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Cartographic Cinema

Tom Conley
Copyright Date: 2007
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 336
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5749/j.ctttv9qt
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  • Book Info
    Cartographic Cinema
    Book Description:

    Maps and movies tell their viewers where they are situated, what they are doing, and, to a strong degree, who they are. In this groundbreaking work, eminent scholar Tom Conley establishes the ideological power of maps in classic, contemporary, and avant-garde cinema to shape the imaginary and mediated relations we hold with the world.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-9598-0
    Subjects: Film Studies

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 1-22)

    Maps appear in most of the movies we see. Even if a film does not display a map as such, by nature it bears an implicit relation with cartography. A map we see in a film may concern locale, if the film is a documentary, or, if it tells a story, an itinerary. It may belong to the places in which a viewer experiences a film. Like an intertitle or a sign that tells us where the film is taking place, what it is doing, or where its characters are going, a map in a movie provides information; it whets...

  5. 1 Icarian Cinema: Paris qui dort
    (pp. 23-39)

    Michel-Etienne Turgot’s great map of Paris, details of which often decorate the walls of hotels and travel agencies, was completed in 1739. Composed of a key map and followed by nineteen folios on which are printed as many detailed views, the sum is an overview of an unreal city. The viewer of this first modern city-view would be looking at agglomerations of buildings and streets around the Île-de-la-Cité and the right and left banks from an altitude of not much more than a kilometer, roughly that of a hot-air balloon or else a perch near the top of the Eiffel...

  6. 2 Jean Renoir: Cartographies in Deep Focus
    (pp. 40-64)

    The viewer ofParis qui dortquickly discerns how the film uses mapping to develop its play on time, motion, and stasis. The film reflects on agencies of control where cinema and cartography are in concert. Viewers of Jean Renoir’s cinema know that the director shares similar views about the power of the medium. His films become venues for extensive study of cartography, space, and subjectivity. Maps appear in them at crucial junctures, often in ways where their presence in one feature calls attention to different and sometimes inverse expression in others. It can be said that with maps the...

  7. 3 Maps and Theaters of Torture: Roma, città aperta
    (pp. 65-82)

    The evidence accumulated in the preceding chapter reconfirms a point obvious to adepts of auteur theory. In one way or another director are auteurs by virtue of cartography found both within each of their films and that runs across many others of their signature. Cartography is not equated with an author’s “vision of the world” or of an oeuvre whose sum would be greater than any or all of its constituent topographies. The auteur merits the name because of a cartographic consciousness seen in maps shown or in shots and montage taken to be deciphered as maps. Such was the...

  8. 4 A Desperate Journey: From Casablanca to Indiana Jones
    (pp. 83-105)

    We have seen that the impact ofRoma, città apertadepends in part upon its affiliation with classical cinema. Upon cursory glance the maps in the antechamber seem to be there as by nature or else by virtue of the realistic effects they bring to the décor. Rossellini’s cinema is generally crafted from classical models that it tends to fracture or sublate into a style and form of its own. To see better how maps figure in the style Bazin affirmed retrospectively, in the postwar years, that had in 1939 “reached what geographers calls the profile of equilibrium of a...

  9. 5 Juvenile Geographies: Les Mistons
    (pp. 106-124)

    In his copiousCosmographie universelle(1575), a work of textual compilation, city-views, and local maps of the world at large, François de Belleforest carefully describes the topography and ancient monuments of southern France. He includes a double-fold image of the Pont du Gard, a great Roman aqueduct that arches over the limpid waters of the River Gard that flows from the Cévennes into the Rhône south of Avignon. On either side abrupt escarpments of rock anchor the bridge that counts three superimposed arcades of six, eleven, and thirty-three rounded arches. A few perpends of the upper cornice are chinked; stones...

  10. 6 Michelin Tendre: Les Amants
    (pp. 125-140)

    The road movie, as shown by the films studied in the name of the desperate journey in the fourth chapter, is a genre made for geography. Certainly the “tender mapping” that Truffaut presents in his first film bears little resemblance to anything an American director would have conceived at the same time. And surely Louis Malle’sLes Amants(1958) would also be an unlikely candidate for inclusion in a gallery of road movies and roadmaps. In a peculiar way that viewers might attribute to French cinematic traditions reaching back to Renoir and, before him, Lumière and other directors who emphasize...

  11. 7 Paris Underground: Les 400 coups
    (pp. 141-155)

    One of the first great maps of the Paris Métro is the “Nouveau Paris monumental: Itinéraire pratique de l’étranger dans Paris [New Monumental Paris: Practical Itinerary for the Foreigner in Paris].” An edition of 1903, published three years after the inauguration of the subway, offers in the same field a bird’s-eye view of the city—set in verdant environs that lead to an undulating horizon under a blue sky that seems to stretch into Normandy and to the English channel on the horizon—and an ichnographic perspective of the streets and boulevards on which are traced, in red ink, bold...

  12. 8 A Roadmap for a Road Movie: Thelma and Louise
    (pp. 156-172)

    We have seen howLes Amantsturns a desperate journey into a tale of tender travel, and howLes 400 coupstells about how children cope with the maps that objectify them. Both films would seem to be at a far remove from Ridley Scott’s cult classic,Thelma and Louise(1991). In this film maps, but not exactly the traditional Rand-McNally motorist’s map, have an engaging and unsettling presence. Road movies quickly remind us thatitinerariaand their maps played crucial roles in the classical past. Soldiers used them for the expansion and defense of the Roman Empire not long...

  13. 9 Cronos, Cosmos, and Polis: La Haine
    (pp. 173-190)

    InThelma and Louisewe have seen that a mapping impulse motivates an industrial cinema that exploits politically and a esthetically viable forms to target a broad and often international public. Even if Ridley Scott is an auteur who maps and plots his films with spatial devices in a manner of his own, his films have a polished and seamless appearance that their maps call into question or, failing that, open onto broader theoretical horizons.Thelma and Louisedraws much from classical and New Wave cinemas and indicates its debt to the legacies that have been the topic of the...

  14. 10 Ptolemy, Gladiator, and Empire
    (pp. 191-206)

    The design of the preceding chapters might resemble Visscher’s planisphere in the roadside motel inThelma and Louise, French cinema of the “old” world residing in the circle to the right and American films of the “new” world in the adjoining circle on the left. For viewers ofThelma and Louiseor ofLa Haine, the geographies taken up in chapters 8 and 9 do not seem to belong to the one world or the other. The traits that signaled their national traditions seemed, if not motley and mixed, at least in a sustained dialogue with one another. In both...

  15. Conclusion
    (pp. 207-214)

    This project began from the impression that films often display maps in their visual field. From there it has been hypothesized that cartography and cinema share many of the same traits. A map, it was shown, requires complex modes of decipherment quite similar to those required for close and exacting making and study of cinema. Reading and seeing, that since the Renaissance have been assumed to be two different modes of intellection, are co-extensive in cinema and cartography. Printed language, topographic representation, relief, perspectival tension, depth of field, and decorative framing of the kind seen on manuscript and printed maps...

  16. Notes
    (pp. 215-240)
  17. Bibliography
    (pp. 241-250)
  18. Filmography
    (pp. 251-254)
  19. Index
    (pp. 255-264)
  20. Back Matter
    (pp. 265-265)