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Cinematic Journeys

Cinematic Journeys: Film and Movement

Dimitris Eleftheriotis
Copyright Date: 2010
Pages: 216
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  • Book Info
    Cinematic Journeys
    Book Description:

    A study of the themes of travelling and movement of and in films.

    eISBN: 978-0-7486-3313-5
    Subjects: Film Studies

Table of Contents

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

    Cinematic Journeys was borne out of mundane everyday observations. A couple of years ago my daughter got a DVD camera as a Christmas present. Months later I discover on the computer’s hard drive a series of minimovies. One of them is a long shaky moving shot obviously taken from the back window of our car. I recognise the journey as one of our holiday trips. I become fascinated by the continuous tracking shot of the cloudy and moody (it was a Scottish holiday . . .) landscape, it reminds me of the journey yet it is different, familiar but also...

  5. Part I Mobile Vision

    • CHAPTER 1 Movement, vision and subjectivity in the nineteenth century
      (pp. 7-36)

      Based on the extensive and ever expanding scholarship on nineteenth century Western cultural practices and discourses, this chapter will investigate specific articulations of movement, vision and subjectivity. I shall first consider how a linear, incremental and forward movement becomes a metaphor within scientific discourses and political practices of the period before examining specific ‘technologies of vision’ (as evidenced in the railway journey, in the experience of the museum, in flânerie or in the Parisian arcades, for example) and the types of mobile vision that they enable.

      Evaluations of such experiences will also be scrutinised and some of the prominent binaries...

    • CHAPTER 2 Movement in film studies
      (pp. 37-69)

      In the opening paragraph of an essay first published in 1977, David Bordwell points out that

      Camera movement in the cinema is one of the most difficult areas for critical analysis. Seen as an alternative to montage, or as a stylistic fingerprint, or the occasion for reverie, camera movement has usually been considered too elusive to be analyzable.¹

      Frustratingly and in a manner that epitomises the way movement has been treated within film studies, the essay devotes very little time to a detailed consideration of movement. Instead it uses the opportunity to offer an exposition of Bordwell’s cognitivism and for...

    • CHAPTER 3 Movements of exploration, discovery, revelation
      (pp. 70-96)

      This chapter will examine movements of exploration, discovery and revelation, in their foundational relationship with sensibilities engendered in nineteenth-century mobile vision and in their reconfigurations in cinematic narratives, most obviously in travel films. As an analytical aid I will propose two particular axes (activity↔passivity and certainty↔uncertainty) along which cinematic movement and corresponding regimes of modern sensibility can be mapped. The first axis refers to the relationship between the camera and the diegetic body of characters and the second to movement of/in the frame that explores, discovers or reveals. Through close textual consideration of movement in Voyage to Italy (Roberto Rossellini,...

  6. Part II Cinematic Journeys

    • CHAPTER 4 Quests
      (pp. 99-121)

      In this chapter I will concentrate on three recent travel films that in their cinematic journeys and quest narratives mobilise in typically modern ways the full emotive potential of the activity«passivity and certainty«uncertainty axes. In their distinctive and varied textual practices they combine visual explorations of travelled space with investigations of psychological processes of change and transformation. The narrative trajectories of these films place the heroes in situations which test and challenge their certainties, preconceived ideas and beliefs, by setting them in motion through journeys of exploration, discovery and revelation – not only of the world, the land and its inhabitants...

    • CHAPTER 5 Intercepted trajectories
      (pp. 122-141)

      The quests of the heroes of the three films discussed in the previous chapter take them on journeys of exploration, discovery and revelation that also become processes of self-transformation and change. We discussed in detail how the films are informed by a spectrum of peculiarly modern sensibilities activated by mobility in the protagonists’ fundamental relationship with the space that they traverse. The focus of that analysis has been almost exclusively on the explored, discovered, revealed landscape with limited reference to the characters that populate that space. The encounters with such figures are crucially important, however, providing density and depth to...

    • CHAPTER 6 Movement beyond the axes
      (pp. 142-160)

      The intercepted trajectories discussed in the previous chapter place a check on the pleasures of exploration, discovery and revelation that abound in quest narratives. However, the journeys of Zano, Nejat et al. are meaningful in relation to two distinct and competing emotive registers: the pleasures of individual quests and the anxieties glimpsed in the encounters with refugees, exiles, diasporic and nomadic travellers. There is an implied hierarchy between these two types of sensibility which, despite a contextualisation of quests, still creates the possibility of ‘othering’ alternative types of mobility. The relational double framing in Exils offers a clear demonstration of...

  7. Part III Travelling Films

    • CHAPTER 7 Films across borders: Indian films in Greece in the 1950s and 1960s
      (pp. 163-177)

      The second part of this book considered in some detail the specific ways in which cinematic journeys often unfold along the lines of narratives of (self-)transformation in which the unfamiliar and ‘foreign’ environments that heroes are placed in act as catalysts for personal change. This chapter, focusing on a specific case study, will consider the transformations effected upon films themselves in the process of crossing borders that is characteristic of internationally circulating commodities. The examination will continue in the final chapter where subtitles, as a marker of difference, will be used as a way of conceptualising a speculative theoretical category,...

    • CHAPTER 8 Reading subtitles: travelling films meet foreign spectators
      (pp. 178-193)

      The previous chapter pointed out that the journeys of films across borders have potentially destabilising effects that transform the travelling text itself and challenge the (imagined) unity of the ‘host’ community. Thus, the mobility of films as cultural products places them within a dialectics of cultural interaction and exchange and into the relatively new but rapidly developing field in film studies that is variably defined as ‘transnational’, ‘intercultural’ or ‘world’ cinema.¹ The differences between the terms are of course significant but perhaps more important is the observation that the body of films studied under the one or the other title...

  8. Select Bibliography
    (pp. 194-202)
  9. Index
    (pp. 203-208)