The Immediate Body in the Media of Film
Keywords:embodiment, moving image, film history, ritual studies
Religious cinematics is concerned with the “moving picture,” and with its impact on the “moving body.” Particularly utilizing Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenological descriptions of the “aesthesiological body,” this article briefly outlines a movement of the film viewer’s body that is pre-conscious, before rational awareness, in front of the film screen. Ultimately, it turns to Stan Brakhage’s unwatchable film, The Act of Seeing With One’s Own Eyes, to make the case for moments of “cinematic mysticism,” when the categorizing functions of film and the senses break down. In this way, a renewing function of filmic ritual emerges, not from a transcendental otherworldliness but from a grounding in the human sensing body.
———. Western Attitudes Toward Death: From the Middle Ages to the Present. Trans. Patricia M. Ranum. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1974.
Benjamin, Walter. “The Work of Art in the Age of Its Technological Reproducibility.” Trans. Edmund Jephcott and Harry Zohn. In Selected Writings: Volume 3, 1935–1938, 101–33. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2002.
Brakhage, Stan. “Metaphors on Vision.” In The Avant-Garde Film, ed. P. Adams Sitney, 120–28. New York: Anthology Film Archives, 1978.
Deren, Maya. “Ritual in Transfigured Time.” Film Culture 39 (1965): 5–6.
Derrida, Jacques. Of Grammatology. Trans. Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1976.
Grimes, Ronald. Deeply Into the Bone: Re-Inventing Rites of Passage. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000.
Irigaray, Luce. “The Invisible of the Flesh.” In An Ethics of Sexual Difference, trans. Carolyn Burke and Gillian C. Gill, 151–84. London: Athlone, 1993.
Laqueur, Thomas. “Clio Looks at Corporal Politics.” In Corporal Politics, by Donald Hall, Thomas Laqueur, and Helaine Posner, 14–21. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT List Visual Art Center; Boston: Beacon, 1992.
MacDougall, David. The Corporeal Image: Film, Ethnography, and the Senses. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2005.
Marks, Laura U. The Skin of the Film: Intercultural Cinema, Embodiment, and the Senses. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 2000.
Merleau-Ponty, Maurice. The Merleau-Ponty Aesthetics Reader: Philosophy and Painting. Ed. Galen A. Johnson. Evanston, Ill.: Northwestern University Press, 1993.
———. The Visible and the Invisible. Trans. Alphonso Lingis. Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1967.
Metz, Christian. The Imaginary Signifier: Psychoanalysis and the Cinema. Trans. Celia Britton, Annwyl Williams, Ben Brewster, and Alfred Guzzetti. Bloomington: University of Indiana Press, 1977.
Moore, Rachel O. Savage Theory: Cinema as Modern Magic. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1999.
Nichols, Bill. Representing Reality: Issues and Concepts in Documentary. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1991.
Plate, S. Brent. Walter Benjamin, Religion, and Aesthetics: Rethinking Religion through the Arts. New York: Routledge, 2004.
Shaviro, Steven. The Cinematic Body. Theory Out of Bounds 2. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1993.
Sitney, P. Adams. Visionary Film. 3rd ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002.
Snow, Michael. “A Statement on Wavelength for the Experimental Film Festival of Knokke-le-Zoute.” Film Culture 46 (1967): 1.
Sobchack, Vivian. Carnal Thoughts: Embodiment and Moving Image Culture. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004.
Taussig, Michael. Defacement: Public Secrecy and the Labor of the Negative. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1999.
Toulet, Emmanuelle. Birth of the Motion Picture. New York: Harry Abrams, 1995.
How to Cite
© Equinox Publishing Ltd.
For information regarding our Open Access policy, click here.