Film-Philosophy

ISSN 1466-4615

 


 

Edward R. O'Neill

 

Apprehending Deleuze Apprehending Cinema

 


 

 

_Der Film bei Deleuze/Le cinema selon Deleuze_

Edited by Oliver Fahle and Lorenz Engell

Weimar/Paris: Verlag der Bauhaus-Universitat/Presses de la Sorbonne Nouvelle, 1997

ISBN 3-86068-060-9 (BUW)

ISBN 2. 87854-143-X (PSN)

565 pages.

 

 

Outline

 

I. Introductory

 

II. Top Drawer: Reading Deleuze

A. Bellour on Deleuze

B. Cinema as a Pedagogy of Perception

C. A Deleuzian Reading of Deleuze

D. Sign, Shot and POV

E. Taking Deleuze Literarily

 

III. Deleuze in Context

A. Zeno, Bergson, Deleuze

B. Appropriating Terms: Any-Space-Whatever

C. Deleuze and The Event

 

IV. Overviews

A. Image vs. World.

B. History Again.

C. Miscellany

 

V. How Not To Read a Text

A. Peirce and Bergson

B. Unjust Criticisms and Unfounded Comparisons

C. Leibniz, TV and _Providence_

 

VI. Conclusion

 

 

 

'We have always had a taste for universal history.'

-- Gilles Deleuze, speaking of himself and Felix Guattari

 

 

I. Introductory

 

This volume gathers together revised versions of essays which were presented at a colloquium at the University of Bauhaus at Weimar in October 1995. The topic was Deleuze's two volumes on the cinema. Deleuze himself participated in the preparations for the conference, although he was not present for the conference itself; the editors do not make clear whether this 'participation' included the selection of participants or no. The editors believe the colloquium was the largest dedicated to Deleuze's cinema work to that date.

 

The editors also point to the collegial atmosphere of the colloquium in an attempt, I feel, to apologize in advance for the relative inadequacy of certain entries vis-a-vis the others. While a generosity of spirit may be induced by the atmosphere of a social gathering, when holding a book in one's hand one tends to feel the author should have had a clear and meaningful purpose while writing it, and that the editors' duty was to guarantee the reader of the relative merits of each essay. This I feel could have been done with a stronger hand: it appears that all the papers from the colloquium were included, whereas a smaller number would have made up a stronger and more useful volume. After all, only a very few conferences publish the entire proceedings; more usually writers are left to fend for themselves in securing publication, and this volume inadvertently makes a case for the merits of the latter procedure over the former.

 

In what follows I will try to evaluate each essay as regards its strengths and weaknesses, but I will also try to point out in what ways each essay might be useful and to whom, since certain topics have interest to researchers regardless of the merits of what was written. I have sorted the essays according to their approach and consequently to my estimation of their relative value. The best essays seem to me to be those which mark precise points in Deleuze's writing and link them either with each other or with other relevant texts or events. In so doing, the writers are guided by their own interests, but they use their interests like a dowsing rod to detect the inner movements of Deleuze's writing, and so they help us to understand Deleuze better.

 

Throughout my essay it will become apparent to the reader that various topics crop up repeatedly, topics which seem to me crucial for reading Deleuze's work in general and his writing on film in particular. These are, in no particular order: the relation of Deleuze's work on film to his philosophical and critical projects, both in terms of their concepts and their procedures; Deleuze's approach to cinema in particular and what it means to write a couple of books thinking *with* the cinema; the distance between Deleuze's approach to cinema and familiar procedures and preconceptions; the significant but difficult-to-define role of history in the cinema books; the relation between semiotic and phenomenological, or, not quite the same thing, Peircean and Bergsonian dimensions in the cinema books in particular and Deleuze's work more generally as well; and finally the role played by Deleuze's multiform conceptions of difference and his famous stance against Platonism. This last topic is particularly important, since most of 20th century continental philosophy can be defined by its insistence upon rethinking the concept and role of difference -- I'm thinking of Heidegger and Derrida in particular -- but Deleuze's own approach has yet to be fully grasped both in its specificity and its relation to these other projects.

 

The best entries in this volume are of a richness and complexity which will challenge and stimulate those already familiar with Deleuze's work as a whole, but they may be daunting for the uninitiated. Although this volume in no way constitutes an introduction to Deleuze's cinema books, certain essays take pains to frame the significance of Deleuze's project in a way that will be enlightening for those who need to situate these books, while other essays recapitulate some of Deleuze's larger categories in a way that might be helpful to those first approaching the cinema books. (I found many of these recapitulations refreshed my memory significantly about the overall plan of the cinema books.) The volume will also be enlightening for those who have already read some of Deleuze's philosophical works in enough detail to appreciate their complexity and are approaching the cinema books for the first time, since here the reader will have a foothold already.

 

Two bibliographic notes are necessary. First, I will be referring to the French page numbers throughout, since it is in the French versions that I read the articles, regardless of whether the original language was French or German. When these French texts refer to Deleuze's texts they invariably refer to French editions, and despite the fact that I often refer to Deleuze's titles in English as a matter of convenience (as I do for the title of each essay in the volume), I have preserved these references to the original French editions without translating them into corresponding English page numbers. I have abbreviated the titles of Deleuze's works as follows: C1 and C2 for the two cinema books (_The Movement-Image_ and _The Time-Image_, respectively); DR for _Difference and Repetition_; LS for _The Logic of Sense_; WIP for _What Is Philosophy_.

 

Second, European footnoting habits are not so compulsive as are those of most Americans, so information that some readers expect may not be present.

 

II. Top Drawer: Reading Deleuze

 

A first tier is made up of authors who bring an immense erudition to bear upon reading Deleuze's cinema books. Here I mean 'reading' in the most intense and best sense. These writers help us to situate Deleuze's cinema books either amongst his other works or in specific historical or intellectual contexts. My discussions of these top drawer works will necessarily be longer because the works themselves are so richly rewarding. My aim is to honor the essays by preserving enough detail to make reading this review of some value in and of itself and so that it can also serve as a guide for readers interested in specific topics.

 

The essays which make up first part of this group are particularly rewarding: namely those essays which analyze Deleuze's cinema books in terms of his other work. These authors are: Bellour, Bensmaia, Francois and Thomas, Ropars-Wuilleumier, Esquenazi and Leutrat. (Since Bensmaia both looks at one particular concept in terms of where it comes from and how it functions as what Deleuze would later come to call a conceptual persona, I'll discuss that essay below with analyses which contextualize Deleuze's work in terms other than its own.)

 

II. A. Bellour on Deleuze

 

First in the volume and the introductory talk from the conference is Raymond Bellour's essay 'To Think, To Tell: The Cinema of Gilles Deleuze'. Bellour's stated goal is to recount the effect of reading Deleuze's cinema books on Bellour himself, and in this context Bellour frames Deleuze as both being a part of and yet separate from cinema studies in France -- a distance which the appearance of this volume would itself diminish.

 

Bellour points out that Deleuze has cherry-picked from the work of cinema studies in France in order to then organize numerous observations that are not his own within a conceptual framework which is both original in its details and familiar in its contours or divisions.

 

Bellour also underlines what a departure the cinema books were for Deleuze: while Deleuze's other books approach a particular conceptual problem (as in _Difference and Repetition_ or _The Logic of Sense_) or constitute a monograph on a single philosopher or thinker (Leibniz, Bergson, Foucault), and many passages in his work address individual writers (Beckett, Bacon, Lowry, Fitzgerald), at no point had Deleuze attempted the feat of 'apprehending' an entire art form. Bellour thus calls the cinema books the 'bearer of a unique gesture', namely Deleuze's attempt to grasp the entire field of cinema in his own fashion (23-24). Bellour traces the condition of possibility for such a gesture in an approach which takes cinema as *already* thinking, as already a modality for the philosophical work which Deleuze was eventually to name as the 'invention of concepts' (with the emphasis on *invention* rather than simply apprehension of concepts already existing in language or experience), and Bellour traces the origins of Deleuze's cinema project to remarks the philosopher made at the French national film school ('Femis') conference 'What is the act of creation?' published under the title 'To Have an Idea of cinema', ideas Bellour finds to be developed later in _What Is Philosophy?_. (Here we should add that this last work seems to suggest shades of Heidegger -- not just in the title but in the relation/distinction set forth there between philosophy and art on the one hand and science on the other.)

 

Bellour points out that Deleuze himself underlines that the cinema books are not intended to be a history in the traditional sense but rather at once a taxonomy and a 'natural history'. It is this two-sided conceptual architecture which concerns Bellour most. He points out that Deleuze uses the word 'history' in a sense that is at once banal and complex. In one sense Bellour takes the distinction between the movement-image and the time-image as corresponding roughly to the distinction between classical and modernist cinema, but here I think Bellour downplays the fact that this distinction itself is not simply historical but is also moreover stylistic and presents the same definitional problems as that of defining classicism and romanticism in other arts. Such terms are tied to historical co-ordinates with which they are not therefore entirely synonymous. Bellour links the distinction, however, with Deleuze's other periodizations, his bi- and tripartitions: those in his book on Foucault; Deleuze's argument that Bacon recapitulates in his own paintings of the history of painting; the savage/barbarous/civilized trichotomy of _Anti-Oedipus_. Quoting Deleuze speaking of himself and Guattari: 'We have always had a taste for a universal history.' (25, referring to _Pourparler_, Les Editions de Minuit, 1990, p. 206).

 

Bellour also demonstrates that Deleuze's concepts correspond to existing taxonomies, indeed to historical movements, authors and national borders: Deleuze's four forms of montage (organic, dialectic, quantitative and intensive-extensive) correspond to American, Soviet, French Impressionist and German Expressionist schools.

 

Here Deleuze recapitulates a set of distinctions with which cinephiles and scholars are already familiar. One helpful thing about Bellour's gesture of showing how Deleuze's patently original concepts correspond neatly with existing ones is that the gesture helps to enable us to question the *status* of Deleuze's concepts rather than their import. Indeed, the very neatness of Deleuze's concepts itself gives one pause. How can they correspond so precisely to existing distinctions which must be in part contingent? Does not this suggest a latent Hegelianism in Deleuze's cinema books? Why would the history of cinema conveniently recapitulate an abstract theory of cinema or taxonomy of cinema signs? Nevertheless, Bellour points out that although Deleuze's categories may be in part borrowed, he then uses them to create hitherto unforeseen affinities, such as that which links Bunuel and Stroheim as naturalists and the makers of images deeply invested with primal drives.

 

Somewhat later in his essay Bellour sheds further light on Deleuze's hybrid conceptual-historical project by bringing it into rapport with the work of Barthes: Bellour recalls Barthes' description of his own writing as 'the novelistic without the novel', and he then links this description with Deleuze's mobilization of concepts, which Bellour dubs similarly novelistic. That is: Deleuze's 'taste for universal history' expresses itself not only in the overarching conceptual frame he uses to divvy up the history of cinema, but in using the history of a cinema as a framework within which to give a novelistic account of the genesis of a series of concepts as if this unfolding itself were historical. (Leutrat's essay, discussed below, expands significantly upon Bellour's observation.) Here I think Bellour has underlined a key tendency in modern French thought: the reversal of values around philosophy and literature and their increasing hybridization. This keen insight on Bellour's part makes questionable Bellour's criticism that Deleuze undervalues the concept of narration (31), since it strikes me that narration has passed to another level in Deleuze's text: it is no longer an object because Deleuze's text itself has become a narration in the more fundamental sense which Bellour himself makes so palpable.

 

One aspect of Bellour's essay that will be of some interest to those who work on Godard is the centrality Bellour demonstrates that the Swiss filmmaker has for Deleuze's cinema book: that in Deleuze's _Cahiers du cinema_ interview with with Godard in 1976 the philosopher suggested that in order to understand the relation between image and sound in Godard's work, it would be necessary to recount a very abstract history of cinema. (Already in that interview, Bellour points out, Deleuze was referring to Bergson.) Thus the two cinema volumes, by being such an abstract history, can thus be understood as preparatory for, or directed towards, an understanding of Godard.

 

In passing Bellour claims that no director in Deleuze's cinema volumes is ever the object of a value judgment, only to classification and genealogy. I disagree. I would argue rather that the very inclusion in the typology grants the directors discussed entrance into a creative fraternity which participation itself constitutes a mark of honor. Deleuze doesn't have to bad-mouth anyone; he just leaves them out. Doesn't the absence of Russ Meyer, Mark Rydell and Frank Perry judge them just as surely as their presence under the mark of a negative judgment?

 

Finally, the fact that Bellour dedicates his remarks to the memory of Felix Guattari helps to underline the fact that references to Guattari in the volume are few and far between, and when Guattari is mentioned by name, it is generally as part of the Deleuze-Guattari team -- arguably the dynamic duo of modern French political philosophy. Guattari's precise contribution to Deleuze's work or role therein has yet to be analyzed in any degree of detail (so far as I know), and the works in this volume, while admirable in their own right, do nothing to remedy this deficiency.

 

II. B. Cinema as a Pedagogy of Perception

 

In 'The Critical Dimension of Gilles Deleuze: For a Pedagogy of Perception' Alain Francois and Yvan Thomas give a richly suggestive account of the relationship between Deleuze's comments, sometimes passing, on his conception of pedagogy and the project of the cinema books. Thus the authors situate the cinema books in a complex relationship within Deleuze's entire project. While they admit that pedagogy was never an explicit topic of extended treatment in Deleuze, they nevertheless point to the notion of apprenticeship in the 1964 _Proust and Signs_, and they also draw the reader's attention to 1968's _Difference and Repetition_ -- in particular to Deleuze's distinction between an empirical and a transcendental exercise of sensibility. Francois and Thomas frame Deleuze's philosophical project (aptly, I think) in terms of Deleuze's rejection of Platonism, and they underline in particular Deleuze's emphasis on forms of difference which involve differences in intensity and quality (rather than differences in number or kind). These qualitative 'contrarieties' constitute for Deleuze the 'being of the sensible' and determine the limit of the sensible as such from which Deleuze then attempts to define sensibility vis-a-vis its limits in an almost Kantian fashion.

 

As an example of the possibility of apprehending intensity as separate from quality, Deleuze points to what he coyly names as 'pharmacodynamic experiences', as well as to experiences of vertigo: such experiences, by effecting a distortion of the senses provide for what Francois and Thomas construe in terms of pedagogy:

 

'To apprehend intensity independently of extension or before the quality in which the intensity develops itself, such is the object of a distortion of the senses. A pedagogy of the senses is turned towards this end, and forms an integral part of 'transcendentalism'. Pharmacodynamic experiences or those physical experiences like those of vertigo approach it: they reveal to us that difference in itself, this depth in itself, this intensity in itself at the original moment where it is no longer qualified or extended.' (DR 305).

 

Francois and Thomas place cinema here under the topic of the pedagogy of sensibility, apparently based on the way cinema for Deleuze gives new types of image and hence new intensities of the sensible. (The above account would seem to give Hitchcock's _Vertigo_ pride of place.) (See also DR 214-215.)

 

One of the advantages of the account Francois and Thomas give is that it allows the reader to begin to gauge the tension between empirical and transcendental tendencies in Deleuze. While Deleuze often styles himself an empiricist, it is the same thing with other words taken from the philosophical tradition: Deleuze doesn't mean of himself what we mean of Locke when we use the word 'empiricist'. He does mean that he makes experience or the senses a central category, but this category does not fashion itself after empirical objects.

 

For another discussion of pedagogy, the authors point to Deleuze and Guattari's _What Is Philosophy_ wherein philosophy becomes named as a pedagogy of the concept (WIP 16). Philosophy as conceived by Deleuze and Guattari is a 'pedagogy of the concept' insofar as it involves posing or re-posing problems which had been malformed, and the posing and reposing of problems is central for the Deleuze because for him it is only in conjunction with problems that concepts are created. (The centrality of the problem goes back to Deleuze's _Difference and Repetition_ and _The Logic of Sense_ and depends on my view upon the centrality of Canguilhem and his philosophy of science for French thought of the late 1960's.) This turn to philosophy as a pedagogical reworking of a problem thus reframes Deleuze's cinema books as exactly reposing the problem of how cinema should be thought: it was on the basis of a malformed analogy with language and signs that the French study of cinema (a cine-semiology) had poorly posed the problem of how to think the cinema, to think both of and with the cinema, and Deleuze reposes the problem of how to think cinema by turning back to the senses and to the image from the emphasis upon the sign, meaning and intellection.

 

Francois and Thomas also turn to Deleuze's 'Letter to Serge Daney' which constitutes the preface to Daney's _Cine-Journal_ (Editions des _Cahiers du cinema_) and which is reprinted in Deleuze's _Pourparlers_ (Editions de Minuit). There Deleuze imagines three ages of cinema or functions of the image, one of which is a pedagogy of perception which aims to teach the eye and the senses. The authors find this concept particularly central to the second of Deleuze's cinema volumes in which Deleuze is at pains to describe the way 'pure optical situations' and pure acoustic situations (in which the sensori-motor ties of the movement-image have been cut) present directly what Deleuze calls the time-image. In the cinema's pedagogy of perception, perception itself is a temporal process: the cinematic mechanism thus becomes a mechanical model for the temporal process by which perception grasps an object which is no longer conceived of as static and timeless (203-205; cf. C2 65). This understanding strikes close to what Deleuze means by 'image', and the authors underline the way Deleuze links this idea with Bergson, for whom the object of attention is the object of an attention that is continually renewed and which attention hence participates in ever shifting circuits of attention and behavior. This point also allows one to understand better the rapport between Deleuze and the two sides of Peirce -- hallucinatory and practical, phenomenologist and semiotician, drug fiend and logician.

 

Finally, the authors describe briefly how modern cinema might be understood to perform this pedagogy of perception through references to Eisenstein, Vertov, and Godard. In a way this seems like an avant-garde truism: that certain forms of art 'teach' us to perceive the world differently. At such a level the observation is probably of little value; but by linking this concept to precise places in the work of Deleuze and Guattari, Francois and Thomas perform a great service for those readers interested in following the way issues elsewhere in Deleuze's work (both alone and with Guattari) cross over into his cinema books.

 

(One small detail: Francois and Thomas draw the reader's attention to a text which they suggest is the inspiration for Deleuze's discussion of Fellini: J. M. G. Le Clezio's essay 'L'extra-terrestre' published in _Arc_ number 45 -- cited by Deleuze in C2 30. Such signposts allow the reader to investigate for herself the way in which Deleuze appropriates and reworks his source material.)

 

II. C. A Deleuzian Reading of Deleuze

 

Marie-Claire Ropars-Wuilleumier is without a doubt one of the most profound thinkers and acute writers on the French cinema studies scene, one whose works seems to have barely penetrated into Anglophone cinema publications. Anyone who's ever seen her speak is not likely to have forgotten the experience, which is both challenging and exhilarating. The essay in this volume, 'The Whole Against the Part: A Crack To Be Repaired?', creates much the same feeling.

 

Ropars-Wuilleumier begins much the way Bellour does, by recalling how differently Deleuze had seemed to operate upon literary texts in contrast to his work on the cinema. But Ropars-Wuilleumier cunningly discovers a secret affinity: although Deleuze writes on singular writers and painters, like many modernists he is concerned with the way the individual artist makes evident a potentiality of the medium. She takes Kafka as a sort of arch-example in Deleuze's work: he is concerned not just with the way Kafka uses language but with the way he 'minoritizes' it, turns it away from its typical uses and puts it towards quite different ends. Ropars-Wuilleumier underlines the way Deleuze's concept of a 'becoming-minor' of literature (a touchstone in _A Thousand Plateaus_) can be traced by examining those 'lines of flight, tensions, paradoxes, cries and modulated catastrophes' (243) by which a work tends towards its own crisis, catastrophe and undoing. Here Ropars-Wuilleumier sees both a similarity and an inverse relation with cinema: with cinema Deleuze is examining not a major language in the process of becoming-minor but rather of a minor art becoming-major, and Deleuze's object is not a single work 'haunted by its own destruction' but rather the totality of cinema (243). The hypothesis which she sketches -- and 'sketch' is the word she uses -- is that:

 

'the cinema according to Deleuze, because it totalizes contraries, is able to play a double aesthetic game: accomplishing the virtualities of art, scriptural or pictorial, realizing the 'image of thought' dreamed of by the philosopher in the form of literature, cinema revokes, even in evoking anew, the fissure of the work in the act of writing, this fleeting heterogenization of personal postures and linguistic procedures' (244).

 

Ropars-Wuilleumier sets as her goal not to explore Deleuze's strategies but rather to measure the way a certain ambivalence of the cinema *itself* is better evoked by Deleuze than by any other analyst.

 

If Deleuze reads literary works in terms of their own internal contradictions and paradoxes, Ropars-Wuilleumier returns the favor by taking Deleuze's two volumes on cinema as concepts which are two sides of a single fissure or difference, with the second volume repeating the first (including re-citing some of the same directors) but 'affected by a different coefficient' (245). The writer grounds this reading in Deleuze's own anti-Platonic use of concepts in which ideas do not unify but rather affirm a divergence and establish resonances between series which diverge (DR 357; but also LS). As demonstration that the two volumes are two sides of the same difference, Ropars-Wuilleumier draws attention to the central role of Ozu in both volumes: Ozu seen from the perspective of movement and Ozu seen from the perspective of time. Then, to further clarify the way she reads the relationship between the two volumes, she reinterprets the time-image as making visible the pure becoming of the movement-image. And as confirmation of her reading of the relation between the two volumes on cinema, Ropars-Wuilleumier detects the same organization as Deleuze's earlier book _Proust et les signes_: the original 1964 edition offered a classification of signs, while an addition dated 1970 reframed the Proust's work in more paradoxical terms.

 

Ropars-Wuilleumier effects, in other words, a strikingly Deleuzian and deconstructionist reading of Deleuze's own work, which strikes me as a major achievement in terms of the clarity and force with which she's able to seize Deleuze's work as a whole just as Deleuze seizes the history of cinema as a (mobile) whole. To readers familiar with Deleuze's other works, the writing of Ropars-Wuilleumier will be a treat because in grasping Deleuze himself through his own means her work is felicitously Deleuzian while at the same time keeping enough distance to frame that work anew.

 

Finally, in addressing the way Deleuze takes up familiar distinctions in the history of cinema -- silent vs. sound, black and white vs. color, the various national schools of montage, etc. -- Ropars-Wuilleumier suggests a tantalizing reversal in which Deleuze is not trying to give a history of cinema but rather to use cinema's history as itself an image of a theoretical idea. Cinema and its history would thus become Deleuze's own time-image, an image of the movement of history. On this view Deleuze does not recapitulate the history of cinema through his own conceptual categories in a Hegelian unfolding: rather he lets the history of cinema be its own image (245).

 

II. D. Sign, Shot and POV

 

Jean-Pierre Esquenazi's essay 'Deleuze and the Theory of Point-of-View: The Question of the Sign' attempts to discover what definition of the sign might be compatible with Deleuze's cinema project in order that he might construct a meaningful understanding of point-of-view in cinema. (What Esquenazi takes to be a canonical theory of point-of-view are those views espoused by Jacques Aumont, Bellour in _L'analyse du film_ and Francois Jost in _L'oeil camera_.) While this would appear difficult on its face to those familiar with Deleuze's antipathy towards a semiotic conception of cinema, the rigor and precision with which Esquenazi approaches the task he sets himself can hardly fail to elicit admiration from the reader.

 

To begin to analyze the way Deleuze uses the terms 'shot', 'sign' and 'image', Esquenazi briefly and helpfully marks the places where the terms are used: 'shot' in the second chapter of first book; 'image' in the second commentary on Bergson, the fourth chapter of the first book; 'sign' in a brief discussion at the end of the fourth chapter of the second book then again in the second chapter of the second volume. Esquenazi draws the suggestive conclusion that the term 'shot' plays the role in the cinema books that the concept of 'event' does in _The Logic of Sense_, 'sign' does in the Proust book, and 'fold' does in the book on Leibniz and the baroque (379): the key term summarizes a sense or expressed that is immanent to a given field.

 

Esquenazi also decides that the notion of shot in Deleuze plays a role that is highly ambiguous (380) and that the difficulty in understanding a unit of sense in Deleuze's work makes Deleuze's terminology difficult to utilize. Esquenazi makes a particularly significant point when he links this difficulty to what he calls a 'hesitation' between phenomenology and semiotics, thus to the difficulty in bringing together Bergson and Peirce, since if these two approaches cannot be reconciled, then Deleuze's project itself is on shaky ground. But it is important to remember that the necessity of a significative unit comes from Esquenazi and not from Deleuze, that Deleuze does not participate in any such formalism, and that this may make Deleuze's work difficult to utilize *for those ends which Esquenazi imagines*, but this only suggests that the ends that Deleuze imagined for his work were quite different.

 

In an extended discussion, Esquenazi analyzes the significance of camera movement vis-a-vis the moving camera shot in _Vertigo_ which introduces Kim Novak for the first time. The discussion relates issues of movement and the image to those of point-of-view generally, and though the terms of the discussion are more Esquenazi's than Deleuze's, the discussion is acute and deserves wider attention. The writer's reconsiderations of the concept of suture in the context of Deleuze's film theory will be of great interest to some and a thorn in the side for others -- those antipathetic to the whole conception of suture and hence adverse to seeing it 're-thought', from whatever perspective. Esquenazi believes that the theory of suture can be developed in semiotic terms that are compatible with Deleuze's work on cinema. Given Deleuze's clear feelings about semiological approaches to cinema, one might doubt that Esquenazi's dream can be achieved, but one cannot by the end of the essay doubt the writer's ability to pursue that goal. The author's _Film, Perception et Memoire_ (Paris: Editions L'Harmattan, 1994) was not available to the reviewer at this time, but the acuity and precision of Esquenazi's writing suggest that his book must surely be a significant one, even if one has doubts about the goals of the semiotic approach to cinema.

 

II. E. Taking Deleuze Literarily

 

Jean-Louis Leutrat's 'The Clock and the Mummy' situates Deleuze's cinema volumes not only in relation to Deleuze's other writings but also in relation to the writings of authors who are favorites of Deleuze. Like Bellour, Leutrat considers Deleuze's work in its novelistic dimension, but even more so than Bellour, Leutrat considers Deleuze's project not so much as a conceptual edifice but rather as a literary text. While Leutrat claims that he is displacing the discussion not for tactical reasons but because of his own lack of philosophical credentials, the enormous erudition that he then goes on to display suggests that his disclaimer is itself a rather calculated tactic.

 

Leutrat rightly says that he will neither 'apply' nor reprise Deleuze's ideas but that he wishes rather to demonstrate a mode of relation to Deleuze's writing that he finds to be the richest in consequences. Indeed, Leutrat's offering is one of the richest and most complex in the volume, but again it is probably not for new readers of Deleuze, although it might provide a sort of map, an 'index of themes' for those who want to read Deleuze a bit differently than the emerging English-speaking Deleuze orthodoxy might like.

 

Leutrat concentrates on the third and tenth plateaus of _Mille Plateaux_ and demonstrates the way the are already marked by an encounter with the cinema -- indeed with the horror genre and its literary antecedents. In their philosophical masked ball, Deleuze and Guattari mobilize figures as diverse as mummies, Conan Doyle characters, the naturalist Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, and Spinoza. Leutrat interprets the mummy figure as a quasi-literary symbol: pointing in one direction to the body-without-organs, in another to Bazin's famous figure of the cinema as a mummy, and in yet another towards the figure of Egypte which Deleuze uses to figure Hegelianism.

 

But it is by bringing out the Lovecraftian resonances and horrifying imagery in Deleuze's text that Leutrat helps to bring out the role of the horror film in Deleuze's cinema books -- something which I don't think would leap out to even a reader quite familiar with these books. On the one hand the seventh plateau of 'faceity' points towards the role of the face in the cinema books, where the expressivity of the face becomes borrowed by certain sorts of spatial images, while on the other hand this same facial figure points back towards _Difference and Repetition_ (334), in which it is the modality of what the face expresses which concerns Deleuze. It is exactly the face's potentiality for expressing terror which interests Deleuze, and for him the terrifying world is one *possible* world among others. Leutrat even finds references in the tenth plateau to (of all things) the horror film _Willard_ (1971) and to Hoffmannstahl's _Letter to Chandos_. And of Deleuze's conception of becoming-animal, Leutrat, in keeping with his discerning ear for echoes of the horror genre, finds references to werewolves, vampires, packs of rats and other monstrous images, images which he further links to the classificatory impulse Deleuze signals with his reference to Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire and towards the status of the cinema books as a sort of 'natural history' of cinema.

 

The immense richness of Leutrat's text is due in part to his close knowledge of Deleuze's corpus, as well as his ability to recognize affinities, however attenuated, and to spin them together into a suggestive web (or perhaps a rat's nest). The result is dizzying, but rewarding for those who will be interested in following this elaborate tracery.

 

III. Deleuze in Context

 

Equally rich and rewarding are those essays by Fihman, Bensmaia and Conley which relate Deleuze's works to relevant intellectual and historical contexts of which those on the American and English scenes may be dimly aware.

 

III. A. Zeno, Bergson, Deleuze

 

Guy Fihman's 'Deleuze, Bergson, Zeno of Eleas and the Cinema' presents a finely contextualized discussion of the Bergsonian aspect of Deleuze's cinema books, and of the centrality of Zeno's paradoxes for Bergson's intellectual development. According to Fihman, this began with Bergson's thesis of 1883-85 (entitled The Idea of Place in Aristotle) which focused on Aristotle's rejoinder to Zeno. The paradox of imagining movement as itself made up of immobile fixed points became for Bergson, according to Fihman, the source of his impulse to escape Plato's replacement of a paradoxical time and movement with immobile and eternal Ideas. The significance of cinema for Bergson was that 'just as the arguments of Zeno were at the origin of the Platonic metaphysics of Ideas conceived as immobile forms, the appearance of cinematography should bring with it a new metaphysics, one which will be Bergsonian, that of becoming, of change, of real duration'. Thus Fihman takes cinema as a 'technological actualization of the logical apparatus of the eleatic paradoxes' (65).

 

Fihman gives a wealth of historical background that helps us to understand Bergson better. He juxtaposes Bergson's writing with the experiments of Etienne-Jules Marey, cites an obscure 1914 interview which Bergson granted upon his election to the French Academy, finds Bergsonian echoes in the work of Marcel L'Herbier and Jean Epstein, and explains the reference to the enigmatic 'ecran noir' cited in _Matter and Memory_ to explain Bergson's theory of perception: namely the image produced by the interferential photography of French physicist Gabriel Lippmann in 1891 (70).

 

Fihman also explains a bit of the institutional background of how Deleuze came to understand the bearing Bergson might have on cinema: according to Fihman, he and Claudine Eizykman were working at Vincennes on Bergson and cinema when they were transplanted to the Saint-Denis campus, where they encountered Jean-Francois Lyotard and Deleuze, Deleuze having been already immersed in Bergson and an ardent cinephile.

 

Fihman also brings up a central but much-neglected facet of Deleuze's work, namely the conceptual centrality of the operations within the calculus of differentiation and integration. The logical apparatus of calculus is something of a touchstone for Deleuze, as anyone who's spent a significant amount of time with _Difference and Repetition_ or _The Logic of Sense_ could attest. Indeed, it could be said of Deleuze's project as a whole that he seeks to be the first thinker to make use of the conceptual apparatus developed by modern mathematics (since Leibniz and Spinoza), leaving other philosophers with a logical armature that has not advanced beyond that of geometry and algebra. This is another rapport with Peirce, one on which Deleuze himself makes no remark but which readers of Peirce will have been quick to recognize.

 

III. B. Appropriating Terms: Any-Space-Whatever

 

In 'The 'Any-Space-Whatever' as 'Conceptual Persona'' Reda Bensmaia is at pains to show how Deleuze uses concepts he borrows from others in ways of his own.

 

Anyone who knows something about Peirce and has tried to make out what Deleuze is doing with Peirce in the cinema books has probably recognized this, and Bensmaia's essay will doubtless be helpful to those trying to draw such connections. Bensmaia examines both how Deleuze adopts and adapts the concept of an 'any-space-whatever' ('espace quelconque') developed by the anthropologist Marc Auge, and also how this concept comes to function for Deleuze like, what he later comes to call, a conceptual persona. Bensmaia says less about the latter than the former, which may not be a bad thing, since explaining two unfamiliar concepts in terms of each other is not necessarily advantageous.

 

Bensmaia demonstrates that Deleuze doesn't just work with a concept, he works it over and transforms it, and what Bensmaia demonstrates nimbly is these differences which help to locate Deleuze, to situate him in the context of French thought -- not to make the differences disappear, but rather to make them stand out all the more strongly. Since Auge threatens to become the Next Big Thing on the ever-francophilic American Theory Scene, Bensmaia's discussion will doubtless be welcome. (Not too much Auge has been translated into English, although a few bits have recently appeared in some 1996 issues of _Architectural Digest_.) Since so little of Auge's work widely known, I will take some time to detail what Bensmaia says about Auge, and the present text may thus tell readers whether they wish to discover more.

 

The texts of Auge which Bensmaia discusses are part of his 'anthropology of everyday life': _La Traversee du Luxembourg_, _Un ethnologue dans le metro_, _Domaines et Chateaux_ and _Non-Lieux: Introduction a une anthropologie de la surmodernite_. Auge investigates what form of obligation we encounter in the anonymous non-places of modern urban space: hotel rooms, supermarkets, ATM machines, and various spaces of transition and passage -- like those annoying conveyor belts that drag passengers slowly from one section of an airport to another. (Perhaps I'm the only person who remembers Sartre's once-famous discussion of such forms of public existence in terms of seriality. Has Sartre become so completely unfashionable that people no longer even remember what he said -- even in France?) In any case Auge's argument, as summarized tersely by Bensmaia, is that although we don't 'rest' or 'reside' in these spaces but merely pass through these spaces as if interchangeable, we nevertheless therein enjoy a contractual relation with the world and others symbolized by our train or plane ticket, bank card, or email address, and hence anonymity and identity are oddly drawn close.

 

Auge infers from such spaces a paradox of what he calls 'surmodernite': the French prefix 'sur-' translates literally as 'over-' and the French use this prefix to translate Nietzsche's 'overman' as 'surhomme' where we in English have come to translate the figure as a 'superman'. For Auge this supermodernity or hypermodernity functions as an aggregate effect of three (paradoxical) superabundances: (1) we experience a superabundance of time and history: there are too many events going on and too much news and information about them, and yet (even therefore) we find ourselves unable to make sense of the past and experience the relation of the past to the future in terms of an eternal disappointment (with socialism, with communism, etc.); (2) we experience an increasing sense of the vastness of the spaces we inhabit as these spaces expand and interpenetrate each other, and yet at the same time our urban spaces are increasingly homogenized and increasingly filled-up; (3) we experience a simultaneous excess and deficiency of personal identity such that we have more and more ways of differentiating ourselves from others and identifying ourselves (everyone has a driver's license, passport, bank cards, identity cards of all sorts) while at the same time personal identities become increasingly rigidified and formally interchangeable (everyone has the same cards, the same differentiators).

 

Bensmaia's summary of Auge makes him sound a bit like Lyotard before he became the party animal of all French philosophers: those interested in such things will experience delirious excitement, while those antipathetic to that French mode of theorizing which is at once melancholic and hyperbolic -- a kind of sad sack old Heidegger tripping on the latest rave party drug -- will probably think: 'This I can do without.'

 

The nut of Bensmaia's discussion, however, is to show how the non-place of Auge is transformed by Deleuze (by way of Michel de Certeau) in order to become something closer to the way Carroll's 'Snark' functions in Deleuze's _The Logic of Sense_. This shows the kind of explication one gets at some of the best points in this volume: one part of Deleuze's work is contextualized in terms of others -- but if you don't know anything about the others (yet), the contextualization may not be helpful.

 

Nevertheless Bensmaia writes acutely about the kinds of concepts which Deleuze employs, concepts she calls 'inexact and rigorous'. This seems central to those who would understand how Deleuze works and the status of his writings. Bensmaia shows how the concept of 'any-space-whatever' is inexact because, rather than having a single unique origin in Auge's text, Deleuze also defines the concept in relation to Altman, Lumet, Godard, Snow, and (if that weren't enough), in a more attenuated fashion, in relation to Lawrence, Pasolini, Valery, Spinoza, and Heidegger. Bensmaia urges that certain inner necessities govern the conception and movement of Deleuze's text and then goes on to demonstrate a kind of characteristic reversal in the Deleuzian text (144). Namely, Deleuze describes affect as 'the expressed of a state of things' and as closely tied with the expressive material ('expression' for Deleuze cannot be reduced to signification, in which the bearer is generally a matter of indifference), and he begins to discuss affection-images as certain kind of expressive uses of close-ups. But then he reverses direction and finds that an affection-image can be any kind of image regardless of the scale of framing. Thus Deleuze moves from an expressive close-up (of a face expressing affect) to any-shot-whatever as expressive by means of the concept of the any-space-whatever.

 

Deleuze's particular concern is at first with the representation of anonymous public spaces (train stations in Bresson's _Pickpocket_, the airport in Marker's _La Jetee_, e.g.), but then Deleuze shifts from a represented space to an any-space-whatever redefined on the basis of his own conceptual edifice. Deleuze creates his own concept which does not exactly jibe with Auge:

 

An any-space-whatever *is not an abstract universal*, for all time, in any place: it's a perfectly particular space which has merely lost its homogeneity, that is to say the principle of its numeric relations or the connection amongst its proper parts, so well that the interrelations amongst them may be made in an infinite number of ways (cited at 146; from C1 155).

 

Pages such as these by Bensmaia give the reader a better position from which to approach Deleuze's cinema book and to 'read' it -- where 'reading' here does not mean simply extracting 'abstract concepts' which one might then 'apply', but rather understanding, for example, why the idea of an 'abstract concept' is so far removed from what Deleuze is doing.

 

Bensmaia isn't able to get around to saying much about how the any-space-whatever is a conceptual persona, because this would mean dedicating as many fine pages to the concept of 'conceptual persona' as were written on that of 'any-space-whatever'. Bensmaia's reading concludes by urging that Deleuze's *tour de force* in the cinema books is not in the multiplicity of concepts he brings forth but rather in the way he makes them part of a textual movement which can appear deductive (150). Just how deductive it seems will depend upon the reader. In all events, a footnote referring to another article by Bensmaia will be something that some will want to follow-up: 'Les Transformateurs -- Deleuze ou le cinema comme Automate spiritual' in _Deleuze, Pensare il Cinema_ (Rome: Quaderni di Cinema/Studio, 1993), pp. 89 et seq.

 

III. C. Deleuze and The Event

 

Tom Conley's essay 'The Cinema-Event' is a thoughtful and complex consideration of the key terms 'event', 'spiritual automaton', 'any-space-whatever' and 'ritournelle'. These nine pages are so elegant and compressed that, although they give great pleasure to read, they are not simple to explicate. Conley begins to think about what 'the event' might mean by discussing one of Montagne's essays in which a near-incapacitating horse-riding accident introduces a caesura into the writer's life and consciousness, thus giving rise to Montagne's essayistic memorializing project as a sort of belated echo of the traumatic event. While it seems like 'event' here is being used as a synonym for 'trauma', the discussion pertains as much to the work of Heidegger, Blanchot and Derrida on the 'event', as it does to Deleuze.

 

Conley relates the concept of the event to an ecstatic mode of subjectivity, and he focuses on Deleuze's discussions of the videos and _Film_ of Beckett in order to isolate the kind of event taking place in those texts: namely the 'using-up' of a limited set of possibilities. (I have seen Bellour lecture on these same texts of Deleuze as well.) Conley goes on to relate the concept of the event to Deleuze's _Le Pli: Leibniz et le baroque_ and to Whitehead's _The Concept of Nature_, also helpfully marking out the places in the cinema volumes where the concept of the event is most central.

 

In the end Conley claims that Deleuze's analysis of the deep-focus long shot is betrayed by the example Deleuze offers, the theory thereby becoming itself an 'event'. Conley aims to remedy this by himself discussing the final sequence from Anthony Mann's _Winchester 73_, but this discussion itself is marred not only by its own brevity but by its allegorical tendencies. Conley notes in passing that he thinks the cacti in the scene are phallic, and then he goes on to use the word 'interval' in a sense that is both complexly theoretical on the one hand and banally literal on the other hand: sometimes 'interval' seems to refer to nothing more than the distance between the two feuding, chasing brothers, and at other times it refers to something more ontological. At such points the 'interval' between the film and its reading seem too great to be sustained. Some readers will find the same thing to be true of Conley's use of the word 'event': it yokes together literal and figurative meanings in such a way as blunt its conceptual force. Others, however, will find this same yoking evocative.

 

IV. Overviews

 

A second tier consists of essays which give lengthy and perhaps useful summaries of Deleuze's cinema books, usually with some particular emphasis, but without a precise and illuminating thesis or detailed points of contact in Deleuze's texts. Here I class: De Gaetano (the most useful), Fahle, Grande, Buttner and Ries. These are essays which may have some introductory value, although this value is curtailed by the probable need for some familiarity with Deleuze in order to understand what's being introduced.

 

IV. A. Image vs. World.

 

The most useful of the batch is Roberto De Gaetano's 'Cinematographic Worlds'. In a sense, where Deleuze would say 'image' De Gaetano substitutes the term 'world' ('monde'). In fact, De Gaetano is so fond of the concept of a 'world' that he writes it in everywhere: instead of different genres, he talks about different worlds; instead of different forms, different worlds; instead of different Powers and Qualities, different worlds; instead of different figures -- well, you get the picture. This strikes me as giving a more phenomenological twist to Deleuze than he would really have us do, despite his affinities with a phenomenological mode of thinking from Bergson in one way and Peirce in another. I would say that the weakness of this approach is that it distorts Deleuze and substitutes for a reading an exposition -- albeit an extremely elegant one

 

Strangely, De Gaetano believes that for Deleuze 'Cinema is reality'. While it is true that Deleuze is interested in how we apprehend cinema itself rather than how cinema *represents* something outside of itself -- cinema is not for Deleuze an image in this sense -- to me this does not justify the equation of cinema with 'reality'. It is *a* reality but not *reality* *per se*.

 

Nevertheless, despite De Gaetano's rather puzzling insistence on reading Deleuze in terms of 'worlds' and 'reality', his essay is illuminating. He underlines the way Deleuze conceives of space in cinema in ways that differ gravely from the way space is conceived in American cinema studies. We tend to conceive of cinema as fundamentally representational of a spatiotemporal continuum, which continuum cinema may represent well or poorly, this way or that. But Deleuze opens up ways of conceptualizing cinema not as representing a space and a time that are continuous and without gaps but rather of giving different kinds of images of space and time -- as different as sound and color. By implicitly measuring cinema's images against a determinate conception of a Euclidean space, we read these images in terms of an assumed ground rather than in terms of themselves.

 

De Gaetano points out that instead of various approximations of a single space, Deleuze takes the movement-image to unfold in a Euclidean and 'hodological space' (in Kurt Lewin's terms), while Bresson, neorealism, the New Wave and the New York School unfold in a Riemannian space, Robbe-Grillet in a quantum space, Resnais in probabilistic and topological spaces, and Herzog and Tarkovsky in crystallized spaces. Here one gets a much better sense of what Deleuze means by 'image' and of the difference between Deleuze's way of reading films and the familiar way in which films are measured on the basis of a representational norm. This strikes as so central to understanding Deleuze's work on cinema that although De Gaetano's essay is in many ways a recapitulation, the essay seems extremely useful.

 

IV. B. History Again.

 

In Oliver Fahle's 'Deleuze and the History of Cinema' the author begins by admitting that Deleuze doesn't intend his work as a history of cinema. Nevertheless Fahle wants to ask what historical conceptions are implicit in what Deleuze calls his 'natural history' of certain types of cinematic images. Fahle points to the way early cinema theorists like Bazin and Kracauer sought an essence of cinema and in defining this essence in terms of realism they appealed to the neorealist movement as historical evidence to underwrite an ontology of cinema. Fahle wants to find some kind of historical 'accent' or emphasis of this kind in Deleuze's work, and here the example of neorealism turns out to do double duty, since for Deleuze it's not the end of the line, the telos of cinema finally realized, but rather only the beginning of another direction: towards the time-image. Thus Fahle helps us to see the way Deleuze conceptualizes the history of cinema in terms of a different telos -- a modernist one rather than a realist one. After a detailed discussion of the cinema books which breaks them down into component parts, Fahle draws the reader's attention to the historic break which Deleuze situates around 1960 -- just where it is conventionally located by film historians.

 

I think the value of Fahle's re-framing of Deleuze is to show the way Deleuze's conception of cinema as evolving towards a time-image gives an historical frame which allows one to make a certain sense of the history of cinema, even if the distinction which allows this historical sense to emerge is itself conceptual rather than historical. Nevertheless I think Fahle somewhat distorts the historical dimensions of Deleuze's text, since the division between the two volumes and their two respective kinds of images (movement-image and time-image) is not at all a historical break, as a simple glance at the two tables of contents will demonstrate: if Welles in the second volume can give us a time-image in 1941 with _Citizen Kane_, then clearly the time-image is neither a post-World War II nor a post-1960 phenomenon.

 

Here Bellour's claim that there are no value judgments in Deleuze's cinema books becomes more evidently false: there is no need to comment on any of the films which would still fall under the category of the action-image, conventional films. Only new types of images are considered. This strikes me as a value judgment of sorts -- one that stands in need of revision as more work is done on Deleuze's text and with his concepts. What is _Titanic_ if not a highly conventional film which gives us a time-image?

 

IV. C. Miscellany

 

In Maruizio Grande's 'Non-derived Images', the author discusses realist and anti-realist tendencies in Deleuze's cinema books, but it is ultimately difficult to say what his conclusion is. Early on Grande suggests that for Deleuze the cinema reconstitutes reality as movement and that 'For Deleuze the movement-image is reality ('that which appears')' (285). Yet a few pages later Grande concludes that Deleuze's conception of cinema is 'anti-reproductive and anti-illusionist' (288). Again, I don't think Deleuze's concept of 'image' is tantamount either to 'representation' nor thus to 'reality', and 'that which appears' does not therefore indicate a relation to 'reality' in the traditional sense -- witness Deleuze's remarks on vertigo. (A note at the end of Grande's text indicates that the author died in December 1996 before the essay was published.)

 

Elisabeth Buttner and Marc Ries' essay, 'Deleuze on the Subject of the Nature of the Event in Cinema', sets out to underline the centrality of the concept of the event for Deleuze's cinema books, but I don't think the essay ever quite gets there. The authors bring Deleuze's _Logic of Sense_ and _Difference and Repetition_ to bear on a discussion of the way time is conceived in Deleuze's time-image in order to place the time-image in the context of those earlier works, but I don't think the payoff is that great. Fans of Delphine Seyrig in _L'annee derniere a Marienbad_ and _Muriel_, however, will appreciate the authors' discussion of the actress's voice in the last few pages of the essay. These pages are perhaps more expressive of fandom than analysis, but they may perhaps thereby illuminate one of the guilty secrets of academic film studies -- namely, the proximity of the two.

 

V. How Not To Read a Text

 

Finally, a third tier consists of essays which I would put under the rubric of: How Not To Read. Here the authors make claims which are overly broad, fail to define their terms with precision, make pointless and unjust 'criticisms' of Deleuze's works, or simply give us essays whose relationship to Deleuze's work is too tenuous to be deeply illuminating of Deleuze's work -- and sometimes of much else. Here I would include: Vandenbunder, Raessens, Spielmann, Martin, Engell, and van Malderghem.

 

One particular annoyance to this reader was the presumption of measuring Deleuze's work not against its own goals but against those imposed by the writers. Measuring a work against its own goals, however, assumes some ability to discern what those goals are. Since this is not so easy with Deleuze, for the more attentive and less presumptuous writers in this volume discerning those goals constitutes almost the entire task. The writers described below, however, were not so cautious.

 

V. A. Peirce and Bergson

 

In 'The Deleuze-Peirce Encounter', Andre Vandenbunder aims to examine the semiotics of Deleuze and Peirce. While Deleuze draws on Peirce, it is in a fashion that is so highly idiomatic that I don't think simply drawing points of contact is nearly enough: Bensmaia's essay on the way Deleuze takes up Auge (and others) is emblematic of a careful and precisely analysis of how such 'use' of one writer by another is hardly straightforward. Whether indeed Deleuze can be said to have a 'semiotics' or a conception of the sign is itself in question, as Esquenazi demonstrates eloquently elsewhere in the same volume.

 

But Vandenbunder claims that where Peirce's semiotics is a general theory of signs, Deleuze examines one particular 'language' -- that of cinema. But to assert this is to forget the passage that a large number of other writers in the collection cite, one of the most famous in the cinema books, about the distance between cinema as a subject matter and semiotics as a method (C2, 43-45), a passage which Vandenbunder himself cites but doesn't seem to take to heart. Then in introducing 'Deleuze's semiotic' (a somewhat absurd phrase to describe the works of an author for whom Esquenazi concludes that the very notion of a sign plays an ambivalent role at best) the author turns to Bergson in order to make the extravagant claim that 'The entire semiotics of Deleuze is nothing but a lucid and searching commentary on these pages [the beginning of the first chapter of _Matter and Memory_] and illustrated by some ingenious and profound analyses of films of great cineastes, from Griffith to Godard' (87). It is rather strange to read an analysis of the Peircean aspects of Deleuze's cinema books which then claims that these books are merely a footnote to Bergson illustrated with clever examples; the claim is reductive, off-topic and not very illuminating.

 

Vandenbunder goes on to list in bullet-point fashion some points of contact between Deleuze and Bergson. Deleuze does not deny his rapport with Bergson: he makes it explicit. But a list is not an argument, and Vandenbunder gives us the former rather than the latter. He calls attention to the relations -- multiple, complex, attenuated -- between the concept of the 'sign' and concepts like 'image', 'perception' and 'experience'. But in so doing Vandenbunder collapses everything Deleuze says about the image as if it is the same thing as a sign. This approach lacks precision. The relation between Deleuze and Peirce is significant and needs analysis, but Vandenbunder does not provide it.

 

While Vandenbunder's references to Peirce show a more than glancing acquaintance with that writer, some of remarks give the reader pause about the thoroughness of that acquaintance: Vandenbunder describes the sign's object as 'the world designated' and the interpretant as 'the same world, this time interpreted' (89), which is a strange reading of Peirce to say the least. When the author finally observes, I believe correctly, that Deleuze's work on cinema owes more to Bergson than to Peirce, this makes the author's own elaboration of Peirce's work a questionable goal.

 

Vandenbunder criticizes Deleuze for not being Peircean enough, but this strikes me as rather missing the point, which is to say precisely in what this distance and difference consists.

 

The question of how Peirce and Bergson can have a point of intersection in Deleuze's text is one of the most crucial ones, but it's not one Vandenbunder helps us out with much. Nevertheless, in reading his text it becomes possible to see some potential affinities between American pragmatism in both Jamesian and Peircean varieties and European phenomenology, as in Bergson. Namely, both attempt to think of signs and ideational material in some relation to action. Part of the tension between the two traditions comes in the fact that one aspect of American pragmatism, namely its semiotic formalism, has taken the upper hand in film studies, whereas the holism that can be found in both the pragmatist and phenomenological traditions has not been dominant in film studies. Deleuze's rupture with Peirce's semiotic vocabulary would thus stem precisely from the divergence between a phenomenological account of the sign (present in Peirce but not necessarily central) and a logical account of the sign, which is Peirce's greater concern. Deleuze's concern with an image which is separated from a sensori-motor response -- the rupture between the movement-image and the time-image -- would thus also mark a rupture with Peirce and the point at which an appeal to Bergson becomes necessary. Even if Vandenbunder does not spell this out, his text nevertheless prods the reader to speculations that the text itself cannot provide -- and this in itself is of some use.

 

Finally, Vandenbunder lines up some resemblances between Peirce and Deleuze, all the while admitting that such superficial similarities are not necessarily significant. These are hit and miss. I don't believe Peirce's theory of graphs has much bearing on Deleuze's opsigns and soundsigns. But Vandenbunder is probably right in seeing a connection between Peirce's analyses of continuity, what Peirce called his synechism, and Deleuze's concern with difference. At a certain point, however, Vandenbunder is reduced to reading passages from commentaries on Deleuze by simply replacing the words of the commentary term-for-term with more Peircean terms (95). Is Peirce's 'Germinal Nothing' Deleuze's 'zeroness'? Is Deleuze's 'rhizome' Peirce's 'musement'? These potential 'translations' from one to the other are not without interest, but as posed they are unanswerable. If this kind of paint-by-numbers substitution worked, then it would be no problem to translate Plato into Kant or Kant into Nietzsche by just changing some words. The problem of actually reading begins when one recognizes that pure substitution on a one-for-one basis cannot account for meaning in any significant sense.

 

V. B. Unjust Criticisms and Unfounded Comparisons

 

Other writers make pointless criticisms of Deleuze based on assuming that Deleuze is setting out to do something he never tries to do. In 'Deleuze and Cinematographic Modernity' Joost Raessens sets out to bring the two titular terms into some rapport. This would be easier if Raessens would define the second one, even in a cursory fashion. Though only about six pages long, Raessens' essay tries the reader's patience severely. Apparently Raessens' work tries to discover how philosophy can contribute to the development of the concept of 'cinematographic modernity'. Apparently Deleuze's work plays a large role in Raessens' analysis of this concept. Were Raessens ever to explain what he means by 'cinematographic modernity', this reader might be more sympathetic.

 

Since Raessens is interested in drawing from Deleuze's text a conception of 'cinematographic modernity', he puts a lot of emphasis upon aspects of Deleuze's text which were never intended to have an historical character. While Raessens admits that Deleuze does not equate the difference between the movement-image and the time-image with the difference between classical and modern cinema, *nevertheless* he offers a 'new interpretation of Deleuze, putting in the central not the opposition 'movement-image' versus 'time-image' but the relation between the classic cinematographic image and the modern image' (269). (This is a bit like offering a 'new interpretation' of _Hamlet_ in which Hamlet is understood as Macbeth.) Nevertheless, modern cinema isn't just the time-image, since Raessens believes that cinematographic modernity (again, still undefined) appears under three forms -- the movement-image, the time-image and thought. Thus Raessens for some reason finds value in replacing Deleuze's clear-cut differences with an opposition which itself remains not only undefined but dispersed throughout Deleuze's text. This does not seem advantageous.

 

Raessens also foregrounds the role of differential thinking and the critique of Platonism in Deleuze's cinema books, as do other writers in the volume. Finally, Raessens claims to have identified the political and normative character of Deleuze's book. While I don't doubt the normative aspect, and Deleuze never hides his politics, I don't think Raessens demonstrates this, or even says what he means by it. Instead, the author piles on hypotheses, all of which restate the same observations, observations expressed in terms that are never defined.

 

Raessens refers to some writing on Deleuze which could be of use, perhaps despite the brevity of French footnotes: Leutrat's 'Deux temps, trois mouvements (sur Gilles Deleuze)', _Kaleidoscope, Analyses de films_ (Lyon, 1988); Bensmaia, 'Un philosophe au cinema', _Magazine litteraire_, number 257, 1988; Alain Menil, _L'Ecran du temps_ Paris, 1991. Since the reader of the present essay now has these references in hand, the necessity of slogging through Raessens' six pages has been mercifully obviated.

 

Yvonne Spielmann's 'Digitalization: Time-Image and Space-Image' is one of those tennis racquet/bicycle things: you know, the author says, 'this tennis racquet is useless -- it's missing both wheels, it has no pedals, and the chain's missing'. Ah, well that's because it's not a bicycle. Spielmann complains that Deleuze puts the emphasis on time rather than space: yes, this is exactly what Deleuze sets out to do and then does in an original and compelling fashion. Speilmann somehow believes, however, that Deleuze's avowed purpose represents some kind of shortcoming. Deleuze is then criticized for failing to take account of (522) and omitting (523) Spielmann's interest in space.

 

Spielmann then tries to re-read Welles' use of deep-focus as an emblematic spatial image rather than an emblematic time-image, which is how Deleuze interprets it. There's nothing novel about the way Spielmann thereby reads Welles: indeed, Spielmann seems to enact the error other writers in the volume (like De Gaetano) describe: of taking the representation of space as a base or norm upon which to measure cinema's aesthetic merits. In the process Spielmann brings in writing on _Citizen Kane_ as if Deleuze somehow left these out rather than simply having other interests. Spielmann refers to Jameson's well-known comments on cognitive mapping in order to demonstrate how memory might be thought along spatial rather than temporal lines, but again this exactly denies the interest of Deleuze's approach by negating the temporality of time (to paraphrase Heidegger). The author highlights spatial and space-related concepts, which might be of interest to someone, but a glance through the table of contents would have much the same results. A listing of such terms does not, however, constitute an analysis.

 

Ultimately, Spielmann wants to bring some rapport between a concern with the time-image and new media technologies. I don't find these reflections terribly convincing, but the topic is an emerging one and so this essay may afford some interest to others writing about it.

 

V. C. Leibniz, TV and _Providence_

 

In the domain of the simply not so useful is Jean-Clet Martin's essay 'The Virtual Image, or The Construction of the World'. Martin essentially gives his own reflections on the philosophical thought of Leibniz together with a certain number of references to various texts by Leibniz. The essay conceives of philosophy in a very traditional manner in terms of doubt, and this to me limits its interest. Martin makes gestures towards expounding the way Leibniz's thought is already 'cinematic' or perhaps organized around the notion of the image or of a world, but he makes no systematic links. Martin also makes passing references to information-age developments in computers and cybernetics, but he neither systematically expounds how Leibniz would fit into these concepts nor how Deleuze fits into what he says about Leibniz. This piece may be of some interest to Leibniz scholars, although I think the level of generality makes its interest limited.

 

Last in the volume and also in my estimation are three essays which seem to be what one once would have called an 'application' of the philosopher's thought to a certain text or problem. Lorenz Engell's 'Watching Television with Gilles Deleuze' is not without its charms: it begins with a parody of Proust ('For a long time, I went to bed early') in which the writer imagines himself not only as the addressee but as the subject of the television broadcast. Engell claims he will demonstrate that television's 'electronic image' can be understood in terms of Deleuze's concept of the time-image, thus demonstrating limitations on the way cinema gives a time-image. What follows is mostly an ontological reflection on the nature of the television signal with terms drawn from Deleuze although without precise connections made which would link the discussion to Deleuze's actual text. Engell also refers to McLuhan and Baudrillard, but I do not think any of these observations are either so striking or so specific as to merit being recalled at this moment. The author seems to be guilty of a techno-ontological determinism: the author deduces the essence of television from its technological basis and on the basis of this ontology of television grounds the forms of broadcasting which have historically emerged. Such an approach downplays the contingencies of history: the serial form of television programming is not linked to economic imperatives, nor to the formative influence of radio programming, but rather to the essence of the television signal.

 

Ultimately the comparison of the television signal to the time-image devolves on the way television functions as a sort of memory-machine constructing its own temporal rhythms. Such has already been observed by English-language authors with whom the author does not demonstrate a familiarity -- Cavell, Morris, Mellencamp and Doane, to name only the most obvious. Engell's essay is thus neither terribly convincing or novel on the subject of television, nor terribly illuminating about Deleuze.

 

Olivier van Malderghem's 'The Memory-Image: Alain Resnais' _Providence_' is a 12-page discussion of Resnais' _Providence_. Although this may be of some interest to those who write on Resnais, the essay's summary of the film's plot will be of limited interest to those who have seen the film. Much of what remains is what used to be called 'thematic analysis': it aims to explicate the film's meaning with little attention to the surface structures of the text. Explicit references to Deleuze are few, nor is Deleuze's terminology deployed with any consistency. The author does make some references to the concept of the time-image, and gives a chart which seems to summarize a semantic analysis of the film, but again the references to Deleuze and his thought do not seem to me to be substantive enough to merit close analysis other than by those who want to see what a Deleuzian reading of Resnais might look like when written by someone other than Deleuze.

 

VI. Conclusion

 

While numerous essays in this volume are richly rewarding, they do not really constitute an 'introduction' to Deleuze. Readers familiar with some aspects of Deleuze's work will find the many connections which some of the writers in this volume draw amongst parts of his oeuvre fascinating, and those already adept at reading Deleuze will find much food for thought. It is also possible that those just encountering Deleuze's work on cinema for the first time will find some use for those essays which provide lengthy overviews of the cinema books, since Deleuze's texts are themselves so bristling with detail and complex in argumentation that they may be unapproachable on the first few tries. In this respect some of the less original essays in this volume will be less daunting than Deleuze and may be illuminating enough if one does not substitute them for the original.

 

In all events, a cursory knowledge of French or German would not be sufficient to appreciate the full complexities this volume has to offer.

 

University of California, Los Angeles, USA

 

 

Bibliography

 

Marc Auge, _Domaines et Chateaux_ (Paris: Seuil, 1989).

----- _Un ethnologue dans le metro_ (Paris: Hachette, 1986).

----- _Non-Lieux: Introduction a une anthropologie de la surmodernite_ (Paris: Seuil, 1992).

----- _La Traversee du Luxembourg_ (Paris: Hachette, 1985).

 

Raymond Bellour, _L'analyse du film_ (Paris: Albatros, 1979).

 

Reda Bensmaia, 'Un philosophe au cinema', _Magazine litteraire_, No. 257, 1988.

----- 'Les Transformateurs -- Deleuze ou le cinema comme Automate spiritual', in _Deleuze, Pensare il Cinema_ (Rome: Quaderni di Cinema/Studio, 1993), pp. 89 et seq.

 

Gilles Deleuze, _Difference et Repetition_ (Paris: Presses Universitaire de France, 1968).

----- _L'Image-mouvement_ (Paris: Les Editions de Minuit, 1982).

----- _L'Image-temps_ (Paris: Les Editions de Minuit, 1985).

----- Interview with Jean-Luc Godard, _Cahiers du cinema_, November 1976.

----- 'Lettre a Serge Daney', Preface to Serge Daney, _Cine-Journal_ (Paris: Editions des _Cahiers du cinema_).

----- _Logique du sens_ (Paris: Editions de Minuit, 1969).

----- _Le Pli. Leibniz et le baroque_ (Paris: Editions de Minuit, 1988).

----- _Pourparlers_ (Paris: Editions de Minuit, 1990).

----- _Proust et les signes_ (Paris: Presses Universitaire de France, 1979).

----- _Qu'est-ce que la philosophie_ (Paris: Editions de Minuit, 1991).

 

Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, _L'Anti-Oedipe_ (Paris: Editions de Minuit, 1972).

----- _Mille Plateaux_ (Paris: Editions de Minuit, 1980).

 

Jean-Pierre Esquenazi, _Film, Perception et Memoire_ (Paris: Editions L'Harmattan, 1994).

 

Francois Jost, _L'oeil camera_.

 

J. M. G. Le Clezio, 'L'extra-terrestre', _L'Arc_, no. 45.

 

Jean-Louis Leutrat, 'Deux temps, trois mouvements (sur Gilles Deleuze)', in _Kaleidoscope, Analyses de films_ (Lyon, 1988).

 

Alain Menil, _L'Ecran du temps_ (Paris, 1991).

 

__________________________ 

 

Edward R. O'Neill, 'Apprehending Deleuze Apprehending Cinema',  _Film-Philosophy_, vol. 2 no. 2, January 1998 <http://www.film-philosophy.com/vol2-1998/n2oneill>.

 

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