click to buy 'Cinema 1: The Movement-Image' at Amazon.comIn a description which has gained notoriety among those who engage with his thought, Gilles Deleuze once likened his treatment of the history of philosophy to immaculate conception:

“I imagined myself getting onto the back of an author, and giving him a child, which would be his and which would at the same time be a monster. It is very important that it should be his child, because the author actually had to say everything that I made him say. But it also had to be a monster because it was necessary to go through all kinds of decentrings, slips, break ins, secret emissions.” (Gilles Deleuze, cited in Bergsonism, Hugh Tomlinson and Barbara Habberjam [trans], New York: Zone Books, 1991, p 8.)

Deleuze’s words here resonate particularly effectively with the sustained commentary he makes on Bergson in the two volumes of Cinema dealing with, respectively, the movement-image and the time-image. In these books the “author” is certainly Bergson on the one hand: the areas Deleuze sets up to approach the cinematic image – – movement, image, time, recollection – – are derived from explicit commentaries on Bergson’s own thought in, particularly, Matter and Memory. (translated by Nancy Margaret Paul and W. Scott Palmer, London: George Allen and Unwin, 1911. Matiere et Memoire first published in France 1896.)  But the author equally as figural in the books is the history of cinema itself, where Deleuze’s philosophical interest in Bergson is matched by his cinephilia. In this sense the books present a “child” of both Bergson and cinema: both terms are there in the text as what each figure has “said” as either philosophy or a history of moving images. The books belong to both Bergson and cinema. But it is precisely in this matching that they present a monster: in belonging to both they can only belong to neither and to nowhere, for the “matching” is in effect a radical decentring. Deleuze’s innovation in these books is to throw up ideas which come from cinema but cannot simply go back to it. The issue, then, for film theory is not a straightforward absorbing of the books as a totalising framework with which to interpret films but can only be a struggle precisely to still talk about film – to honour the cinephilic child as well as the difference of its becoming.

Almost every commentary on the Cinema books acknowledges their resistant character of an anomaly. Jean-Jacques Lecercle writes on the “exoticism” of Deleuze’s bringing the fields of philosophy and cinema together: “..[the] books seem to be threatened by two symmetrical pitfalls. They may be frowned upon by professional philosophers as not serious, or not technical enough.and they may be laughed at by specialists of the cinema.” (Jean-Jacques Lecercle, “Berkeley: Bishop or Busby? Deleuze on Cinema”, Thinking Art: Beyond Traditional Aesthetics, Andrew Benjamin and Peter Osborne (ed), London: Institute of Contemporary Arts, 1991, p 193.) David Rodowick adds how readers in both fields lack, in different ways, a frame or frames of reference for judging the concepts and arguments: those specialising in philosophy possess an incomplete knowledge of film history, while those in film theory have limited contexts for comprehending either the history of philosophy which Deleuze engages with, or the specific familiarity with Deleuze’s own writing which he tends to assume. (David Rodowick, Gilles Deleuze’s Time Machine, Durham: Duke UP, 1997) The significant gap between the fields has attracted some attention over the last decade or so, with edited collections like Philosophy and Film appearing under the premise that philosophy, seemingly in general, has its own unique perspective to bring to the exploration of film. The complementary situation described by this premise assumes that “philosophy” can bring rigorous and critical voices to film in order to broaden its horizons while films, in turn, can both raise philosophical issues and provide a means for philosophy to question itself in new ways. (Philosophy and Film, Cynthia Freeland and Thomas Wartenberg (ed), New York: Routledge, 1995, p 1.) In so far as they draw on an existing body of work addressing philosophy and film, the essays in this collection refer to André Bazin and Stanley Cavell, with Deleuze significantly excluded from the index altogether. Despite the claim in the introduction that the meeting of the two fields can broaden film theory because philosophers are generally wary of adopting a specific theoretical vocabulary and applying it, all but five of the essays bring a particular philosophical framework to bear on a particular film or genre.

The ontology of cinema which the Cinema books offer, and Lecercle for one understands them in this sense (“In the end, we realise that the cinema is for Deleuze what poetry is for Heidegger: a privileged aesthetic and philosophical mode of access to the essence of things. Deleuze’s books are his ontology of the cinema, his Bild und Zeit.” Lecercle, p 200-1.), differs by shifting attention away from solutions to problems or questions themselves. Falsity in Deleuze’s thought, and particularly in relation to the time-image, is never measured against a paradigm of correctness, and thereby loses its typical negative identity. The consequence of this for any ontological enquiry is that the notion “ontology” cannot remain intact – even, and especially, at its most fundamental level of the “is.” The “first rule” which Deleuze states in Bergsonism is to apply the test of true and false to problems themselves: we are wrong, he writes, to believe that they only begin with solutions. He cites Bergson: “For a speculative problem is solved as soon as it is properly stated. By that I mean that its solution exists then, although it may remain hidden and, so to speak, covered up: The only thing left to do is to uncover it. But stating the problem is not simply uncovering, it is inventing..Invention gives being to what did not exist; it might never have happened.” (Bergson cited in Deleuze, Bergsonism, p 15.) Accordingly, Deleuze doesn’t use philosophy as a means by which to uncover the solution of what film is; his ontology derives philosophy from cinema by inventing – “giving being” – to a network of terms and images for which a glossary is provided at the end of each volume.

This inventive ontology is set up in open hostility to the structuralist paradigms typically used in film theory as interpretative frames. Deleuze’s criticism of these technical, critical and linguistic methods lies primarily with their reduction of the film image to an utterance. In the cinematic signifier, as such, movement and pure image are passed over – constricted within the static shell of sign. In the preface to The Movement-Image, Deleuze explicitly rejects the very concept of the cinema as language, asserting that: “[t]he cinema seems to us to be a composition of images and of signs, that is, a pre-verbal intelligible content (pure semiotics).What we call cinematographic concepts are therefore the types of images and the signs which correspond to each type. The image of the cinema being, therefore, ‘automatic’ and presented primarily as movement-image, we have considered under what conditions it is specifically defined into different types.” (Deleuze, Cinema 1: The Movement-Image, Hugh Tomlinson and Barbara Habberjam (trans), London: Athlone Press, 1992, p ix.) In this way philosophy is not mapped onto film but film itself gives rise to an invented philosophy of thought and image. In the inventiveness of their approach, the Cinema books appear as material difference in themselves, for they are less a straightforward matching of philosophy and film than a glimpse of philosophy AND film, philosophy + film, philosophy and then film. As the time-image makes clear, any conception of wholeness must, for Deleuze, be conditioned by division: in his thought is reflected the claim he makes of Godard that there is always two, not for the sets but for the conjunction. (Deleuze, Cinema 2: The Time-Image, Hugh Tomlinson and Robert Galeta (trans), London: Athlone Press, 1989, p 180.)

In the AND between philosophy and film, then, it is difference itself which remains intact – the second “solution” which Carroll poses to the question of film’s essence (the possibility of movement) is set up at the beginning of the first volume only to overturn again and again across the books, into perception-image, action-image, affection-image and then further into opsign, recollection-image, crystal-image, etc. By allowing the movement of the cinematic image out of its linguistic restriction as an utterance and into this web of cinematographic concepts, Deleuze avoids the closed set at the level of an approach to film and at the level of his own philosophy. Movement is preserved within the books, which necessarily assumes that their ontology of cinema – their Whole philosophy of film – is neither given nor giveable. (Deleuze, Cinema 1, p 7.)

It is at this point that the problem of film itself inevitably comes up. As mentioned at the beginning, the Cinema books are perhaps most impressive, and certainly most important, for film theory in that they can’t just go back onto the film text as an interpretative tool. Or, more accurately, they can – terms generated by film like the reasoning-image whereby we deduce action from an index of lack – – the train whose arrival we see only from the lights on a woman’s face (Deleuze, ibid. p 161.) – – cannot not always describe the effect when it occurs within a film. What comes from film goes back to film too readily, and thereby with a certain redundance. This very phenomenon points to the wider horizons of Deleuze’s thought. In a recent article on Deleuze’s interest in Bergson, Elizabeth Grosz notes the paradox within feminist politics – and it could be said of any field which aspires to change and innovation – whereby to think the new always entails some commitment to and use of the past and the present. “The terms by which something can be judged new, radical or innovative must involve some repetition, and some recognition of the old, such that this new departs from it. How can the new.be understood except as a departure from what is, and thus in the terms of what is?” (Elizabeth Grosz, “Deleuze’s Bergson: Duration, the Virtual and a Politics of the Future”, Deleuze and Feminist Theory, Claire Colebrook and Ian Buchanan (ed), Edinburgh: Edinburgh UP, 2000, p 214.) As a counterpart to Grosz’s discussion of post-feminism within the context of Deleuze and feminist theory, we can conceive of something like post-“linguistic” film theory to describe the Deleuzian effect within cinema studies. Having been through textual analysis, auteur theory, genericity, historical poetics, psychoanalysis, feminist film theory, etc. we come to Deleuze, which we only find so different in terms of the former paradigms. But what is really disorienting about the Cinema books is that they don’t submit to this paradox – they don’t generate a new that overcomes the problems and oppressions of the old paradigms while still remaining connected to them. For, rather than following predictable transformation along the lines of pragmatism, Grosz notes how Deleuze and Bergson offer a way of recognising how the politics of ‘post-ness’ is always bound up with the questions of time, becoming and futurity. By doing so they offer a way of conceptualising the future in terms most appropriate to its formulation: duration or temporal flow. With regard to the Cinema books this doesn’t mean a directedness towards that which grounds and frames our practical needs and actions but “an orientation to the future, in which we are always out of our element, which we can only approach through anticipation, hope, or wish, where we cannot and do not live, yet to which we are drawn even in spite of ourselves.” (Ibid. p 215-16.)

Despite the first volume having being published for nearly twenty years, film theory hasn’t found a way of absorbing the Cinema books – in a testament to Deleuze’s inventiveness we are still very much “out of our element.” Their relative neglect has meant that, oddly, the moment of futurity appeared in the early 1980s and was passed over – the act of reconstitution by the discipline lying not in actually reifying the philosophy but in a continuation along the linguistic vein, particularly in the area of psychoanalysis and film. Grosz’s lamentation that there is so little work being done in feminist theory on the question of time and futurity and so much being done on time, memory and history can equally be said of film theory. (Ibid. p 217.)

But to get out of this problem, as Deleuze would see it, necessitates an abandoning of the cinematic utterance in so far as it subordinates movement and time – in so far as it closes the open set of the image. But if there is no linguistics of cinema, how are we to mean with it? Tessa Dwyer identifies the problem to lie with translation, suggesting how the description of a film in terms of a Deleuzian trajectory inappropriately assumes a natural and unproblematised passage from the filmic to the theoretical. Translation is posited as an ultimately one-way process. In constructing and collapsing the lines of distinction between actual and virtual, movement and time, action and stasis, Deleuze’s actual effect, Dwyer writes, is “to engage the radically hybrid nature of film theory, identifying it as a discourse of translation that must continually traverse two unlike terms or modes: the filmic and the theoretical.” (Tessa Dwyer, “Straining to Hear (Deleuze), South Atlantic Quarterly 96:3, Summer 1997, p 545.) Again we find ourselves between-two, in the space of the conjunction – translation in the guise of difference. It is relatively feasible to discuss these ideas in the sole realm of philosophy but how, assuming we want to, do we deal with the counterpart of the filmic text? Because for Deleuze, as established, film is not there just to exemplify his philosophy but is the condition of that philosophy. What is more, as Dwyer notes, Deleuze strives to preserve the filmic as an energy which is unfettered by the staticity of the written word; to not allow the authoritative voice of theory to subsume that of film. (Ibid. p 550.)

This attempt necessarily rests on an assumption that film should be seen and heard over and above being read. As such we can situate the distinction of the Cinema books hermeneutically: their investment is no longer in a close textual reading which will yield a symbolic interpretation but in the experience of seeing and hearing itself. Attention effectively shifts from the depth of film to its surface. In this move we can appreciate the disjuncture of the AND between philosophy and film – Deleuze is precisely addressing the nonengagement between the terms of this open set. But the openness of film experience thus described cannot simply lead, as it may reasonably appear, to the ready-made fields of film theory which have taken up either phenomenology or postmodernism (rarely both). The means by which Deleuze avoids this absorption on either count is in his conception of the material nature of the image. In the first chapters of The Movement-Image Deleuze explicitly sets his project up against phenomenology, for in his engagement with Bergson he takes up the thesis that all consciousness is something, and not the Husserlian antithesis that all consciousness is consciousness of something. (Deleuze, Cinema 1 p 56.)

Deleuze’s critique of phenomenology in these books targets its conception of both perception and consciousness. What phenomenology sets up as its norm, he writes, is natural perception, the conditions of which anchor a perceiving subject in the world. Movement, in this schema, is understood not as an intelligible form which can be actualised in a content, but “as a sensible form (Gestalt) which organises the perceptive field as a function of a situated intentional consciousness.” (Ibid. p 57.)

What cinema does, in its representative capacity, is suppress both the anchoring of the subject and the horizon of the world, thereby substituting an implicit knowledge and second intentionality for the conditions of natural perception. The model of cinema cannot be natural perception, and therefore not phenomenology, because the very conditions of perception necessarily contradict this lack of anchorage – within its parameters, movement is still related to poses. The necessary model “would be rather a state of things which would constantly change, a flowing-matter in which no point of anchorage nor centre of reference would be assignable.” (Ibid.)

The very lack of a grounding term in cinema is, for Deleuze, what gives it the chance to get closer to this acentred state of things, and thereby further away from centred perception. “Broadly speaking,” he writes, “this would be the opposite of what phenomenology put forward.” (Ibid. p 58.) His difficulties with the phenomenological conception of both perception and consciousness stem from his theory of the plane of immanence – the infinite set of all images where IMAGE = MOVEMENT. On this plane – the universe as machinic assemblage of movement-images – there exist no privileged positions: everything that appears simply constitutes ‘image’ and acts and reacts on all others. “My body is an image, hence a set of actions and reactions. My eye, my brain, are images, parts of my body. How could my brain contain images since it is one image among others? External images act on me, transmit movement to me, and I return movement: how could images be in my consciousness since I am myself image, that is, movement?” (Ibid.) On the plane the image exists in itself as matter. What this means is the in-itself of the image refuses linguistics (the utterance, the signifier): matter is not something hidden behind the image but constitutes its absolute identity. In this move, perhaps Deleuze’s most important for any visual theory, the whole tradition of understanding consciousness as a beam which draws things out of a native darkness is overturned. In place of the distinction between consciousness and objects of consciousness, Deleuze, following Bergson, asserts how things are luminous by themselves, the image and the thing indistinguishable: “it is not consciousness which is light, it is the set of images, or the light, which is consciousness, immanent to matter.” (Ibid. p 61.)

The shift away from a hermeneutic depth model of the image is clear in this conception of consciousness being on the outside or the surface of things. But the deduction of a postmodernist attitude in the Cinema books on account of this interest cannot easily be made. The “surface” here does refer to a plane where infinite deferral occurs between terms, but these terms – as images – circulate not as empty signifiers but as material, as matter itself. The thing, rescued from language, doesn’t leave a trace on the surface but is there on it, marking a return to the analogic which, as Lecercle suggests, is difficult to reconcile with postmodernism. (Lecercle, p 203-5.)

In describing this idea of cinema as an acentred plane of material images, the movement-image not only philosophically resists being reduced to an interpretative tool, it actually refuses to yield on a functional level. It is relatively straightforward – although, as suggested, somewhat superfluous – to identify its varieties (perception-image, action-image, affection-image) in a text because these form centres by framing the infinite set of images. But the movement-image itself is described in a way which in the theory put forth by Deleuze amounts to tautology (image equals movement) precisely to distinguish it from what it has not yet become. (Deleuze, Cinema 1 p 60.) At this point, then, we can fully appreciate how the project of the books posits an approach to the film text, and not a framework for it. We can point to the occurrence of Deleuzian images, but the gesture can only remain as such: in the books there is no theory “behind” the system which, having come from cinema, has no way – or desire – to explain cinema. Deleuze proves how the purest theory of cinema is necessarily profoundly tautological, and it is this, at base, cinephilic attitude which must carry over to any approach to a text. It is along these lines that Laura Marks’ writing on haptic cinema can present a viably Deleuzian type of film theory. The concept comes from haptic perception, which refers to the combination of tactile, kinaesthetic and proprioceptive functions by which we experience touch. Marks sets haptic visuality against optical visuality in that its looking draws upon senses other than just the eyes or, further, the eyes themselves function like organs of touch. The term functions as a critique of the mastering capacity of optical vision which assumes a distance between the viewer and the image. Marks traces the ascendancy of optics to a general shift towards an ideal of abstraction in late Roman works of art, where the rise of abstract space made it possible for the viewer to recognise figures not as concrete elements on a surface but as figures in space. (Laura Marks, “Video haptics and erotics”, Screen 39:4, Winter 1998, p 335.)

In the move away from a tactile and present image, the viewer had to identify the image in the sense of imaginatively projecting themselves onto it and “making it up.” It is this sense of “identification”, of course, which linguistic film theory relies so heavily upon in its framework of subject and object. What haptic cinema offers, in contrast, is less an identification with a figure on screen than a bodily relationship between the viewer and the image: “Thus it is not proper to speak of the object of a haptic look so much as to speak of a dynamic subjectivity between looker and image.” (Ibid. p 332.)

Given that Marks’ interest is in the video image, much of this dynamism between screen and viewer is contingent upon the quality of the image itself. It is through video’s lesser capacity to approximate the detail of human vision, and therefore its production of a grainier and less complete image than film, that the viewer is quite literally required to engage with the traces of the image and participate in the production of the cinematic experience. It first seems that film would need to imitate this grainy quality to achieve haptic intersubjectivity. Another problem which arises between Deleuze and Marks is the centrality of bodily perception for haptic cinema. As we have already seen with phenomenology, the privileging of a position of centred or natural perception is problematic for Deleuze, who understands the body to reify movement by replacing it with either a subject to carry it out or an object to submit to it. (Deleuze, Cinema 1 p 60.)

On the plane of immanence, perception, strictly speaking, is on the outside, for the luminous set of movement-images is not for anyone and not addressed to anyone: it is an Appearing in which there is “not even an eye.” (Ibid. p 59.) However, Deleuze shares an interest with haptic cinema in overcoming the mastery of perception, and hence in the haptic preservation of movement we can see the two achieve a certain coalescence. Marks notes how haptic cinema puts the cinema’s illusion of representing reality into question by pushing the viewer’s look back to the surface of the image where it is engulfed by a flow of tactile impressions. The viewer doesn’t search to fixate on an object and freeze it with their gaze but engages a more plastic look which is inclined to move rather than to focus. (Marks, p 338.) In the preservation of movement at the level of the look as well as the image, objects are not mastered but simply there, present. By encouraging this look which moves on the surface plane of the screen, haptic cinema induces a kind of visual agnosia whereby, although the basic visual functions of acuity, colour and motion are preserved, the viewer can’t recognise the object before their eyes. Natural perception is hindered insofar as a defect in its apprehension of form is simulated. (Bryan Kolb and Ian Whishaw, Fundamentals of Human Neuropsychology, New York: W.H Freeman and Company, 1996, p 257-9.)

Although most obviously engaged when the image presents a particular tactility through technical means, haptic visuality can also be evoked by cinema in other ways. In this sense too haptic cinema bears a certain resemblance to Deleuze, for it offers merely an approach: the haptic is not something locatable within the text but lies with its inspiration of a particular type of seeing. Leos Carax’s 1986 film Mauvais Sang (The Night is Young) provokes haptic visuality extremely powerfully in sequences lacking any pixellated techniques. The effect instead occurs like the description which Marks’ essay opens with, where she describes a moment in Sadie Benning’s video It Wasn’t Love (1992) where Benning sucks her thumb inches away from the camera: “..watching the tape feels like going on a journey into states of erotic being: the longing for intimacy with another, the painful and arousing awareness that she is so close to me yet distinct; being drawn into a rapport with the other where I lose the sense of my own boundaries; and the uncanny loss of proportion in which big things slip beyond the horizon of my awareness while small events are arenas for a universe of feeling.” (Marks, p 331.) The eroticism which Marks links to haptics through this intersubjective relationship of viewer and screen has a peculiar resonance in Mauvais Sang, where it seems to seep from the physical tension of the disallowed intimacy between the characters of Alex (Denis Lavant) and Anna (Juliette Binoche) into the viewer’s own experience. In the absence of their own touch they perform the experience of being agonisingly close yet distinct, and this results in the viewer’s own acute awareness of their rapport as an awareness of tactility. The impressions of the film are overwhelmingly felt: the burning hot concrete under Anna’s feet, the drag of the razor over Alex’s face as he shaves, the way he covers Lise’s (Julie Delpy) eyes as she walks back to back with him through the forest, the enormity of space in the parachuting sequence, the sensation of Anna blowing her fringe off her face in the heat, the pockmarked texture of the skin on Alex’s face, Lise’s hand pressed against the door of the train which Alex jumps onto.

By a peculiar phenomenon these instances become haptic not by being obscured technically, by being incomplete and thereby unavailable, but by being hyper visible. There is a shot in a montage of images around the middle of the film where the camera frames a single strand of hair in close-up, caught by the light. The extraordinary affectivity of this shot comes precisely from the way it is not video: its detail exploits film’s closeness to human vision to the point where the image seems to exceed the purely filmic and overturn into something else, something which is beyond the reach of mere object and is purely itself. In a sense, agnosia does exist at this level, as an analogic shock: the shock of seeing on film what you don’t expect to. In such a moment can be felt the effect of cinephilia as a surprise at cinema which goes no further than this. Mauvais Sang is full of this: in the arousing banality of its affect one does lose all sense of boundaries and become quite lost in a yearning rapport with the image. Yet it is the punctuating effect of these instances, beyond the effect itself, which can perhaps bring haptic cinema closest to Deleuze. Tessa Dwyer suggests that a possible approach to the Cinema books could be to look not at what they say but at what they do, the movement they intend to effect in and of themselves. (Dwyer, p 551.) Approaching the books as Deleuze suggests we do the image, at the level of surface and not hermeneutic depth, she traces a circuitous movement by which a chapter in The Time-Image finishes where it began. What Mauvais Sang can show is the extent to which this circuit exists across the two volumes themselves. For what occurs in the film is constant movement between optical visuality, where we follow the figures of the image and the exhortation of the narrative, and haptic visuality, where we engage with the image synaesthetically. With this conception of the two types, we can match them quite closely to two terms from, respectively The Movement-Image and The Time-Image: action-image and opsign.

On the one hand we can loosely trace the ‘SAS’ (Situation, Action, [Modified] Situation) form of the action-image through the film: Alex enters into the criminal milieu of Jean (Hans Meyers) and Marc (Michel Piccoli) wanting to change his life, engages in a “duel” of sorts with them in being trusted with the burglary job and emerges from this a modified character in an altered situation, albeit negatively on both counts. Along this line we can approach the impressions of the horsemeat shop and its surrounds as synsigns: the burning concrete underfoot expresses power qualities actualised in this ambiguous milieu, for instance. (Deleuze, Cinema 1 p 142.) But on the other hand, of course, we can read the tactile impressions of the film as instances which, if not visibly, at least figuratively, cloud the action. In this sense they posit opsigns, images which break the sensory-motor schema by no longer extending into action. (Deleuze, Cinema 2 p 18.) But what seems emphasised by Carax is the circuitous relationship of the two sets: optic and haptic, action and opsign. The pure optical and sound situations we pick up as tactility don’t exist in a solely experimental vacuum but extend directly from the action: we witness the ruin of action. The long sequence of the night where Anna sleeps across the street at the hotel begins with an action framework securely linking character to character and character to place: Marc is sleeping across the bed, Anna doesn’t want to use Alex’s bed because of the peeping tom. But the magnitude of the solution of merely crossing the street is played out over the whole sequence. The space of the street – an any-space-whatever – becomes an arena where action loosens into the very movement of crossing – – the poignantly erotic contact where Alex carries Anna – – and then disintegrates altogether into just movement as Alex runs down the street to the David Bowie song, lurches along in imitation of the child’s movement, overturns the car, engages in the deft, heavy motions of shadowboxing. Then, the next morning, the sequence regains its footing in action: Anna returns from across the street to confront Alex shaving, and the tactility of their look, thick with the night before, in turn falters with her innocent question, “Have you seen Marc?”, and a return to the milieu.

By constantly circling like this, Mauvais Sang plays out the movement preserved within Deleuze’s two part Cinema itself: enacting the motion by which one image continuously overturns into the next, it recognises the impossibility of one term sticking and explicating in any representative degree. The analysis which Dwyer carries out on chapter 7 of The Time-Image, noting the way it comes full circle, can equally apply to the path just traced through Carax’s film. For we began by looking at its evocation of haptic visuality as a means of preserving motion within both the image and the viewer’s gaze, and therefore in the intersubjective space between the two of them. This functions not so much as the identification of a movement-image as such but as an exploration of how its reification into varieties of action can be slowed and distorted. The next step was to suggest the occurrence of this reification into the action-image proper, and thereby draw out the practical blurriness of the terms synsign and opsign at certain points within the film text. Then we moved into an identification of the opsign with haptic visuality, a point Deleuze himself alludes to early in The Time-Image. (Writing on Pickpocket, Deleuze claims: “..from that moment, it is the whole eye which doubles its optical function by a specifically “grabbing” (haptique) one, if we follow Riegl’s formula for indicating a touching which is specific to the gaze.” Cinema 2 p 13. Marks notes this occurrence in her essay.) But by this point, and here we follow Dwyer exactly, we are not at an end-point, a farthest extreme from the plane of immanence – a beyond movement – but, precisely, right back at the movement-image itself. (Dwyer, p 552.) What we learn is that, again tautologically, the movement-image can only manifest as opsign – the terms which come from cinema can only point to each other, to themselves and thereby to cinema itself. It is in this phenomenon by which the smallest circuit of the books actually spans their apparently extreme poles that we find the radical effect of Deleuze’s venture into philosophy and film. For, in engaging the AND between the terms, what Deleuze effectively reveals, as Lecercle has already noted, is the fact that there is no serious difference between cinema and philosophy. (Lecercle, p 204.) The stammering in the languages of both film and philosophy which the Cinema books present – the “child” – is a monstrous system in its inability to move beyond itself, yet, in this smallest circuit, to contain also the broadest circuit between the terms: its AND is finally a flow – monstrosity as cinephilia as philosophy..

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About The Author

Claire Perkins is a PhD candidate in the Centre for Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies at Monash University, Melbourne. Her research covers contemporary American commercial-independent production.

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