Philosophy of the Film: Epistemology, Ontology, Aesthetics
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Examines the overlap between film and philosophy in three distinct ways: epistemological issues in film-making and viewing; aesthetic theory and film; and film as a medium of philosophical expression.
photograph. Every choice of lens transforms three dimensions into two in a different manner; if the photograph is in black and white we know the colours of the natural world are being similarly transformed into a limited range. But this is true of colour photography as well, every patented process of which gives different results, different ‘values’ as we say, to the colours of the world. The focus of a camera is different from that of the eye. And so on. It is an illusion to think
or attending to a detail at the edge of the screen is almost equally as effective at defusing excess tension. More casual moviegoers may accomplish this with lots of body movement and lung exhalations but the result is much the same. A thread now begins to be discernible in Munsterberg’s prose, the thread that the movies have externally replicated otherwise internal mental processes. The theme that the world on the screen appears to be one shaped by the acts of our mind is worked through on
photography existed, that it had a ‘genius’ of its own. (Barthes 1981, p. 3) He proceeds on a metaphysical ramble around death (or, rather, Death) and depth, presence and absence, presentness and pastness to end up telling us that photography is ‘that has been’ (p.115): in the photograph, something has posed in front of the tiny hole and has remained there forever (that is my feeling); but in cinema, something has passed in front of this same tiny hole: the pose is swept away and denied by
art?’ This question, which a sociologist would see as seeking to legitimate the activities of art, preoccupies much art and many artists in the scientific age. We all need structures of rationalization for engaging in the activities that we do. If there is a powerful body of argument that suggests (however unfairly) that our activities are superfluous, parasitic even, making the countercase is always (however implicitly) going on. Just as the arts have reeled under the hegemony of science,
yet know what is the best: we are ignorant, and we flounder and make mistakes of the most 173 Table 7.1 : Sight and Sound’s poll of the ten best films of all time 1952 Bicycle Thieves Greed De Sica 1949 25 von Stroheim 1924 11 City Lights Le Jour se Lève Chaplin 1930 19 Carné 1939 11 The Gold Rush Passion of Joan of Arc Chaplin 1925 19 Dreyer 1928 11 Battleship Potemkin Brief Encounter Eisenstein 1925 16 Lean 1945 10 Lousiana Story Le Million Flaherty 1947 12