PREFACE DOSSIER “FRENCH CINEMATOGRAPHY”
The text “La symbolique du double à l’aube du cinéma français “, by Ana Taís Martins and Danilo Fantinel, describes the symbolisme of the double with its logical side versus mythical ways of thinking and its three axes: the postural, the digestive and the rhythmic. The corpus of the text includes images from the Lumière Brothers 1895 “La sortie de l´usine Lumière à Lyon” and from Méliès 1908 “Rêve d´un fumeur d´opium”. In the musical complement, the text mentions that the binary time provokes a dissolving of limits and a technical convergence. Among references, the text cites Morin: Morin (2014, p. 63), « [...] le mythe latent du cinématographe est l'immortalité » and « [...] vie à des ombres qui portent autant le prestige de l'immortalité que les terreurs de la mort » (MORIN, 2014, p. 64). Its musical complement creates a dialog with Alvim´s theme.
Luiza Alvim´s text, “Pre-existing classical music in French auteur cinema in the 2010s: Baroque predominance and processes of choices in a digital world”, mentions the musical aspect of French Auteur Cinema in 2010, emphasizing the baroque repertoire of Nouvelle Vague, mentioning Beethoven, Bach, Mozart and Vivaldi. To select the corpus, Alvim chose films by French directors that competed in Cannes Film Festivals from 2011 to 2020, with inclusion of some films from 2021, having in the first group directors already established as auteurs or on the way to it, such as Robert Guédiguian (1953-), Olivier Assayas (1955-), François Ozon (1967-), Bertrand Bonello (1968-) and Mia Hansen-Løve (1981-) and in the second, directors at different moments in their careers, including newcomers to Cannes Festival. Alvim concludes that the musical repertoire of Nouvelle Vague was predominantly baroque.
Nouvelle Vague, or French New Wave, was also emphasized in Ruomu Miao´s text “Cinema was becoming more real: From the French New Wave to the Vertical Screen Aesthetics of Mobile Short Video”. The author suggests that narrative aesthetics of French New Wave films are sources of inspiration for short videos in the vertical screen era, mentioning four dimensions of “telling” and “showing”, and also narrative time and space. Miao cites two French films, The Pointe Courte and The 400 Blows, and concludes suggesting that “The French New Wave films are marked by shooting in real scenes, using non-professional actors, special use of camera, breaking the "fourth wall", influencing and inspiring nowadays short videos, some made by i-phones, that are more like face-to-face conversations.
Three authors concentrate their analyses in selected filmmakers and their films. Glòria Salvadó-Corretger, in her text “París, mapa cinematográfico y territorio imaginario en la obra de Eric Rohmer”, chose the folowing films: El signo del león (1959), Les rendez-vous de Paris (1995), los dos primeros ‘Cuentos Morales’ (La panadera de Monceau, de 1962, y La Carrera de Suzanne, de 1963 to emphasize the dramatic plot determined by the nature of Paris urban space, in which the flaneur-protagonists’ desire is to be a hero having the city as inspiration. Salvadó-Corretger also emphasizes a dialog among Rohmer, Jacques Rivette and Louis Feuillade. Rivette makes Paris a game table and Rohmer protagonists also seem to move in a tabuyleiro, but Rivette concentrates in the dark aspects while Rohmer shows trivialities. Feuillade portrays an abstract Paris that provides perverse plans in its darkness, while Rohmer provides unexpected romantic encounters.
Lucas Murari chose the works of Rose Lowder as corpus of his text, “Ecological experimentations: the films of Rose Lowder”, describing her style is experimental and her films as ecologically oriented, portraying rural and maritime landscapes, engaging artistic activism with ecopolitical practice, using a Bolex H16 equipment that helps her “improvised composition”, as she herself defines her style. According to Murari, “Lowder does not wish to mimic reality, but to transfigure reality”, transforming the real as if she was a painter to whom plasticity is what really matters to reveal the potentialities of visual experimentation in portraying the aesthetics of landscape inventing new ways of seeing. Lowder herself mentions: “my intention is to give importance to the imagination arisen from the poetry of cinematographic qualities and call attention to the theme of nature, a foremost subject”.
Another text about French filmmakers is “L´Opacité et Intermédialité chez le Cinéma de Marguerite Duras’, by Luciene Guimarães de Oliveira, who emphasizes the Duras´ transmediality with different media, such as television, video, literature, theater, photography, and cinema, which can categorize Duras´ films as experimental for their hybrid characteristics to be between opacity and transparence. Guimarães de Oliveira also mentions the process of “dysnarration”, which reveals another characteristic of Duras´cinema in its dialog with the audience, who is challenged in between opacity and transparence. Jacques Aumont, cited by Guimarães de Oliveira, mentions that what Duras exposes to the audience is the illusion of realism, the illusion of continuity, the illusion of continuity, the illusion of transparence, and also the illusion of the neutral narrative, which defy spectators to have their own interpretations and viewpoints.
Two texts develop a dialog between their themes about feminism/feminist studies. Xueyan Cheng´s “Archiving the Past, Painting the Present: Representations of Diversity and Feminism in Portrait of a Lady on Fire” emphasizes the identities of the two female protagonists. Céline Schiamma, the director, works with women in many situations, such as marginalized, voiceless, invisible. As Cheng describes: the film is “a visual archive of the history of feminism and queerness, as well as a portrait of present-day female artists.” Moreover, the film is also Sciamma´s self-representation, being Marianne herself but also being a female artist observing behaviors on 18th century women with her female authorship and lens focusing the 21st century contemporary issues and scenarios. Trying to give voice and power to female artists, Sciamma expresses her own experiences as a female filmmaker.
Ying Lai, in her text “Film digital archives and urban cultural creative clusters: the reproduction and communication of visual culture”, emphasizes the relevance of memory and the significance of the CCCs – Cultural and Creative Clusters- that preserve the past by digitalizing cultural relics. Lai gives examples citing the film Paris-When it Sizzles, that depicts the Eiffel Tower as a symbol of love and the film Dans la Brume that shows specific and relevant French areas or regions that should be remembered, Lai also points out that Notre Dame Cathedral, which is inaccessible since 2019, may not be part of Paris repertoire for some time, reinforcing the idea that digital archives play a vital role in preserving films, images, photographs and visual culture in general. The corpus of the text is on the digital archive of films shot in Paris between 2016 and 2021.
Savo Zunjic starts his text “VR in French Cinematography: The Example of Alteration” mentioning the Lumière Brothers´s inventions, Cinematograph and Photorama, and also Bazin´s “clone the real” explanation about realism, plus the concept “virtual reality” by Morton Heilig, to the “immersive worlds” of today. Zunjic mentions that French VR movies had a relevant contribution to the growth of VR as a medium and the corpus of his text is Alteration, a hybrid short film that is “a symbolic representation of the digital world of artificial intelligence”. Zunjic also mentions the effect of music reinforced with digital sounds, announcing the presence of the AI and concludes by suggesting that new technologies such as computer-generated imagery (CGI), VR and AI are expanding creative scenarios that previously could not be possible to be performed.
To conclude, I would like to thank all authors that are part of this Dossier. I also thank Claudia Lambach who edited the texts and designed the image for the Dossier and Thomas Wiedemann, VIC Vice-Chair and VIC CineClub Curator. A very special thanks goes to Beatriz Corrêa Pires Dornelles, responsible for the FAMECOS Journal, who enthusiastically worked for the completion of the Dossier, which will be launched in Lyon, France, on July 12 from 10:30 to 12:30, by VIC – Visual Culture Working Group- during IAMCR Conference 2023.
Thank you for your attention.
Denize Araujo – VIC Chair
Denize Araujo PhD Comp Lit, Cinema & Artes UCR - University of California, Riverside-USA; Pós Doutorado Cinema e Artes UAlg - Universidade do Algarve-Portugal; Master´s in Cinema ASU - Arizona State University-USA; Docente PPGCom e Coordenadora Pós Cinema UTP - Universidade Tuiuti do Paraná-BR; Coordenadora GP CIC-CNPq (parceria CIAC, Portugal) e NPPA - Núcleo de Pesquisa e Produção Audiovisual UTP-BR; Chair of VIC-Visual Culture WG, Member IC & SRC-IAMCR; Curadora do FICBIC - Festival de Cinema da Bienal Internacional de Arte de Curitiba-BR, do BRICS e do Animatiba Festival Internacional de Cinema de Animação de Curitiba-BR; Diretora do Clipagem - Centro de Cultura Contemporânea, Curitiba-BR.