Political Transformation and the Constructed ‘Real’

In this essay I hope to create a) an understanding of the “real” to b) produce change within its conditions of potentiality. These issues will be tackled through classical film theory with examples from Indian cinema thrown in.

I define the  “real” as that which functions outside representational regimes of signs: it is pure affective consciousness. This real works outside the domain of resemblance through either lack or excess of affective states that produce pathology.

Bazin’s myth of “total cinema”[1] emphasizes space as an a-pathological whole, in which the spectator has choices in the way s/he engages the film’s spatio-temporal becoming.  Fragmentation destroys the whole so that the reflections of the director-artist are privileged to modify the confines of the closed system of the film. This fragmentation results in the film being comprised of a damaged closed system that has opened up to “sutures”[2], within which ideology enters. This ideology either privileges the nation-state or the labor-class or transforms the Deleuzean any-instant-whatever[3] to an ideological privileged pose.

The formal was emphasized in the form of Russian montage, to deal with nervous patterns in the brain i.e. sensory-motor continuity, as being equivalent to the message of the content (i.e. form=content). Montage is dialectical in nature and so is the relationship between the working class and the bourgeois, as represented in Eisenstein’s films.

As Gilles Deleuze[4] argues, with the destruction of the sensory-motor, through the exhaustion of the organic, the explicit form of sound-signs and image-signs, create a physiological becoming that evoke pathology. Since the collapse is nervous, what emerges is psychopathology. As Michelangelo Antonioni states in his interview with Jean-Luc Godard[5], color in Antonioni’s films is both physiological and psychological.

The formal is therefore overthrown by the physiological, right-wing and left-wing therefore become ‘two regimes of madness’[6] (from the two kinds of psychopathologies i.e. in the form of ideologies) and the solidified physiological body emerges from the dialectical conflict between the organic and the crystalline. A 14th century text Sangeet Samay Saar[7] on Indian music comes to mind in which the first chapter is devoted to describe the birthing process of a baby i.e. the physiological aspect. This in turn creates what Michel Foucault would call “the conditions of possibility of a biology”[8] i.e. the biology is free flowing from one form to another and an organic opening-out within its own logic, whereas taxonomy itself appropriates the organic.

In this regard, the approach Jean-Luc Godard has towards sound comes to mind. Godard privileges sound over the image and therefore calls it “son-image” instead of the other way round. The image is a reflection on the real, whilst the sound is the “reality of a reflection.”[9] The falsely constructed image is deliberate, but then it is streamlined to the unintentional, accidental, documentary-like nature of Bazin’s “total cinema.”[10] The politics of the image are such that they require no mediation. Intentional use of found footage precisely opens up this lack of intentionality: the footage is filmed and not constructed, but its insertion is completely constructed.

The close-up precisely underlines the politics of the space, as it reinforces  or underlines a comment. The insertion of the documentary footage into the film is precisely like a close-up, since it underlines the statement the director is trying to make. However, unlike in the close-up, the director makes the statement by contrasting it with the shot before and after the footage.

In terms of representation, it is the presence in the space that almost magnetizes the cinematic event towards meaning. In other words, it closes out the conditions of potentiality of the “partially-closed system”[11] into a climax. To do the “reverse” or the “opposite”[12] of State-sponsored ideological cinema one would instead have to challenge the idea of the climax[13] itself.

Speaking of Indian ‘realist’ cinema i.e. fitting in with Bazin’s idea of “total cinema” and its relationship with politics, Satyajit Ray and Mrinal Sen in their ‘70s films such as Pratidwandi[14], Jana Aranya[15], Interview[16] and Padatik[17], try to open out the closed-space through freeze frames, jagged editing and emphasis on interview over dialogue (reminiscent of Godard), as well as distorted framings with the actor looking out of the frame space. Ray and Sen’s work and its engagement with the Communist Party of India and their ideology and the resultant decay of Calcutta does not take into account the process of creating the film. The politics of the space is already present in the act of taking the shot.[18] This space within which the image is captured automatically has a magnetic polarization between conflicting ideologies.

The intentionality of the shot thus prevents the ideological nature of the film documentation from being accurate because it dilutes or corrupts it with authorial mediation. Therefore, the intentionality of the shot must deliberately be negated (Robert Bresson’s method of waiting for the accident through the retake comes to mind: false construction to allow documentation[19]). Mani Kaul invariably allows unrequired insects like flies to be prevalent in some of the shots of his own film. In a conversation with him he said “Flies are present on every film location (in India). The only difference is that I don’t do anything about them.”[20] The presence of unknown elements in the shot opens up to disorder, which in fact questions “the aesthetic regime of art”[21] that produces order and therefore challenges State sponsored methods of film production.

This engagement with disorder is precisely what fascinated the Dadaists, in their experiments with making the artwork engage direct reality in the form of a social act, instead of being realistic. Kamal Swaroop’s Om Dar-B-Dar[22] uses allegory to talk about concentrations in the landscape and the randomness with which they are taken up by the political organism.  The film is about a young boy Om, who is made to represent the deity at a pond because of his ability to hold his breath under water. However, the priest residing at the premises uses it as a monetary establishment to promote a consumer culture, eventually resulting in Om’s death.

The film does not engage an ideology, class or sect, but instead evokes the political “real” within Ranciere’s aesthetic regime of signs; i.e. outside the domain of representation. [23]In other words since Ranciere’s notion of the aesthetic regime directly relates to the world, the real is its only basis of politics i.e. politics in itself approaches action in the ‘actual.’ Om Dar-B-Dar in other words is about a documentary on a location-space in which the politics emerges through a set of mechanisms set up by the director: the protagonist Om and his ability to spend time under water, the priest who controls the pond, and the brands that he has to promote and the eventual myth of Pushkar[24] that forces him to breathe underwater causing his death.

The sensorial beauty of the art object[25] is replaced by the non-sensorial ugly art object (inaugurated by Marcel Duchamp’s famous urinal signed Mr. Mutt), which has ramifications that create an engagement with the perceptional “reality” of the artwork. The idea of beauty in the art film is also a result of the State allowing the artist to express (think of geographical territories of conflict such as Palestine where the State withholds any form of representation whatsoever), as opposed to incomprehensible artistic medium questioning methods of production instead of spectatorship.

The art object now questions not just the idea of “artistic beauty” but also the question of the sensorial as being affirmative of the “aesthetic experience.” According to the Hegelian dialectic being goes to becoming through aufhebung[26] or overcoming (dealing/addressing) state-of-affairs through negation. However aufhebung dissolves being/temporality and privileges the whole. This whole becomes an ordered, socio-political mass with rigid structures of hierarchical macro-politics i.e. between State and society, capitalist and laborer, mental institution and schizophrenic etc. In other words the “becoming” needs to be destroyed, it is the conservative representational art object, by going against the sensory order, through non-sensorial randomness. This non-sensorial randomness is a sense of “Being-in-the-unknown”, as Heidegger may have said or more precisely, the “Dasein[27] of the unknown.”

Mani Kaul, in his films, deliberately goes slow through pre-emptions and delays in the editing[28], to allow spectators to act on the image and produce political “change” outside the screening room. In Uski Roti[29], the camera distance deconstructs the planning of the shot, since the camera films/documents and negates authorial-intentionality. In Nazar[30], the act of not making the cinematographer look through the view-finder[31] collapses the sensorial link between the organic and crystalline; whereas in Satah Se Uthata Aadmi[32], the narrative carried forward through voice over is transformed into utterances of Gajanan Madhav Muktibodh’s[33] poetry that are eventually transformed into location-space and inter titles. The Godardian “just image”[34] or image with justice needs to be toppled over so that “just any image” can “rebalance the unbalanced.”[35] The location-space is precisely what remains “when everything else is taken away”[36] i.e. the emptying out of the whole to allow for the “purification of the image.”[37]

With reference to the single shot, the dialectic is invoked through inflection: the gradual panning of the camera in the wrong direction to undo it and pan in the intentional direction. In this way the aufhebung is opposed to produce political dasein. This idea is constantly emphasized in Mani Kaul’s film where the camera has a life of its own detached from the action occurring before it. According to Mani Kaul, “the camera is not something you’re seeing through; it’s the way your body extends into life.”[38] By keeping the camera distant and detached from what is occurring before it, the film-maker constantly opposes the becoming of the film. In other words, the becoming occurs anyway. Similar to this is Mani Kaul’s idea of the visual as “being prevalent anyway”[39], and his rejection of cinema as a visual medium, denoted through not looking through the view finder. According to Kaul, doing away with the visual (i.e. without looking through the view-finder) does away with the distinction between what is wanted in the shot (through the obsessively constructed plans of the metteur) and the unwanted “profane” elements in the taking of the shot.[40]

My attempts at constructing an argument so far have created the idealized arrival of socialism or more accurately “socialized man”[41] as the tool of the laborer to control the economy. Unfortunately, the capitalist contradiction does not hold within a “post-modern condition” where time has completely been appropriated to capital[42], since now everyone has equivalent time, and produces labor to more or less the same degree across classes. In other words time becomes more valuable than capital across all classes and micro-politics negates contradiction. Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari in A Thousand Plateaus[43], argue that micro-politics is defined by lines of flight[44] through which deterritorialization can occur i.e. the ontology of nomadic capital, it’s representation through money can only be possible when an opening up of discontinuous spaces of multiplicity can exist (Deleuze and Guattari call such spaces smooth[45]).  Within the logic of this space territory is subsumed through a constant privileging of movement in the in-between (Deleuze and Guattari pronounce this rhizome[46]).

In this regard, it is curious to note that Bresson’s last film is in fact titled L’Argent[47] (Money) and does away with the arrival of grace through a physiological negation by the Other i.e. murder, instead of the arrival of divination through self-abnegating suicide. In other words, cinema at the level of its production is money, the subject of the film is money, and accidental grace here is absent.

Bresson’s political views in this regard are quite interesting. The master claimed that he was no intellectual[48] although he was regarded as one. He also claimed that he himself was a bourgeois[49] and found ideology “moralistic.”[50] This unmediated approach to politics however, does result in ideology much like it does in the films of Yasujiro Ozu to whom he is compared.

Whereas in Ozu, traditional Japanese society (with the father being the symbolic head of state) is emphasized, it is precisely the emphasis on the tradition that makes Ozu so radical. Take the scene of the children in I Was Born, But[51] questioning the father’s social standing after his submissive be his boss. This is in fact even more radical than an explicitly political film since it talks about radical revolt within the confines of a rigid society and is shown to a Japanese audience as a mainstream, commercial film. In other words, experimenting with social messages is done within a traditional, minimalistic Japanese aesthetic (which Ozu was so renowned for) to only subvert this within the institution of the family.

In my view, Bresson’s films add a religiosity to this rebelliousness. In his interview with Jean-Luc Godard, Bresson admits to be a Jansenist. The characters in all his films have more of an interior dialogue, which leads them to a limit-image, a line of flight as Deleuze and Guattari would have said. This event is usually a method of capturing the “profound in the profane”, either suicide (Mouchette, The Devil Probably) or imprisonment (Pickpocket). The “arrival of grace” is practiced in the taking of the shot, which finds its limit image in the deliberately accidental take. However, on the socio-political scale this profundity violates the nature of the whole creating divergence instead of convergence. Different members, in different categories divided on the basis of gender, class and lifestyle, acquire different lines of flights, which in turn lead to disorder instead of order. This emphasis on disorder is precisely why I would call Bresson a radically anarchic director, since the accident that makes the message arrive in the “doing” of the film, forces radical action from the spectator, which at a macro-political level results in disorder and consequent anarchy.

Nina Shivdasani Rovshen’s film Chattrabhang[52] on the micro-political act consisting of a group of women fighting for their right to water against Brahminical[53] forces, questions the relationship between caste at a macro level and the location-specific sensory-motor linkage. In a curious sequence Rovshen shows the shot of the rope to the well collapsing twice in succession to engage pure repetition, pathological collapse and the formal break resulting in the physiological suture.

Difference, political difference is affirmation and creates non-identity or destruction of identity. A destroyed identity can open up to higher realms of consciousness that representation inhibits. Representational structures like documentary footage and political proceedings are not at all political since they are a glimpse into political machinery but do not emphasize the machinic assemblage of the political; as Deleuze and Guattari state, not what (the text) means, but how it works[54]. In Kabir Mohanty’s 1987 short film titled Riyaaz[55] the machinic assemblage of the factory is crystallized into the equidistant and geometrical scale of society (“riyaaz” means practice and emphasizes scales).

On the other hand: Alain Robbe-Grillet destroys objects by describing them, the political creates a “faciality”[56] of the instruction. This faciality in turn makes the entire film the close-up, the Deleuzean affection-image. Once affect is negated what remains just the excess, reminding one of Ritwik Ghatak’s claim that Last Year at Marienbad[57] is a “decadent” and “gimmiky” film[58].

Robbe-Grillet’s emphasis on what I have called the instruction creates a mathematical functionality, which is an operation on society. Through description the spatio-temporal is freed through the utterance whilst at the same time it is being acted upon and transformed. Society transforms and this transformation is a violation of the ever same: violation for the rhizomatic becoming. The transformed utterance now becomes the “utterable” that “constitutes a whole ‘psychomechanics’ (of) the spiritual automaton” and “has its own logic.”[59]

The new object comes “from the outside”[60] once the suture collapses. To balance the violence and elevate the resonance to a refrain, it is necessary to do “the opposite” i.e. to withdraw violence through withdrawing movement while making the move(i) (movie). The refrain is the withdrawal of repetition. In other words repetition brings a lightness of being following the destruction of representation of denotation. The refrain, as Arthur Schopenhauer would say, is the “free will” of the audience that opposes the “idea of the thing” which causes representation[61].

In this sense the political is what remains when everything else is taken away, a bit like Deleuze and Guattari’s Body without Organs. The political in other words is “matter occupying space to a degree that corresponds to the intensities produced.”[62]  Speaking like Jacques Lacan the object petit a[63], is an insert into the political mass i.e. it is not a close-up or affectation but a skewed temporality which has no denotation. In other words, it is pure volume.

Mani Kaul’s masterful documentary on Kashmir, Before My Eyes[64] engages Kashmir as volumes that inflate like a balloon. Kaul was hired to make a tourist film, so the engagement with politics is out of question. However in a single shot where a boy lifts picks at shrubbery near a lake and then vanishes, the tensions within territory and ownership are contrasted with the Kurosawaesque idea of becoming one with nature. The sensory bags that Kaul tries to underline are made explicit through the shot of the balloon inflating, which documents the elaboration of the Hindustani classical music raga Sri. The raga builds up through pre-emption and delays in the notes (chhanda), until the balloon collapses and the explicit rhythmicity of the pakhawaj, an Indian drum emerges.

The becoming of this inflation is compared to another-becoming, another-suggestion, another-dasein, the raga, which is neither a scale nor a mood but an abstracted life form with parts that are emphasized to a calculated degree. A contradiction emerges: the image is two dimensional, whilst the third dimension or the volume allows the solidified to ‘melt into air.’

To conclude, Schopenhaur’s[65] responses to Immanuel Kant’s thesis on appearance and the thing-in-itself provide important insights into the nature of the idea and representation. Representation is the thing plus the idea ,which is embodied through appearance. The idea tries to embody the thing-in-itself, which however can only exist when the idea itself is subtracted. The thing-in-itself, as Schopenhaur points out is free will itself. The negation of authorial intentionality can occur only when the construction of the shot is withdrawn to such a degree that the audience’s free will can enter the spectatorial experience of a “cinematic object.”



[1] Andre Bazin, The Myth of Total Cinema, from What is Cinema? Volume 2, Translated by Hugh Gray pg 23-27, University of California Press, 1967, Pg 19: “A total cinema that is to provide a complete illusion of life” (Italics mine)

[2] William Rothman, Against “the System of Sutures”,  Film Quarterly, Film Quarterly 29 No.1, 1975.”The first shot (of a film) as it were opens a hole in the spectator’s imaginary relationship with the filmic field. This hole is “sutured” by the shot of the character presented as the absent-one of the preceding shot. Then “the spectator can resume his previous relationship with the film”…At the same time, the second shot constitutes the meaning of the first shot, and the system of the suture makes a “cinematographic statement” of the pair of shots.”

[3] Gilles Deleuze, Cinema 1: The Movement Image,  Editions de Minuit, 1983, translated by Hugh Tomlinson. As opposed to “privileged poses” like in theater or dance, where certain sequences are more important than the others, Deleuze argues that cinema comprises of equidistant occurences that are equally important.

[4] Deleuze, 1983

[5] “Jean-Luc Godard Interviews Michelangelo Antonioni.” Movie, no. 12 (Spring 1965), pp. 31-34; translated by Elizabeth Kingsley-Rowe

[6] Gilles Deleuze, Two Regimes of Madness,  Semiotext(e), 2006

[7] Sangeet Samay Saar, Anjali Bharadwaj, Pragun Publications, 2013

[8] Michel Foucault,The Order of Things: An Archeology on the Human Sciences, Vintage, pg 265

[9]  Jean-Luc Godard, Line from the film La Chinoise (FR, 1967); also in Jean-Luc Godard: Interviews, edited by David Sterritt, University of Press Mississippi, page 29

[11] Gilles Deleuze, 1983. Deleuze emphasizes cinema as a partially closed system; in other words emphasizing how outside factors can partially effect authorial intentionality. One can compare this to water turning into ice in a freezer with the door left open.

[12] Jean-Luc Godard, Godard on Godard, edited by Tom Milne, Da Capo Press, page 51, 131. Godard talks about the relationship between The Man Who Knew Too Much and The Wrong Man, both by Alfred Hitchcock, by stating that they were the “reverse.” In his words “The suspense does not stem from the fact that what one knew would happen does happen, like in The Man Who Knew Too Much, but on the contrary from the fact that, what one was afraid of would happen, does not happen.” Similarly he pronounces Chabrol’s second film Les Cousins as being the opposite of Le Beau Serge, perhaps because in the former the protagonist comes to Paris from the countryside, whereas in the latter he goes back to his village.

[13] Mani Kaul, The Rambling Figure in Soundscape, Wallflower, page 211.Speaking of the climax with the development of the orchestral music, Kaul states: “A foreground, a middleground and a background gave rise to the first intimations of true orchestral music making medieval plain chants and polyphonies concise. It changed the narrative of the Italian chronicle that never knew convergence or climax in narrative movements- the new narrative brought with it a single termination to all events. This notion in which arguments and counter-arguments were poised in opposition of each other and fought a battle to reach a point of resolution has , despite efforts by modern artists and philosophers, never since left humanity So deep runs the course of perspective in the human psyche that it appear well nigh impossible to conceive of a single  event  not shaped by that converging movement.”

[14] Pratidwandi/The Adversary (Satyajit Ray, IN,1970)

[15] Jana Aranya/The Middleman (Satyajit Ray, IN, 1975)

[16] Interview (Mrinal Sen, IN, 1971)

[17] Padatik (Mrinal Sen, IN, 1973)

[18] Anil Cherukupalli, Interview with Mani Kaul at Asian College of Journalism on 15th November, 2005. Published on http://anilcherukupalli.com/blog/2005/11/16/an-interview-with-mani-kaul/

[19] Mani Kaul speaks about this in his seminar at Osian’s Cinefan Film Festival 2008 titled Beneath the Surface, Cinematography and Time. A paper on the same was published by India Horizons in 2008.

[20] Conversation between the writer of this paper and Mani Kaul in Mumbai, 2009

[21] This term was first conceptualized by Jacques Ranciere to challenge the “representative regime of art” and the “ethical regime of art” in The Politics of Aesthetics (Gabriel Rockhill Publications, 2004).  Whereas the ethical regime of art (which links to society) and the representative regime of art (which links to meaning), the aesthetic regime relates directly to the world through mediated language outside the domain of resemblance.

[22] Om Dar-B-Dar (Kamal Swaroop, IN,1988). The film is thought to be one of the few examples of the Indian avant-garde particularly in its use of a unique blend of English and Hindi and unmediated references to popular culture.

[23] Here I attempt to contrast Ranciere’s idea of the aesthetics of the world with Deleuze’s idea of the “actual” within which transformation occurs

[24] According to this myth, Lord Bramha, the creator of the universe was to raise Pushkar to the state of the heavens, but eventually didn’t. Since the universe is his breath and came out of it, revolting against Him, as in the case of Om Dar-B-Dar, would be holding one’s breath.

[25] By the term art object I mean the material form of the thing after it has been stripped on the idea and representation

[26] According to Hegel, philosophical being goes to becoming through self over-coming or “aufhebung.” Aefhebung can also be defined as overcoming a problem by negating its causality whilst taking affirmative action to address the problem

[27] Martin Heiddeger, Being and Time,translated by John Macquirrie and Edward Robinson, Blackwell Publishing Ltd, page 27. Dasien is generally understood as ‘being-there.’ According to Heiddeger: “(T)o work out the question of Being adequately, we must make an entity-the inquirer-transparent in his own Being. The very asking of this question is an entity’s mode of Being; and as such it gets its essential character from which is inquired about-namely, Being. This entity which each of us is himself and which includes inquiring as one of the possibilities of its Being, we shall denote by the term Dasein.”

[28] This pre-emption and delay is known as chhanda, the basis on Indian classical music which gradually emerges into tala or rhythm.

[29] Uski Roti/ Daily Bread (Mani Kaul, IN, 1969). The most important film of the State-sponsored Indian New Wave, Mani Kaul’s Uski Roti establishes most of Mani Kaul’s trademarks: the use of fixed camera distances instead of close-ups and wide shots, the lifeless acting reminiscent of Bresson, the use of delayed editing and the engagement with characters in constantly psychologically affected states without any apparent cause. The first sequence of the film which emphasizes the falling of a guava from a tree is also an example of chhanda.

[30] Nazar/The Gaze (Mani Kaul, IN, 1989). The film is Mani Kaul’s adaptation of Fyodor Dosteovski’s short story A Gentle Creature.

[31] When I spoke to Piyush Shah, the cinematographer of Nazar, he mentioned that Kaul made him look through the view finder with his eyes shut so that he could just open it for a few seconds to ensure that important parts of the frame such as the head were not getting cut

[32] Satah Se Uthata Aadmi/Arising From the Surface (Mani Kaul, IN, 1980)

[33] Gajanand Madhav Muktibodh was a communist poet and writer who emphasized the disappearance of Nehruvian idealism leading to corrupt politicians and “selfish” (“svarth-badh”) industrialists. His key work is a poem by the name of Andhere Mein (“In the Darkness”). Mani Kaul’s film on Muktibodh titled Satah Se Uthata Aadmi was produced by Madhya Pradesh Kala Parishad in 1979 and completed in 1980. At the premiere of the film in Bhopal, followers of Muktibodh’s cult threatened Mani Kaul and he had to be rushed off in a vehicle to escape. The film was also shown at the 1980 Cannes Film Festival.

[34] Vent d’Est/ Winds from the East (Jean-Luc Godard,FR,1970): “Not a just image, just an image” is a text written on a blackboard in the film

[35] “Unbalance to rebalance”, from Notes on the Cinematographer, Robert Bresson, translated by John Griffin, Green Integer Books, 1991, page 33

[36] Capitalism and Schizophrenia Volume 2: A Thousand Plateaus, Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, Translated by Brian Massumi, Continuum, 1987, pg 150

[37] Alain Badiou, Philosophy and Cinema, in Infinite Thought: Truth and the Return to Philosophy, trans. by Oliver Feltham and Justin Clemens, London, Continuum, 2004

[38] Scott MacDonald, At the Flaherty in Critical Cinema 3: Interviews with Independent Filmmakers, University of California Press, 1998, pg 171

[39] Devdutt Trivedi, Conversation with Mani Kaul at Osian’s, Mumbai,2008

[40] Mani Kaul, Approach to Naukar Ki Kameez, Mani Kaul Dossier, Cinemaya Publications Delhi,1997, page 36-37. “One of the three experiments I desire to attempt with this project is to not let the cmaeraman look through the camera while a shot is being taken. Doubtless, I have already tried this experiment in my earlier films but to a limited extent. I believe the moment the eye looks through the camera it ‘appropriates’ the space: it is by filming the dichotomous organization that splits the experience of that space into a fork: of being sacred and/or of being profane. Obviously it saves what is known as sacred for an exposure to what it thinks is profane In preparing a shot it includes certain features of the space being covered and excludes all the rest that threaten the order of what has been included. … The random happening, an inch outside the four lines of the format, when thought of as equally significant to an elaboration (we couldn’t call that a construction) makes the dichotomy between the sacred and the profane irrelevant.”

[41] Karl Marx, Capital III, translated by Ernest Untermann, Charles H. Kerr & Co., Chicago 1909, page 954. “The freedom in this field cannot consist of anything else but of the fact that socialized man, the associated producers, regulate their interchange with nature rationally, bring it under their common control, instead of being ruled by it as by some blind power; they accomplish their task with the least expenditure of energy and under conditions most adequate to their human nature and most worthy of it.”

[42] Jean-Francois Lyotard in The Post-modern Explained: Correspondences 1982-85, page 47: “’in a world where success means gaining time, thinking has a single, but irredeemable fault: it is a waste of time.”

[43] Deleuze and Guattari, 1987

[44] Deleuze and Guattari, 1987, page 9-10. “Multiplicities are defined by the outside: by the abstract line, the line of flight or deterritorialization according to which they change in nature and connect with other multiplicities. The plane of consistency (grid) is the outside of all multiplicities. The line of flight marks: the reality of a finite number of dimensions that the multiplicity effectively fills; the impossibility of a supplementary dimension, unless the multiplicity is transformed by the line of flight; the possibility and necessity of flattening all of the multiplicities on a single plane of consistency or exteriority, regardless of their number of dimensions.”

[45] Deleuze and Guattari, 1987, page 479: “Smooth space is filled by events or haecceities, far more than by formed and perceived things. It is a space of affects, more than one of properties. It is haptic rather than optical perception. Whereas in striated forms organize a matter, in the smooth materials signal forces and serve as symptoms for them. It is an intensive rather than extensive space, one of distances, not of measures and properties. Intense Spatium instead of Extensio. A Body without Organs instead of an organism and organization.”

[46] Deleuze and Guattari, 1987. Doing away with the binary of the hierarchical root-tree system that bound Noam Chomsky’s hierarchical language theories, Deleuze and Guattari emphasizes the rhizome, which is a root like stem. For Deleuze and Guattari, the rhizome “ceaselessly established connections between semiotic chains, organizations of power, and circumstances relative to the arts, sciences, and social struggles.”(page 7) Most importantly the rhizome is always a becoming, something which has “has no beginning or end; it is always in the middle, between things, interbeing, intermezzo” (page 25)

[47] L’Argent (Robert Bresson, FR,1983)

[48] Michel Ciment in “I Seek Not Description But Vision: Robert Bresson on L’Argent” in Robert Bresson, edited by James Quandt, Cinematheque Ontario, 1998, page 501

[49] Ciment, 1998, 506

[50] Paul Schrader, interview with Bresson titled “Robert Bresson, Possibly” in Robert Bresson, edited by James Quandt, Cinematheque Ontario, 1998, page 487

[51] Otona no miru ehon – Umarete wa mita keredo/ I was Born, But (Yasujiro Ozu,JP,1932)

[52] Chattrabhang/The Divine Illusion (Nina Sugati Shivdasani Rovshen,IN, 1975)

[53] The Brahmins are the most superior of all castes along to the codes of Manu, who emphasized that they emerged from the creator’s mouth. They are the priest community and are the only ones that have access to religious rituals and sacrifice. As a result of this the Brahmins became exclusivist in their access to the scriptures and exploited and often humiliated the lower-castes of society.

[54] Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, Capitalism and Schizophrenia Volume 1: Anti-Oedipus, translated by Robert Hurley, Mark Seem and Helen R. Lane, Continuum 2004, page 119: “The question posed by desire is not “What does it mean?” but rather “How does it work?”

[55] Riyaaz (Kabir Mohanty, IN,1987)

[56] Deleuze and Guattari, 1987, pg 171. Although Simon O’Sullivan argues that faciality “delimits human experience” (Journal for Cultural Research, October 2006, page 311), Deleuze and Guattari argue “(T)hat if human beings have a destiny, it is rather to escape the face, to dismantle the face and facializations, to become imperceptible, to become clandestine, not by returning to animality, nor even by returning to the head, but by spiritual and special becomings-animal, by strange true becomings that get past the wall and get out of the black holes.” This escape from the face, I interprete as a line of flight from State control.

[57] L’année dernière à Marienbad/Last Year at Marienbad (Alain Resnais, FR, 1961)

[58] Ritwik Ghatak in Experiments in Cinema and I, Cinema and I, Ritwik Memorial Trust, 1987, page 44

[59] Gilles Deleuze, Cinema 2: The Time Image, Continuum, 1985, translated by Hugh Tomlinson, page 269

[60] Gilles Deleuze often refers to “the outside” in his writings. In his book on the theoretician of power and its forms, Michel Foucault he suggests power as that which enters from the outside within his logic of the rhizomatic becoming. More importantly, in his cinema books he refers to the outside as being direct images of time that enter into the cinema after the closed sensory-motor system of the “movement-image” is broken

[61] Arthur Schopenhaur, The World as Will and Idea: Volume 2,Translated by R.B. Haldane and J. Kane, Boston, Ticknor and Company, 1887, page 12. Schopenhaur deduces that whereas the “phenomenon”/”appearance” is linked to the “idea” of the thing; the elusive Kantian “thing-in-itself” is directly linked to “free will.”

[62] Deleuze and Guattari, 1987, Page 153

[63] Jacques Lacan’s most important concept object-petit-a is generally defined as the unattainable object of desire

[64] Before My Eyes (Mani Kaul, IN, 1987)

[65] Schopenhaur, 1887,10

Film essays

Devdutt Trivedi is a cinephile who lectures on classical film theory and works at Osian’s. His research indicates an interest in combining philosophical concepts with film praxis.


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