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Deleuze and Cinema

Lecturer: Jon Roffe

Originally Taught: Summer School 2011

In 1983, with all but no earlier indication of his interest in film, Deleuze published Cinema 1: The Movement-Image, followed two years later by Cinema 2: The Time-Image, which, taken together, form the most substantial philosophical engagement with cinema yet prosecuted.
The Cinema books remain somewhat enigmatic moments in Deleuze’s already diverse oeuvre, due to their easy mastery of hundreds of films, a variety of philosophical doctrines (above all Henri Bergson's) and a range of other disciplines, including neuroscience and semiotics. Moreover, the reader is confronted with a bewildering elaboration of new concepts, which form the elements of a large scale taxonomy of cinematic images.

The goal of this course is to provide an initial survey of this complex and fascinating landscape. We will work through the main categories of both books, with frequent reference to examples from throughout the history of cinema. In addition, each day a third hour will follow the two hours of lecturing, in which a large portion of a film relevant to the course will be screened.

The Bergsonian framework of the Cinema books: movement, time, light, the sensori-motor schema

Frame, shot and montage: the three basic elements of the cinematic image

Examples will include Kieslowski and Ozu


Cinematic images, compositional signs, genetic signs

Main varieties of the movement-image and their correlative signs: perception-image, affection-image, action-image, relation-image

Examples will include Beckett, Leone and Hitchcock


The double collapse of classic cinema

Four transitional signs: opsigns, sonsigns, mnemosigns and onirosigns
Examples will include Hartley and Minnelli


The direct time image: hyalosigns and chronosigns

Examples will include Resnais, Renoir, Lynch and Welles


Lectosign and noosign
Reasons to believe in this world


Introductory to intermediate. Some familiarity with classic cinema (either academic or amateur) would be helpful, though not obligatory.