Film, Form and Phantasy: Adrian Stokes and Film Aesthetics (Language, Discourse, Society)
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This book explores the ideas of the neglected English aesthetician and art historian, Adrian Stokes. Stokes's Kleinian-based concepts of carving and modelling are analyzed in relation to film, arguing that they replace the traditional notions of realism and montage in film theory and provide a set of aesthetics which encompasses mainstream and "art" cinema. This Kleinian psychoanalytic approach is applied to the films of Eisenstein, Rossellini, Hitchcock and others.
other important themes in his discussions of his work: first, his understanding of the tradition and his relation to it; second, his interest in and the importance he ascribes to technique and form. In other words, Hitchcock, like Ford, is operating under the concept of art as it relates to film. To practise under a concept does not mean that a person has to use the term ‘art’, nor has he or she to reveal a conscious understanding of their work to match the critic’s. If such was the case, much of
longish stick can be taken for a rifle whilst a short one might be rejected as inadequate. To take a round pebble as a rifle would seem not to fulfil any of the conditions, although a round pebble could stand in as a coin, or a cake and so forth. In Klein’s classic case-study of Dick, something more demanding was asked of the child, that somehow he identified with one toy train, and that he should take another toy train to stand for his father. He was asked, in other words, to pretend. The
‘not so much the detachment of spatial values, but a supreme translation of the successive into spatial effects’. In his discussion of Brancusi, Pound relates mass to an appreciation of the ‘stone as stone’: It is also conceivably more difficult to give .. . formal satisfaction by a singlemass, or let us say to sustain the formal-interest by a single mass, than to excite transient visual interests by more monumental and melodramatic combinations.30 In Brancusi’s case the object was a small, ovoid
it is about a single figure, Antonioni. From Stokes’ remark made in his book The Invitation in Art, we can assume that he had seen much of the director’s work to that point when he was writing in 1965.41 The context for the reference is to some extent enigmatic: Some complain that popular culture is so ‘material’ and overlook the dispiriting ‘spiritual’ reference imputed to man-made materials surrounding us. But aspects of our new metropolitan environment are of considerable and exciting beauty.
have to witness how Antonioni in The Red Desert used the flattening effect of the telephoto lens at the same time as he introduced colour to understand his desire to express space in the most complex way in relation to his subject matter. If Giuliani in The Red Desert is the most desperately neurotic of his women characters, the most cut off from reality and the possibilities of action, then such a flattened space suits Antonioni’s purposes well.43 To return to L’Eclisse, P. Adams Sitney remarks