Thursday, May 08, 2008

"Reality or Fiction?," Sapientia University, Cluj, Romania, September 26-28, 2008.

Ever since the appearance of film certain theorists hailed in the moving image its ability to document reality, while others have been talking about the power of the movies to create a perfect illusion of reality. The history of the moving image itself is said to be rooted in the contrasting poetics of the Lumière brothers’ portrayal of everyday life and Méliès’s most escapist travels in fantasy. The debate was kept alive, from opposite directions, by the first avant-gardists who undertook to dismantle the filmic illusion and later by the neorealists and their theorist, André Bazin, who asserted the realist ontology of the image as a norm. Nowadays the question of “reality and fiction” has gained actuality by the ever multiplying media forms of the moving image. Classical movie theatre experience has been replaced by a cinema based on new digital technologies from Dolby stereo sound to computer graphics in order to provide an overwhelming audiovisual experience which engulfs its viewers. Television, with its own genres specially linked to reality, has become part of our everyday life, home video or interactive 3D computer games, or even mobile phones have become media for our daily consumption of moving images. In the meantime the theoretical debate about the double-sided effect of the movies was given further twists by new methodologies in ecological and cognitive film theory as well as cultural theories and visual anthropology. New modes of filmmaking appeared which were dubbed as docu-fiction or fictional documentary, elements of reality and elements of fiction were brought together either by re-editing ‘found’ footage or by integrating genuinely or seemingly documentary images within a fictional framework. Werner Herzog’s Grizzly Man (2005) may exemplify the first, and Béla Tarr’s early works as well as his Satantango (1994) the second tendency. The present conference aims to provide a platform for a basically interdisciplinary approach to the relationship of reality and fiction in moving images. The purpose is to bring together film theorists in various disciplines, historians of film and visual media and visual anthropologist as well as filmmakers who grapple with a similar problem of integrating reality and fiction. Visit the conference homepage here:

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