Monday, January 11, 2010

As fleeting as the green ray ...

Eric Rohmer (Jean-Marie Maurice Schérer, 1920-2010) has passed away (Dave Kehr in The New York Times.)

"My films, you say, are literary: The things I say could be said in a novel. Yes, but what do I say? My characters' discourse is not necessarily my film's discourse ... What I say, I do not say with words. I do not say it with images either, with all due respect to the partisans of pure cinema ... After all, I do not say, I show. I show people who move and speak. That is all I know how to do, but that is my true subject." - Eric Rohmer, from "Letter to a Critic: Concerting My Moral Tales," in The Taste for Beauty.

"The cinema flashes a whole scene before our eyes, from which we are free to extract one of many possible significations. This is opposed to the other arts, which go from the abstract to the concrete and which, in making this quest for the concrete their goal, hide the fact that they aim not to imitate but to signify. Meaning in film is extracted from appearances, not from an imaginary world of which appearances are only the sign. We can see why reality would be useful here, its necessity coming from the contingency of its introduction into the film: It could not have been, but it can no longer help but be, now that it was. For the first time, along with the power of expression, the document attains the dignity of an art." - from "Such Vanity is Painting," in The Taste for Beauty

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