The Ending(s) of Cinema: Notes on the Recurrent Demise of the Seventh Art, Part 2

by Stefan Jovanovic Volume 7, Issue 4 / April 2003 21 minutes (5118 words)

Cinema’s Terminal Transition(s)

‘Transition’ has proven itself a persuasive teleological model on which to ground a terminal prognosis for the cinema, if only because of its vague definition and indeterminate temporality—one is always compelled to wait a bit longer for definitive evidence, thus making it difficult to refute the basic principles of the argument. A case in point, I have already noted that the past half-century of cinema in the age of television, almost always discussed in terms of a fierce competition—or at least an uneasy coexistence—between two rival media, has been put forth as perhaps the most sustained crisis of ‘transition’ undergone by the cinema. Film history is littered with instances, such as the advent in the 1950s of new techniques and gimmickry including 3D, cinemascope, and even a short-lived attempt, circa 1958, to add scents to motion pictures (“Smell-O-Vision” and “AromoRama”), that purportedly exemplify the cinema’s anxiety toward the possibility of losing its audience and its resultant obsolescence in the face of the newer medium. The decades hence have thus been construed as the lengthy ‘transition’ in question, with each successive development—from cable TV to consumer video, digital/satellite TV, ‘surround-sound’ home theater systems and HDTV—touted as the cinema’s ultimate death knell; however, I would argue that with these latter developments, the terms of the cinema/television debate have been somewhat redefined. No longer is the cinema’s demise considered a simple function of the movie theater losing its audience to television; rather, these recent discussions have resituated both cinema and television within a broader field of techniques and media that are in a (forced) process of mutation, their various elements converging and/or diverging in myriad ways. As the quote from Godfrey Cheshire quoted hereinbefore has stated, the new millennium would not be dominated by the two rival twentieth-century moving-image media, but rather said media would be drastically transformed via such technologies as “digital projection [. . .] live TV, interactivity, and a dazzling array of other novelties.” 1 This now-familiar argument is a compelling one; indeed, various new moving-image technologies, from CD-Roms to streaming video for the Internet, have captured a share of the entertainment audience; new media continue to evolve, borrowing from the aesthetics and techniques of both cinema and television. And the interrelationship (and interdependence) of cinema and television put forth by John Ellis, among others—with television relying on the cinema for its glamour, superior production values, narrative and characterization, etc. while the cinema relies on television for its money and its enormous audience 2 —has seemingly expanded its scope (and raised its stakes) with the advent of huge media conglomerates (such as AOL Time Warner) controlling vast global networks of divers media.

I will return to the question of media convergence/divergence in the next part of this essay, as the ‘transition’ described herein also corresponds at certain points to a historical parallel-in-reverse, or what I will term a ‘double-movement’. However, let me proceed by suggesting that the ‘transition’ I have detailed herein has entailed various reformulations of media history. I have already mentioned the tendency of much recent scholarship on early cinema to question the invention’s ‘inevitability’, emphasizing instead its very uncertain future within a diverse range of competing techniques and forms of popular entertainment at the turn of the twentieth century (more on this later). But what of the relationship between cinema and “pre-television”? According to Vito Zagarrio, the period from the early 1930s to the mid-1950s was marked by a determined tendency toward the mutation, convergence and divergence of the two media, with large-screen TV technologies developing in the 1930s, a video-to-film system devised by Paramount around the same time, the designing of small 400-seat cinemas to accommodate both film and TV presentation in the 1940s, the broadcasting of live horse races at the Pantages theater in Los Angeles and of other live entertainment at Paramount’s theaters in Chicago, and the proposed broadcasting of sporting events on TV systems to be installed in the theater chains of Loew-MGM, Fox and Warner. 3 It is very interesting to note that the counter-history presented by Zagarrio bears striking similarities to the post-cinema future postulated by Cheshire and other fin de siècle film critics.

The death of cinema has also been postulated in relation to a much broader, systemic ‘transition’, to wit, the twilight of modernity. According to this logic, if the cinema was a product of an economic, technological and sociological configuration specific to modernity, the unraveling of this configuration at the end of the twentieth century must thereby also signal the end of cinema. Given the familiar argument that ongoing developments in image technologies—digital image manipulation and synthesis, CGI, etc.—have increasingly disengaged photography and cinema from ‘modern’ visuality and modes of spectatorship 4 , it is hardly surprising to note the recent tendency among scholars toward a reevaluation of the origin and place of these technologies within modernity itself. The question of the cinema spectator’s origin within a specifically modern regime of vision—and of the implications of the end of this regime—is explored by Jacques Aumont in his book L’Oeil interminable: cinéma et peinture. 5

Aumont’s argument challenges the successive film historiographies put forth by André Bazin’s “Myth of Total Cinema” 6 and by the “apparatus” theorists of the 1970s, which have frequently situated the cinema within a linear continuity extending back to the Renaissance and informed by a tradition of such visual models as the camera obscura’s monocular vision, geometrical perspective and a separation of viewer and spectacle. 7 In Aumont’s view, such a genealogy neglects significant, epistemic changes in visuality in the late-eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, including the shift from classical ‘disembodied’ spectatorship to a ‘corporeal’ gaze, and the range of techniques and cultural practices that indicate the emergence of a new, ‘modern’ regime of vision, such as photography, the panorama, mountain climbing and rail travel. 8 Conversely, modern visual culture does not begin with photography, but rather with a key transition in painting between 1780 and 1820: the ébauche, a measured and deliberate preparatory drawing from the artist’s notebook, gives way to the étude, a rapidly-executed sketch that attempts to capture a fleeting and mobile reality. Thus for Aumont, the socio-historical preconditions for the cinematic spectator are not the models, techniques and practices corresponding to ‘classical’ visuality, but rather the transient and virtual features of modern visual culture as experienced through the embodied, ‘corporeal’ gaze, or what he terms l’oeil variable, a gaze that is subject to continual historical variability. The exhaustion of this regime of vision and the transition toward a ‘postmodern’ spectator would thus seem to suggest that the cinema itself is moving toward its end. As Charles O’Brien has written:

The “schematized, synthesized, hypersignifying” forms of representation now prominent in film and television suggest that the variable eye, “the modern configuration par excellence,” is now ceding place to a new “cold eye,” “completely without reference to the human who embodies it.” […] At issue is clearly not a return to the separation of viewer and spectacle characteristic of classicism. Among Aumont’s examples of today’s “demobilized” eye is the cyberspace of certain video games, in which the surgical penetration of the subject that Benjamin described a propos of the age of mechanical reproducibility would seem to approach a limit. Here the viewer engages with a virtual reality to the degree that the notion of “textual mediation”—implying essential differences between subject and object, inside and outside—scarcely applies. 9

Film History as Double-Movement

As I have stated, Aumont’s historiographical account takes issue with the more psycho-technical genealogies of the cinema and its precursors offered by the likes of Jean-Louis Comolli, Jean-Louis Baudry and Stephen Heath. Nevertheless, I would argue that it is such ‘materialist’ histories of the cinema as put forth by these latter film theorists that continue to inform—albeit in somewhat simplified terms—the fin de siècle end-of-cinema discourse I have been discussing herein. It is interesting to note that while Aumont has emphasized the epistemic transformations at play in the transition from one regime of vision to another, the arguments put forth by Cheshire, et al., neglect this aspect of film history in favour of technical and economic postulations that essentially define the cinema by virtue of its techniques and institutions, thereby reinforcing the view that the end of celluloid, or perhaps the end of the darkened theater, may well be synonymous with the end of cinema. Hence the discernible tendency on the part of the latter—in contrast to Aumont’s history of profound ‘breaks’ and discontinuities—to frame said postulations along a linear continuity of “double-movement,” thus situating the cinema’s ‘material’ death in concord with its ‘material’ birth. According to this teleology, the cinema’s birth—taken as the sum of a fortuitous, perhaps even arbitrary coalescence of simultaneous and delocalized techniques, strategies and demographics—gives way to a reversal, or a dissolution of this configuration at the end of the twentieth century (recall Sontag’s remark likening the history of cinema to a “life cycle”); the concurrent convergence/divergence of moving image techniques and aesthetics, including the advent of new moving-picture formats and technologies (such as CD-Rom, streaming video and others mentioned hereinbefore), digital image manipulation and CGI, are thus construed as a historical parallel-in-reverse to the cinema’s birth: a withering away of the technical, aesthetic and institutional norms and protocols through which the cinema at its (highly idealized) zenith held mastery over the moving image. Thus for example, Cheshire invokes the unstable, shifting forms and protocols of the earliest cinema presentations in order to reinforce his prognosis for the forthcoming post-cinema (i.e. hybrid interactive digital multimedia) experience:

In the early days […] not only were films slotted into vaudeville bills between braying comics, dancing mules and third-rate acrobats—and you could talk back to everything on the program: call it pre-electronic interactivity—but also the people who supplied the movies tried everything they could think of, from scenes of distant countries to fake train trips to in-camera magic tricks to historical re-creations. […] Immediately after digital’s arrival, expect another spell of wide open experimentation until the new medium’s modalities and audience tastes are sussed and locked in. 1

Given the compelling and pervasive nature of the convergence/divergence/mutation argument as a late-twentieth-century figure of the cinema’s death, it thereby comes as little surprise that a ‘double-movement’ teleology, in interlinking fin de siècle notions of technological upheaval and decadence with socio-historical and technical parallels drawn from the cinema’s beginnings and its early history, would reveal itself as a persuasive contextual paradigm (note that the cinema/television counter-history offered by Zagarrio likewise frames said debate within a historical double-movement). This same paradigm may also be identified within the arguments around the epistemological “death of cinema” and its corresponding film-historical reconfigurations; it is this axis that I would like to examine in the remaining part of this section.

Let me once more quote Cheshire, in one of the more dystopian postulations regarding the spectacular computer-generated imagery of the coming digital post-cinema:

If video images sacrifice the photograph’s contemplative stance toward reality, CGI dispenses with reality altogether. […] Inevitably, every CGI movie returns us to one basic conundrum: if the world is unreal, where does that leave the viewer? Is he not just as empty and spectral—a mirror held up to a flickering void? […] From earliest infancy children are barraged with electronic images and information that comprise an amazingly comprehensive and irresistible system of brainwashing, if you’ll pardon the term. Here, “knowledge” is based not on experience but on inculcation, and not on the real world but on images that reduce the world to an endless streaming of emotionally charged and ideologically weighted abstractions. 8

Let us set aside for now the rather hyperbolic nature of Cheshire’s argument in order to examine more closely what is at work in his pronouncements. At the most basic level, this statement functions within the broader, oft-repeated view that the cinema, born as a spectacle, is once again dissolving into spectacle; that the CGI-governed post-cinema future, by virtue of its (lack of) referential logic and narrative coherence, will mirror the vacuous and spectacular trickery of “primitive” cinema—another ‘double-movement’ so to speak. Yet such a view commands even closer scrutiny; clearly, the above statement is predicated on a particular mythology of the cinema, one which has constructed and privileged a historical lineage of ‘realist’ and ‘documentary’ impulses in film works beginning with the first Lumière films. Compare Cheshire’s statement with the following from the French film critic Jean Douchet:

The shift towards virtual reality is a shift from one type of thinking to another, a shift in purpose which modifies, disturbs, perhaps even perverts man’s relation to what is real. […] All good films, we used to say in the 1960s, when the cover of Cahiers du cinéma was still yellow, are documentaries, […] and filmmakers deserved to be called ‘great’ precisely because of their near obsessive focus on capturing reality and respecting it, respectfully embarking on the way of knowledge. [Today, on the other hand], cinema has given up the purpose and the thinking behind individual shots, in favour of images – rootless, textureless images – designed to violently impress by constantly inflating their spectacular qualities. 12

The preoccupation reflected in Cheshire’s and Douchet’s statements with regard to the declining viability of cinematic ‘truth’ and ‘realism’ brought about by new image technologies is certainly of a piece with contemporary arguments in the domain of photography that similarly questioned the medium’s future in the face of such a profound epistemological ‘crisis’. What exactly is involved here? As essays on early cinema by Thomas Elsaesser, Tom Gunning and others have demonstrated, this ‘realist’ epistemology of cinema has been underpinned by a long-standing—and historically inaccurate—division between the ‘documentary’ tradition as initiated by the Lumières (and carried forward by the likes of Flaherty, Renoir, Rossellini, Wiseman and their respective movements) and the cinematic virtualism of Méliès. 13 Of course, the lines delineating said realist epistemology has been thrown into question at various moments in the history of film, including the appropriation of cinéma vérité’s renegade, self-reflexive techniques by mass media since the 1970s and the concurrent advent of ‘anti-documentary’ works and experimental documentaries that have questioned the cinema’s claims to knowledge and truth. 14 Yet as Elsaesser and Gunning have shown, to situate the films of the Lumières at the origin of an ‘realist’ impulse in early cinema—reinforced by the patently false myth of the first spectators of Arrivée d’un train rushing from the supposed path of the oncoming engine—is to misconstrue their place in an early “cinema of attractions”, in which these projections would have been regarded to be just as virtual and spectacular as those of Méliès. In thus reinscribing the earliest examples of cinematic ‘realism’ into a context of reception that would hardly have recognized them as such, the work of Elsaesser, Gunning and other historians of early cinema poses a challenge to the notion put forth by Cheshire, Douchet, et al., that the cinematic image was at any point in its early history seen as an unmediated source of truth or a basis for knowledge formation.

The Cinema Negated

If the figures of the cinema’s death examined within the above two teleological paradigms resist invoking the possibility of the medium’s complete and total negation, it is perhaps because implicit in their succession of historical and material transformations—whether rectilinear (transition) or cyclical (double-movement)—is the notion that something always remains to be passed on to posterity. Thus, I speak here of negation as a final end-point from which nothing can be retrieved or carried forward; such perhaps is the teleology suggested by the unnamed film writer quoted hereinbefore, who speaks of cinema as something which centuries hence will only be imagined as “some remote hallucination.” Here we cannot speak of historical indeterminacy, circularity or regression, of the cinema passing from one set of forms, techniques, etc., to another, or of the contextualizing role of a fin de siècle zeitgeist. The deterioration and destruction of motion pictures takes place continually, within a determinate temporality; it represents a final closure to the film’s materiality as well as to the cultural memory embodied therein. Consider for example the destruction by fire (a common hazard given the explosive, inflammable properties of cellulose nitrate) of the Svenska Filmindustri archives in 1941, in which the major share of Sweden’s cinematographic patrimony was forever lost in the span of roughly ten minutes. Or the all-too-frequent unearthing of film cans whose contents have revealed not preserved celluloid prints, but only deteriorated organic matter and dust. Here an adequate metaphor would not be ‘ruins’, which may in any case still provide physical matter to be studied and/or re-appropriated; rather we might reconsider Sontag’s comparison of cinema’s teleology to a “life-cycle,” the corpus of cinema to an organic body, whose materiality is likewise extinguished after death. “As the producer Val Lewton once commented,” writes Wheeler Winston Dixon, “making films is like ‘writing on water’—perhaps no other creative medium is as ephemeral as the cinema.” 15 We may not necessarily agree with Lewton’s deduction, but it is evident in my estimation that the discourses I have been discussing herein resist the notion of a final closure to the medium within they are inextricably bound; hence the propensity of death-of-cinema discourses toward a possible “revitalization” of the cinema, or postulations of a “post-cinema” moving-image regime, rather than toward the cinema’s pure and absolute negation—though as we shall see in the work of artist Mark Lewis, iconoclasm as a persistent figure of negation within Modernism is specifically invoked with regard to the end of cinema (more on this in my conclusion below). 16

Conclusion: Intermedia/Multimedia/Hypermedia and the Fate of the Cinematic Image I’d like to take the last part of this essay to address the question of how the various logics and discourses I have elaborated herein—that is to say, these different historical reflections and substantive material transformations in the domain of the moving image—have in recent decades initiated and informed new modes of reception and ‘intermedia’ practices, especially with regard to the displacement of the cinematic image from its traditional context. As I have noted, one identifiable preoccupation within this discourse has been with the question of the possibility of the cinema’s ‘renewal’ or ‘revitalization’; for instance, in a lecture delivered at the Tate Modern earlier this year (under the title “Keeping the Dead Alive”), Laura Mulvey has spoken of the new possibilities for reception and interpretation brought about by new technologies, in particular the VCR (rewind, freeze-frame, fast-forward) and how these new venues and possible practices of reception might re-invigorate film-historical discourse in the future. 17 Mulvey illustrated her point by repeatedly showing a sequence of Douglas Sirk’s Imitation of Life (1958) and showing how an active viewer might pick up on a fleeting instance of structured sexual positioning not normally perceptible in the context of a single, straight linear viewing. Mulvey’s point is well taken, regardless of the minimal likelihood that many lay viewers will dissect this or any other film in the way a CD-Rom or other new medium lends itself to interactive reception—after all, the VCR is certainly not a new technology. What interests me however, is the possibility that intermedia practices, particularly the work of myriad multimedia artists appropriating and/or producing cinematic texts and displacing them into visual arts environments—what Jean-Christophe Royoux has termed cinema d’exposition 18are in fact the site where the cinema history is carried forward in the way Mulvey suggests; in this context one cannot resist noting a certain irony in the words of the Scottish artist Douglas Gordon: “Le cinéma est jeune, il n’a que cent ans, mais pour nous il est déjà mort.” 19
I would like to close with two examples from contemporary ‘cinematic’ visual art practice, two works by artist Mark Lewis, in order to illustrate how this development in the visual arts is underpinned by the very discourses I have been discussing herein, to wit, the veritable obsession with the “end” of cinema and with what might remain after its inevitable demise. I choose these works also because they invoke another figure of the ‘end’ in cinema that I have not heretofore introduced, the question of inherent narrative, shot and textual ‘endings’ in the filmic medium; the two works I want to discuss are Upside Down Touch of Evil (1997) and A Sense of the End (1996).

Over the past decade, Lewis has produced an extensive series of film-based works, shot mostly in 35mm and typically transferred to DVD for the purposes of single- or multi-channel gallery installation. While Lewis’s film works have superseded his earlier, long-term practice in the area of public art and monuments, this abrupt shift somewhat conceals the overall unity of his artistic concerns: in both cases, Lewis is interested in modern historical projects that aspire to what he considers the artistic “impossibility” of serving as a “total art of the people.” 20 Moreover, Lewis is specifically interested in the circumstances that attend the decline of a given object, be it the public monument or cinema.

In A Sense of the End, which is presented as a continually looping film installation projected on two adjacent screens, Lewis assembled a series of short narrative clips, each of which he had staged and shot to appear like the ultimate sequence of some familiar, yet non-existent motion picture. Manipulating the syntactic and referential logic of mainstream narrative cinema, this piece creates in the viewer a peculiar sense of déjà vu, as this series of film “endings”—drawing on all of the Hollywood clichés and conventions to which we are accustomed—presents us with instantly-recognizable finales for films we think we may have seen (but in fact have not). As such, A Sense of the End situates this experience of recognition within the fragmentary, delocalised contexts of reception characteristic of many contemporary situations; for example, glimpsing the end of a film while flipping through television channels, in the video store, etc.

Upside Down Touch of Evil presents a somewhat more complex reflection on the figures I have examined hereinbefore: this piece is a “remake” of the famous opening of Orson Welles’s film A Touch of Evil (1957), which consists of a three-and a-half-minute single shot (plan séquence), only Lewis’s version was filmed with the camera mounted upside down. Upside Down Touch of Evil evokes the “end of cinema” on several levels: like A Sense of the End, it appropriates the industrial mode of production of commercial cinema while displacing the cinematic image into a “post-cinematic” visual arts context. Like the latter work as well, it manipulates the syntactic conventions of narrative cinema—while A Sense of the End plays on the notion of the inevitable narrative and textual ending of motion pictures, Upside Down Touch of Evil is concerned with the durational nature of the single shot and its inevitable ending, the deferral of which is exploited to exhilarating effect by Welles and scores of other filmmakers throughout the history of cinema. 21 As well, the inversion of the camera is, for Lewis, designed by reference to the iconoclastic practice by the 16th-century Huguenots of turning pictures upside down, thus linking the immanent, if metaphorical, negation of art works in Modernism—“Fontana’s slit canvases. Rauschenberg: ‘Erased De Kooning.’ Arnulf Rainer: painting over extant canvases. Tinguely’s ‘machine for breaking sculpture.’ Man Ray’s ‘Object to be destroyed,’ and so on” 22 — to the demise of cinema and its attendant discourses. In conclusion, the work of Lewis and other contemporary multimedia artists represents a range of highly sophisticated meditations on the past and future of the moving image and the figures of its death in relation to art and visual culture; the historicist outlook underpinning these intermedia approaches are perhaps best revealed by Lewis’s own words:

As far as the future of film is concerned… well, it seems to me that almost all art of this century has been formed in relationship to the emergence of cinema. Even in defiance, art has had to, and has wanted to, react to and produce itself in relationship to what we might call the cinematic effect. Artists have been part of that so-called universal audience of film. They’ve felt its effect. They’ve felt that dream. That dream is history now, but it won’t go away. Perhaps with the shift of cinema onto the historical stage, artists can now treat it like an object rather than a phenomenon. […] I think art in this context is a secondary invention performed upon another invention, which is already a bit dusty. 23

Read Part 1 Here.

Works Cited

Aumont, Jacques. L’Oeil interminable: cinéma et peinture. Paris: Séguier, 1989.

Bazin, André. What is Cinema? Vol. 1. Hugh Gray, ed. and trans. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1967.

Bellour, Raymond. L’Entre-Images 2: Mots, Images. Paris: P.O.L., 1999.

Bloemheuvel, Marente, and Jaap Guldemond. Cinéma Cinéma: Contemporary art and the cinematic experience. Eindhoven: Stedelijk Van Abbemuseum, 1998.

Boussinot, Roger. Le Cinéma est mort, vive le cinéma. Paris: Denël, 1967.

Charney, Leo, and Vanessa R. Schwartz, eds. Cinema and the Invention of Modern Life. Berkley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1995.

Cheshire, Godfrey. “The Death of Film/The Decay of Cinema.” New York Press, vol. 12, no. 34 (26 August 1998). Online at

Dixon, Wheeler Winston. The Second Century of Cinema: The Past and Future of the Moving Image. Albany: SUNY Press, 2000.

Elsaesser, Thomas and Kay Hoffmann, eds. Cinema Futures: Cain, Abel or Cable? Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 1998.

Gunning, Tom. “‘Primitive’ Cinema: A Frame-Up? Or the Trick’s on Us.” Thomas Elsaesser, ed. Early Cinema: Space – Frame – Narrative. London: BFI, 1990. 95-103.

Harvey, Sylvia. “What is Cinema? The Sensuous, the Abstract and the Political.” Christopher Williams, ed. Cinema: The Beginnings and the Future. London: University of Westminster Press, 1996. 228-52.

Kermode, Frank. The Sense of an Ending: Studies in the Theory of Fiction. New York: Oxford University Press, 1967.

Leprohon, Pierre. Histoire du cinéma muet: vie et mort du cinématographe (1895-1930). Paris: Éditions d’Aujourd’hui, 1982.

Lewis, Mark. “Some Sense of an End.” Marie Fraser, Diane Gougeon and Marie Perrault, eds. Sur l’expérience de la ville : Interventions en milieu urbain. Montréal: Optica, 2000. 141-51.

Mitchell, William J. The Reconfigured Eye: Visual Truth in the Post-Photographic Era. Cambridge, Mass. and London, U.K.: MIT Press, 1992.

Mulvey, Laura. “Keeping the Dead Alive.” Lecture delivered at the Tate Modern, London. 7 March 2002.

Nichols, Bill. Blurred Boundaries: Questions of Meaning in Contemporary Culture. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1994.

O’Brien, Charles. “The End of Cinema? An Afterword to Jacques Aumont’s ‘The Variable Eye.’” Dudley Andrew, ed. The Image in Dispute: Art and Cinema in the Age of Photography. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1997. 259-62.

Païni, Dominique. Le Cinéma : un art moderne. Paris: Cahiers du cinéma, 1997.

Russell, Catherine. Experimental Ethnography. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1999.

Sontag, Susan. “The Decay of Cinema.” New York Times, 25 February 1996. 1-2.

Usai, Paolo Cerchi. The Death of Cinema: History, Cultural Memory and the Digital Dark Age. London: BFI, 2001.

Witt, Michael. “The Death(s) of Cinema According to Godard.” Screen, 40.3 (Autumn 1999). 331-46.


  1. Cheshire, “The Death of Film/The Decay of Cinema.”
  2. John Ellis, “Cinema and Television: Laios and Oedipus,” in Thomas Elsaesser (ed.), Cinema Futures: Cain, Abel or Cable?, 127.
  3. Vito Zagarrio, ”Theseus and Ariadne: For a Counter-History of the Cinema-Television Relationship?” in Elsaesser and Hoffmann (eds.), Cinema Futures: Cain, Abel or Cable?, 88-89.
  4. See for example William J. Mitchell, The Reconfigured Eye: Visual Truth in the Post-Photographic Era (Cambridge, Mass. and London, U.K.: MIT Press, 1992).
  5. Jacques Aumont, L’Oeil interminable: cinéma et peinture (Paris: Séguier, 1989).
  6. See André Bazin, “The Myth of Total Cinema,” in What is Cinema? Vol. 1, ed. and trans. by Hugh Gray (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1967) 17-22.
  7. Charles O’Brien, ”The End of Cinema? An Afterword to Jacques Aumont’s ‘The Variable Eye’”, in Dudley Andrew, (ed.), The Image in Dispute: Art and Cinema in the Age of Photography (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1997), 259. This anthology includes an English translation of the second chapter of Aumont’s L’Oeil interminable.
  8. Ibid.
  9. Ibid., 261.
  10. Cheshire, “The Death of Film/The Decay of Cinema.”
  11. Ibid.
  12. From a press handout of Douchet’s lecture at the conference Le Cinéma: Vers son deuxième siècle held at the Odéon, Paris, 20 March 1995, 1. Quoted in Thomas Elsaesser, “Louis Lumière – the Cinema’s First Virtualist?” in Elsaesser and Hoffmann (eds.), Cinema Futures: Cain, Abel or Cable? 45.
  13. See Thomas Elsaesser, “Louis Lumière – the Cinema’s First Virtualist?” in Elsaesser and Hoffmann (eds.), Cinema Futures: Cain, Abel or Cable? 45-61; Tom Gunning, “’Primitive’ Cinema: A Frame-Up? Or the Trick’s on Us,” in Thomas Elsaesser (ed.), Early Cinema: Space – Frame – Narrative (London: BFI, 1990), 95-103.
  14. See for example Bill Nichols, Blurred Boundaries: Questions of Meaning in Contemporary Culture (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1994); Catherine Russell, Experimental Ethnography (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1999).
  15. Dixon, The Second Century of Cinema: The Past and Future of the Moving Image, 4.
  16. Lewis writes: “If modernism banned iconoclasm, at least in its material sense of actually destroying works, iconoclasm continues as a metaphorical a priori of Modernism: Literally to destroy what has come before becomes the imperative that drives autonomous modern art toward its end.” Mark Lewis, “Some Sense of an End,” in Marie Fraser, Diane Gougeon and Marie Perrault (eds.), Sur l’expérience de la ville : Interventions en milieu urbain (Montréal: Optica, 2000), 145.
  17. Laura Mulvey, “Keeping the Dead Alive,” lecture delivered at the Tate Modern, London, 7 March 2002.
  18. Jean-Christophe Royoux, “Remaking Cinema,” in Marente Bloemheuvel, and Jaap Guldemond, Cinéma Cinéma: Contemporary art and the cinematic experience (Eindhoven: Stedelijk Van Abbemuseum, 1998), 21.
  19. Douglas Gordon, ”Entretien avec Stéphanie Moisdon,” Bloc Notes, no. 11, janvier-février 1996. Quoted in Raymond Bellour, L’Entre-Images 2: Mots, Images (Paris: P.O.L., 1999), 267-68.
  20. Lewis, “Some Sense of an End,” 146.
  21. Consider for instance such famous long takes as those in Kalatazov’s Letyat Zhurlevi (The Cranes are Flying) (1958) and I Am Cuba (1962); Tarkovsky’s The Sacrifice (1986); Scorsese’s GoodFellas (1990), etc.
  22. Lewis, “Some Sense of an End,” 145.
  23. Mark Lewis, “A Sense of Disbelief” (Interview with Charles Esche), in Bloemheuvel and Guldemond, Cinéma Cinéma: Contemporary art and the cinematic experience, 105.

Volume 7, Issue 4 / April 2003 Essays   film canon   film history   film theory   film_theory