The Cinema Effect

film-philosophy published a recent review of Sean Cubitt’s The Cinema Effect which made me curious enough to look for further reviews. I just post a few excerpts from different sources as I haven’t read the book yet, but think it sounds very promising for the discourse of those who are concerened on re-thinking the digital interpretation in general and specifically in relation to the analogue.
The Cinema Effect relates towards

… a more digital analysis of the mathematical bases of motion’. For example, Cubitt refers to cinema as a pixellation of reality, dividing the continuum of time into individually imperceptible frames just as a scanner transforms a photograph into individually imperceptible dots. Early one-shot films are the analogue cinematic embodiment of the pixel. Within the filmstrip as well as in the history of film as art, the pixel is followed by the cut: ‘Cutting literally puts an end to the eternal now of the non-identical . . . Terminal (but not final) the cut defines the term and the terms of objection, transforming raw perception into an object for consciousness, establishing the object as a perception of which an ‘I’ is conscious’ (71). Formally, the cut replaces one group of still images with another, while historically it gave audiences their first inkling of film form, in both cases initiating a new trajectory towards an open-ended future. Cubitt refers to this new line of movement as the vector. … (read further at film-philosophy)


In the conclusion, ‘Outré: Mediation and Media Formation,’ Cubitt argues that Deleuze’s ‘time-image,’ which Deleuze renders the essential element of cinema, is merely another ‘effect’ or ‘technique.’ For Cubitt, no ‘technique’ is essentially avant-garde, because any technique can be appropriated as a mere ‘effect’ and thus commodified. Cinema’s failure for Cubitt is its susceptibility to become a mere commodity, and the challenge for cinema in the 21st century, he says, ‘is the struggle for not yet finite, not yet infinite, ecological, human, and technological community’

Cubitt’s book offers a highly intelligent framework for the study of the genealogy of the cinema effect and cinema as effect. The individual analyses are provocative and insightful, and Cubitt succeeds in anchoring his theoretical matrix in the materiality of film history. His book [..] rather than simply providing an argument about the emergence and development of the cinematic apparatus, [..] uses various critical and theoretical languages to create a new typology of film, to show how specific cinematic genres do what they do, and how the cinematic effect has influenced these historical inventions. (from culture machine)

The book will be published as well as paperback at MIT Press this autumn.

further reviews at:
senses of cinema, screening the past and the chutry experiment

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