Essay on formalist criticism

French philosophy has played an outstanding role in the development of a philosophy of film. Henri Bergson was the first philosopher who adopted film as a conceptual model for philosophical thought. Cinema helped him to imagine the distinction between spatialized time and duration, an idea that would remain essential for his entire philosophy. Though Bergson’s ideas bear no relation with the more contemporary language-based models of reason (and his interpreter Gilles Deleuze never used them in that way), Bergson’s thought fused with the remaining field of French philosophy of cinema in an often paradoxical fashion. Though French philosophy of film is composed of diverse elements, French or even continental philosophy of film can appear as amazingly coherent. Deleuze’s Bergsonian concept of the “time-image,” for example, is very much compatible with ideas elaborated by the Russian director Andrei Tarkovsky who derived his insights not from Bergson, but from a critical evaluation of Russian formalist film theory.

[the] allover line does not give rise to positive and negative areas: we are not made to feel that one part of the canvas demands to be read as figure… against another part of the canvas read as ground. There is no inside or outside to Pollock’s line or to the space through which it moves. And this is tantamount to claiming that line… has been freed at last from the job of describing contours and bounding shapes…. [T]here is only a pictorial field so homogenous, overall, and devoid both of recognizable objects and of abstract shapes that I want to call it optical , to distinguish it from the structured, essentially tactile pictorial field of previous modernist painting from Cubism to de Kooning and even Hans Hofmann. ( Three American Painters , 224)

Essay on formalist criticism

essay on formalist criticism

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