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The Lumière Galaxy

The Lumière Galaxy: Seven Key Words for the Cinema to Come

Francesco Casetti
Copyright Date: 2015
Pages: 312
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  • Book Info
    The Lumière Galaxy
    Book Description:

    Francesco Casetti believes new media technologies are producing an exciting new era in cinema aesthetics. Whether we experience film in the theater, on our hand-held devices, in galleries and museums, onboard and in flight, or up in the clouds in the bits we download, cinema continues to alter our habits and excite our imaginations.

    Casetti travels from the remote corners of film history and theory to the most surprising sites on the internet and in our cities to prove the ongoing relevance of cinema. He does away with traditional notions of canon, repetition, apparatus, and spectatorship in favor of new keywords, including expansion, relocation, assemblage, and performance. The result is an innovative understanding of cinema's place in our lives and culture, along with a critical sea-change in the study of the art. The more the nature of cinema transforms, the more it discovers its own identity, and Casetti helps readers realize the galaxy of possibilities embedded in the medium.

    eISBN: 978-0-231-53887-9
    Subjects: Film Studies, Sociology, Art & Art History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-xii)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 1-16)

    During the 1982 Cannes Film Festival, Wim Wenders asked several directors to enter the Hotel Martinez’s room 666, sit in front of a movie camera, beside a television monitor, and respond to a series of written questions placed on a table. The questions revolved around one central problem: In the face of the growing weight of other media such as television and confronted with the transformations related to the progressive introduction of electronic technologies, “is cinema a language about to get lost, an art about to die?” The responses varied in tone: Jean-Luc Godard, while casting continual glances toward the...

  5. 1. Relocation
    (pp. 17-42)

    In October 2011, the British artist Tacita Dean presentedFilmat the Turbine Hall of the Tate Modern in London.¹ Dean’s work is a film short, projected in a continuous loop onto a large screen in a dark space furnished with a bench for visitors. The written explanation at the entrance to the room draws attention to the presence of all these elements: “35mm colour and black & white portrait format anamorphic film with hand tinted sequences, mute, continuous loop, 11 minutes. Large front projection; projection booth; free standing screen; loop system; seating.” In her article in theGuardian, Charlotte...

  6. 2. Relics/Icons
    (pp. 43-66)

    The movie theater is already completely full, and a small crowd is pushing and shoving to gain entrance from outside. In the projection booth, Alfredo is working, as usual, with the assistance—or better, in the company—of his young companion, Totò. The projectionist strikes upon an idea: Using mirrors, he intercepts the beam of light coming from the projector that is destined for the screen, and directs it toward the façade of a building in the piazza opposite the theater, so that those who cannot fit inside can watch it too. This is how the film comes to life...

  7. 3. Assemblage
    (pp. 67-98)

    Paris, 1966. Paul and Madeleine go to the movies with their friends Catherine and Elisabeth. The choice of seats takes time—Elisabeth wedges herself into Paul’s seat, forcing him out—but eventually the four settle down. On the screen appears a title card reading: “4X ein sensitiv und rapid film.” It is a foreign film, and Madeleine comments: “Oh, it’s in the original language.” Paul gets up and goes to the restroom, inside of which he finds two men kissing. Before returning to the theater, Paul writes on the door of the toilet, “À bas la république des lâches” (“Down...

  8. 4. Expansion
    (pp. 99-128)

    In 2010 , a work entitledStar Wars Uncutbegan circulating online with increasing popularity. The title is willfully ironic. It is not in fact the original film by George Lucas integrated with cut scenes, but rather a remake based on a fragmentation of the movie. The originalStar Warsfilm was subdivided into fifteen-second segments, and users were asked to reshoot whichever segment they chose, using any possible modality—live actors, cartoon animation, puppets, superimposition of comic-strip thought-bubbles over the photographic image, actors in costume, actors in contemporary street clothes, found footage, parody, literal reenactment, and so on. The...

  9. 5. Hypertopia
    (pp. 129-154)

    On December 19, 2007, an enormous screen was installed in Milan’s Piazza Duomo, billed as the “largest media façade in Europe.” Across its surface appeared without interruption advertisements, live events, film clips, documentaries, and cinematic images. The installation of this megascreen responded to a specific pragmatic need: It concealed the construction work taking place in the Museo del Novecento (Museum of the Twentieth Century), housed in one of the buildings facing the square. Its presence, however, created a sort of competition with other realities situated in the same locality—a conflict at once spatial and symbolic.

    First of all, the...

  10. 6. Display
    (pp. 155-178)

    Mike Figgis’ filmTimecode(2000) recounts ninety-three minutes in the life of a group of people living in Los Angeles. The duration of the movie and of the events it relates coincide: The story is captured in one long take without intervals or cuts. Most surprising is the possibility of following more than one situation simultaneously: The film was shot with four different digital cameras, and all four takes are presented simultaneously, on one screen divided into four sections. Sometimes the plotlines of the various characters intersect with one another more or less haphazardly, and when this happens the camera...

  11. 7. Performance
    (pp. 179-202)

    Anna and Nicole make arrangements to meet each other at the movies. Unexpectedly, they end up at different theaters: Anna to watchVivre sa vie(1962) by Jean Luc Godard, and Nicole to watchThe Adjuster(1991) by Atom Egoyan. Anna contacts Nicole with an SMS from her mobile phone, and Nicole receives the text and responds. In the Godard film that Anna is watching, the protagonist, Nana, has just entered a cinema where Carl Dreyer’sLa passion de Jeanne dArc(1928) is being shown. Another spectator sits next to Nana, more interested in her than in the movie....

  12. 8. The Persistence of Cinema in a Post-Cinematic Age
    (pp. 203-216)

    “Initiation to the Delights of the Cinema” is an extraordinary text written by Antonello Gerbi in 1926.¹ Gerbi describes the cinematic experience in all its aspects, complete with erudite references and great irony. Among the topics under discussion is darkness. We encounter it in the first lines of the essay, as Gerbi follows the cinemagoer who buys a ticket, crosses the foyer, and approaches the velvet curtain draped across the entrance to the darkened theater: “Discreet and alert, [the attendant] opens the jaws of the shadows immediately upon arrival; and he opens them just slightly—I don’t know if it...

  13. Notes
    (pp. 217-264)
  14. Bibliography
    (pp. 265-280)
  15. Index
    (pp. 281-294)
  16. Back Matter
    (pp. 295-298)