound necessity of suture, but not with its causes which remained hidden given the subjective conception they had of the image and their confusion of the filmic subject with the filmed subject. Having determined the filmic subject, Bresson, no less radically than Godard, has put the filmed subject back in its place as signifying object. However - and this distinguishes bis work from the whole of modem cinema - Bresson gives more than he took away; he puts the filmed subject within a structure and in a symbolic place which are those of cinema per se, no longer as a fictive subject located in an illusory existential relationship with its surroundings, but as the actor in a representation whose symbolic dimension is revealed in the process of reading and viewing. Suture is best understood through a consideration of what is at stake in the process of "reading" film. The properties of the image manifested there and revealed in particular by the "subjective" cinema arc currently being not so much challenged as repressed (with the result that they are then often "re-revealed" in the research of young film-makers such as Pollet). These characteristics mean that the cinema itself engenders the cinematic, that the image of its own accord enters the order of the signifier. and that by and in this process of reading are determined the properties, the conditions and the limits of its signifying power. Such a recognition should entail once more questioning the theoretical problems of the cinematic and of signification in the cinema. To understand this demands reading the image to its detriment, a reading with which the contemporary cinema has sometimes made us lose our familiarity, since its use of images without depth hides what the depth-of-field cinema revealed all the time: that every filmic field traced by the camera and all objects revealed through depth of field - even in a static shot - are echoed by another field, the fourth side, and an absence emanating from it. . . . Rpt. The Symptom 8 (2007). Read the whole article here: http://www.lacan.com/symptom8_articles/oudart8.html.