【英/待翻译】雅克·朗西埃 – Cinematic Vertigo: Hitchcock to Vertov and Back

The Vertigo Effect, a series of more than 25 films marked, in one way or another, by Alfred Hitchcock’s 1958 classic, commenced last night at BAMBelow, we present Jacques Rancière’s essay on the film from Intervals of Cinemawhich casts back to Vertov’s Man With the Movie Camera to uncover the faultline Hitchcock’s work straddles.

Understanding the art of moving images means first understanding the relation between two movements: the visual unrolling of images specific to cinema; and the deployment and dissipation of semblances more broadly characteristic of the narrative arts. In the western tradition, the second aspect is dominated by the Aristotelian logic of inversion. The plot is a sequence of actions that seems to have a certain meaning and lead towards a certain end. But as the sequence unfolds, expectations are dashed: the alliance of causes produces an entirely different effect from the one anticipated; knowledge becomes ignorance and ignorance knowledge; success changes to disaster or misfortune to happiness. How can the unrolling of moving images be married to that particular logic for unveiling the truth behind appearances? I would like to show that the most perfect synchronization of the two movements includes a fault. And I will attempt to understand the philosophical meaning and political weight of that fault. So I will talk about the relation between vision, movement and truth. And by the same token I will have to talk about the relation between cinema, philosophy, literature and communism.

I will start with an auteur and a film that seem to unite in exemplary fashion the movement of cinematic images and the unveiling of a truth hidden behind appearances. Alfred Hitchcock, better than any other director, used the visual glamour of the moving image to serve plots constructed on the Aristotelian model, a sequence of acts to stimulate and toy with the audience’s expectations. And Vertigo is the pinnacle of that art. To summarize the plot briefly: the hero, Scottie, a former police officer, suffers from acrophobia. An old school friend hires him to shadow his wife, Madeleine, worried that she has become obsessed with her great-grandmother, who committed suicide, and may be tempted to follow her example. Scottie agrees and verifies Madeleine’s fascination with death. When Madeleine leaps into the San Francisco Bay, Scottie saves her from drowning. They spend the next day together, and the two profess their love for each other. But when she leads him into a bell tower, his fear of heights prevents him following her. Stuck on the ground, unable to climb the stairs, he sees her fall to her death. He has a breakdown, and after his release from a sanatorium, he meets a girl, Judy, who strongly resembles Madeleine. He undertakes to fashion her in the dead woman’s image. In the attempt he comes to understand that he has been duped: the woman he had been hired to follow was Judy disguised as Madeleine, and her pseudo-suicide concealed the murder of the real Madeleine by her husband.

At first the deployment of images in the film seems to coincide exactly with the logic of the story. This harmony is summarized from the outset by Saul Bass’s credits, in which a play of abstract spirals weaves a connection between three ovals that enclose suggestive physical features: a pert mouth, a distraught eye, a pretty chignon. The titles give the visual formula of the narrative logic which will bring three vertigos together: Scottie’s acrophobia, the murdering husband’s manipulation to make his wife appear suicidal, and lastly Scottie’s obsessive fascination with the false Madeleine. The whole visual apparatus seems oriented towards playing along with the intrigue at first, then in a second phase playing along with its exposure. In the first part, the mise-en-scène is determined by the capture of a gaze: in the restaurant, Kim Novak’s profile appears for a moment in isolation, cut off from any relation with her surroundings. It is both the profile of a woman inhabiting an ideal world and the cipher of an impenetrable secret. It marks the beginning of the inversion which is to transform the gaze of a detective investigating an obsession into a gaze itself obsessed with its object.  The second part of the film follows an inverted version of the same path. It makes the development of Scottie’s ‘illness’ coincide with his dawning awareness of Madeleine’s simulated ‘illness’: by chasing his own illusion, by fashioning Judy visually in Madeleine’s image, Scottie discovers that Madeleine was only a role played by Judy. The visual obsession followed to the end leads to exposure of the intellectual intrigue.

This conjunction may rightly be considered perfection as an artistic mechanism: the romantic or symbolist story of the man fascinated by an image comes to be subjected exactly to the Aristotelian plot involving peripateia and recognition. Nevertheless that perfection hides a fault. There is good reason Gilles Deleuze found Hitchcockian cinema simultaneously the completion of the moving image system and the index of its crisis. Hitchcock, Deleuze tells us, invented the mental image in cinema. But the mental image means two things: from one angle, an over-image that encloses all the others. Hitchcock fits action images, perception images and affection images into a system of relations that frames and transforms them. But from another angle, the mental image is the image that has escaped from the directed frame of the moving image, evaded the formula of response to a received change with an executed change. For Deleuze, Scottie’s acrophobia in Vertigo and Jeff’s plastered leg in Rear Window symbolize that paralysis of the driving system – crisis of the movement-image leads to revelation of the time-image. The two characters change from active heroes into passive onlookers. In this they anticipate the ruin of the directed movement-image system and the cinematic advent of the contemplative stroll.

Deleuze is a little hasty however in identifying the ‘crisis’ of the action image with the ‘weakness’ that takes the character over to the contemplative side. There are in fact two sorts of ‘passivity’ and their effects are completely different. Scottie’s vertigo is not going to ruin the logic of the moving image. Indeed it is necessary to the success of the murder plot. But there is another sort of passivity too, which while also serving the plot has the potential to overload it: Scottie’s fascination with the character pretending to be fascinated by death. This is what I called the romantic or symbolist story interlaced with the Aristotelian story of the mechanism. The director’s art seeks to adjust them exactly to each other, making the first the instrument of the second. In the first part it is obsession, carefully orchestrated through a constant play of Madeleine’s appearances and disappearances, and through the acceleration and slowing of movement that the manipulation is able to continue. In the second part, it is the character’s mad wish to restore the exact image of the dead woman that leads him to discover the truth. But to describe the events thus is to over-simplify the visual story in the film. There are at least two episodes where the coincidence of the two logics is defective, because they tell us too much: one about the obsession, the other about the scheme.

The first of these occurs at the connecting-point between the two parts. It shows a nightmare Scottie has after Madeleine’s death. In it Hitchcock seems to be recalling the ‘surrealist’ dream composed by Salvador Dalí for Spellbound. The kernel of Scottie’s dream is the ancestress Carlotta’s bouquet of flowers, the one Scottie has seen in her portrait in the museum and which the false Madeleine has continuously recomposed. Here the bouquet explodes into a blizzard of petals before Scottie’s head separates from his body and glides through space towards the cemetery where an open grave awaits him and the Mission belfry where this time it is his own body that crashes onto the roof. The episode arouses a certain discomfort. Perhaps it had not been necessary to go to such lengths to make us aware of Scottie’s mental vertigo? This intensified representation of vertigo is certainly debilitating and reduces it to a bad dream to be forgotten. And what follows in the second part of the film is indeed a story of healing. Scottie will not throw himself off the belfry to join the dead woman. Nor will he imitate the hero of the Boileau-Narcejac novel D’entre les morts from which the film is derived. Instead he kills the false Madeleine when he tries to make her admit she is the real one, the dead woman – or death itself – with whom he is in love. Hitchcock and his scriptwriter have chosen a simpler relationship to the truth: the one that admits the scheme exists. But here we find the second narrative fault at the very moment the audience is discovering the truth. Instead of a single revelation scene there are two. Well before Scottie has understood the scheme by noticing Madeleine’s necklace around Judy’s neck and forcing her to confess, Judy herself has revealed everything to the audience by reliving the scene and writing a confession letter only to tear it up unsent. The sequence spoils the perfection of the plot by explaining the truth instead of letting us discover it with Scottie. And this narrative fault is accentuated by the visual weight of the way the truth is uncovered: by images of the murder we see are returning in Judy’s mind and the letter she writes to Scottie whose contents, moreover, are read by a voice-off – a method that seems a touch passé for a 1958 movie.

In this way the director feels obliged on two occasions, by dint of flashy effects, to break the possession storyline and dissociate the two ‘vertigos’: Machiavellian scheme and morbid fascination. The incongruity of these superfluous episodes becomes clear if we compare the film to the novel. The book only has a single revelation, delivered in the last chapter by Renée, who is the false Madeleine Judy in the film. It clearly favours one logic: fascination. The hero escapes from the role of witness to ‘suicide’; as a result the husband fails to benefit from his crime and dies trying to evade arrest. So the scheme has failed. A single reality is left: the hero’s passion for the dead woman, a passion that drives him to kill the false Madeleine to make her real and join her in death. The novel locates this attraction to death in a well defined context: the hero’s passion and the murder of the real Madeleine take place in the spring of 1940 as if in prelude to the German tanks about to converge on Paris. The discovery and killing of the false Madeleine take place in Marseille during the collapse of Nazism. But the plot of this ‘detective- thriller’ obeys an earlier model and one specific to literature: the story of the fascination with the image and the power lurking behind the image: death, the wish to return to the void. D’entre les morts belongs to a lineage of thrillers belatedly influenced by late nineteenth century literature and its inspiration Schopenhauer: behind the detective-thriller and Aristotelian logic – revelation of the truth dissipating appearances – lies the nihilist logic of illusion as the real truth of existence. Behind the vain insight into trivial schemes, there lies the real one, that of the blind wish to return to the void, to the inorganic. The illusion that inhabits the love-struck advocate of that woman falsely dead is a deeper truth than the secret of the murderous husband’s scheme. That still belongs to the lie of life itself, the lie with which life persuades us that it has a purpose. Truth obliges us to expose that lie to the point of admitting – of acquiescing to – the void. Such is the vertigo into which Boileau and Narcejac’s hero draws the false Madeleine. Everything happens as if the real Madeleine were dragging the woman who has usurped her identity into the abyss. The thriller plot thus recalls that of a late Ibsen play, Rosmersholm. From beyond the grave, Pastor Rosmer’s wife, who has been driven to suicide by the scheming of the underhand Rebecca, drags her husband into the same torrent, along with the woman who has taken her place. ‘Madeleine’s’ jump into the Seine or San Francisco Bay is the heir of that dive into the torrent of Rosmersholm, which itself inherited something from the plunge into the ‘supreme pleasure’ of emptiness sung by Wagner’s dying Isolde. Recognizing the truth behind life’s schemes is identical to recognizing the unconscious mechanism that leads life to destroy itself through its own derisory intrigues.

The nihilism that marked literature in the era of Ibsen, Strindberg and Maupassant, and that was adapted to their own purposes by the authors of thrillers and other so-called minor genres, is rejected by Hitchcock and his sceenwriter. Scottie will be released from his vertigo both literally and figuratively. He will unmask the murder plot and climb the belfry. He will not kill the false Madeleine; she will throw herself into the void. She will not be drawn into Scottie’s illness. She will be punished in a manner appropriate for a culprit. And she will return to nothingness – a fitting end for something that was always an illusion. With Judy’s confession, the director reveals himself as the supreme manipulator who invents illusions and vertigos at will. He will do it even at the cost of weakening the imaginative pull of the story. In The Wrong Man, Hitchcock appears in person at the beginning of the film to tell us what follows is a true story. This time by contrast, the redundant and overloaded episodes of Scottie’s nightmare and Judy’s admission are there to make us understand it is only fiction: the spiral patterns in the opening credits, Scottie’s acrophobia, Madeleine’s chignon, the vertiginous scheme, the plunges into water or the abyss – all arise from the same single manipulatory logic, combining the overall emotion of the plot with the feeling of each shot. This forces him to draw in bold but visually unsatisfactory strokes. Thus, the confession sequence mixes in an improbable fashion the points of view of Scottie, Madeleine and the truth that encloses them. This piece of ‘clumsiness’ reveals the handicap cinema has in relation to literature. As words are only words, they can always correct or alter the semblance they have created. Literature eagerly uses the power it derives from the insubstantiality of words to show the identity between the truth of life and its falseness. Cinema is in the opposite situation. It has the capacity to show everything words can say, to deploy all its visual force, all the power of palpable impression. But all this surplus power has a downside: the art of images struggles to achieve what the art of words can do: subtracting even when adding material. In cinema, an addition remains an addition. So correcting apparent appearances is always a risky operation. Think of John Ford’s The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, made four years after Vertigo. We have seen the bandit fall after the inexperienced lawyer Tom Stoddard fires a shot at him. Later we learn the truth when the same scene is reshot from the other side of the square and we see the bandit was actually shot by the hidden Tom Doniphon. But this truth comes too late: it cannot annul what we have already seen and thus acquires the aspect of an interpolation. In Vertigo, the situation is better because we had not seen what happened at the top of the belfry. Nevertheless the importunate truth presented to the audience cuts across the direct linear deployment of semblances. The film then has to go on about Scottie’s obsessive wish to make Judy the same as Madeleine, and about the false, fabricated character of the obsession. The filmmaker, who so far has been using Scottie’s ‘madness’ to play with the audience, now has to make the audience complicit in the game he is playing with his character.

The terms of the problem are simple enough. Either we accept the ‘literary’ and ‘nihilistic’ law of identity between the deployment of semblances and the pathway to truth; or we reject it as inappropriate to the means available to the art of moving images. Another way then has to be found to ensure homogeneity of the two logics. The surrealist way is to decree sovereignty of the dream over the appearances of real life. But we know what its weakness is: dream images always have to be signaled as dream images with arbitrary combinations of objects in the same shot, or arbitrary ordering of a sequence of shots. Here again, too much richness is damaging: the dream rhetoric destroys the dream. So Hitchcock is reducing surrealism to a functional role in illustrating nightmares. But the character’s nightmare and confusion are declared fictional, shown to be considered products of the director’s artifice. So we get neither the falseness of life nor the reality of the dream. All we have is the machinery of fiction placing the powers of the cinematograph under the control of the old Aristotelian logic of realism. The director introduces himself as the manipulator of manipulation, the well-meaning conjuror who invents and melts simultaneously into a single continuum the wonders of confusing true with false and dissipating that confusion.1

But that gap between literary nihilism and the straightforward faith of cinematic artifice perhaps masks a more complex relationship cinema has with itself. There was a time when cinema believed it was capable of settling, through the new means of the truth machine, the conflict between the old poetic logic of realist schemes and the new literary logic of equivalence between truth and falsehood. There was a time when cinema had set out to deploy a vertigo of the gaze that was neither a fictional expedient nor a life sickness, but an explosion of the energies of a new world. Watching Saul Bass’s opening credits, unfurling those abstract spirals that symbolize the capture of the gaze, on seeing the close-up of James Stewart’s fascinated eye from which the letters spelling the word “Vertigo” and the name “Alfred Hitchcock” emerge onto the screen, one is reminded of another film punctuated by the incessant appearance of an eye and the multiplicity of swirls of which that eye is the witness and recorder. I mean of course Dziga Vertov’s Man with a Movie Camera. While all of Hitchcock’s movies have a signature shot in which we have a glimpse of the director’s characteristic silhouette, in Vertov’s Man with a Movie Camera we see the camera and the cameraman all the time – as a giant perched on the roof of a building for example, or dwarfishly reflected in a beer glass. For Vertov the camera’s and cameraman’s omnipresence represented the presence of the eye recording reality. His cinema asserts a fundamentalist position: rejection of fiction, rejection of the art of storytelling. For Vertov, as for Jean Epstein and many of their contemporaries, cinema is as opposed to stories as truth is to falsehood. The visible is not for them the seat of palpable illusions that truth has to dissipate. It is the place where energies that constitute the truth of a world are made manifest. Hence the dual status of the machine-eye. It appears first as a supreme manipulator carrying everything off into the dance it is organizing. Several times in the course of Vertov’s film, it is seen metaphorically in the form of a conjuror who amazes children by making things appear, disappear and change shape. And in the final episode, which shows an audience watching the film we have seen being made, the camera work is directly identified with a magic trick. We see the camera emerge without assistance from its box, place itself on the tripod and bow to the audience like a conductor, before the crank handle starts turning – by itself – to orchestrate the ballet of overprints and vertiginous connections across all kinds of different movements: dancers’ entrechats, touches on piano and typewriter keys, accelerated gestures of telephone operators pulling and inserting plugs, aircraft in the sky, trams, cars and carriages in the street. And all of this is symbolized by a woman’s face in the centre of a whirling that could be from the machine itself or a fairground roundabout.

Here cinema appears as the magical apparatus operated by an invisible conjuror playing on a universal keyboard. The conjuring filmmaker at first suggests the figure of the demigod engineer, intoxicated with speed and machines, or of the party leader orchestrating the great mobilization of energies to construct the new life. But that mobilization itself has an odd side: apparently it cares little to know what uses are made of those energies, or to distinguish between them by age or function. Work on a cigarette factory production line, the snapping of a shoeshine boy’s rag, labour in the depths of a mine, the mechanism of a cash register, a dressmaker’s stitching, a film editor’s cuts, the treatments in a beauty salon, all caught up in one rhythm. During the same period Eisenstein, with The General Line, was making a point of contrasting the ‘old’ with the ‘new’. He organized the progression from old-time processions to the new machine and forbade his heroine to attend to her appearance. The beauty salon sequences in Man with a Movie Camera blur the separation between old and new, as between truth and semblance. The barouche in which fine ladies parade is liable to be accelerated by the camera to the speed of socialist machines. All movements are equivalent when they can be connected with movements of analogous form and at the same speed. Vertov’s Marxism seems unaware of any opposition between the real motion of productive energies and the semblances of class society and all its spectacles. Even the despised fiction film is redeemed when the figures on the poster are caught in the dance bringing them into communication with the movement of mechanisms, the throwing actions of basketball players or the horses turning on a roundabout. There are no semblances and reality. There is the universal communication of movement, leaving no place for a truth hidden behind appearances nor time for the deadly fascinations of the gaze: the radiant young woman in the beauty institute contrasts not only with Eisenstein’s austere Marfa but also with Judy in the hairdressers’ in Vertigo, persecuted by the crazed eye that wants to make her face coincide with Madeleine’s. What Vertov’s camera suppresses is the delay or interval that makes it possible for the gaze to put a story to a face. It is that interval that provokes Scottie’s obsession with the false Madeleine. And that interval is also the one behind the obsession of the narrator in Proust for Albertine. The swarming Odessa beach filmed by Vertov contrasts not only with the quiet deserted places to which the false Madeleine leads Scottie in the spiral of her trap, but also to the beach at Balbec where the narrator transformed a fleeting apparition into a love object.

The omnipotence of the machine-eye is thus inverted. It is only a transmitter of movement. The working of the camera finds an exact symbol in the telephone exchange where the operators do nothing but insert and remove the jack plugs that complete communications independently of their own will. The ‘conjuring’ sequence when we are shown the camera moving of its own accord then takes on a very different meaning. The machine-eye’s automatism sidelines the imperialism of the gaze along with its servitudes. No need to deploy narrative strategies to remedy the paradoxical defect of the image machine, which is that it shows too much. This machine’s real power is the power to eliminate: it dismisses the couple of the eye that manipulates appearances and the eye in thrall to them. When there is no longer a story to illustrate, the cinematograph is no longer in the service of any scheme. None exist any longer, only movements; and it is itself a privileged movement, the one that connects and synchronizes all movements. The machine-eye achieves naturally what literature had to achieve through artifice: the disappearance of any obvious sign of art in its product. Cinema, by the same token, has no need to link its fate to the assertion of a truth about the falsehood of life. The truth of the movement machine is the equality of all movements. But that equality is not the nihilist equivalence of the manifestations of a blind life. It is the rhythm of unanimous life. It is true that that unanimity was not invented by the cinema. Literature had already sought a remedy for its private nihilism. But for that it had to deny itself, to reduce itself, with Marinetti, Mayakovsky or Cendrars, to a pure accumulation of machine-pistol words that suggest intensities without transmitting them. Painting too, with Boccioni, Severini or Balla, had set out to transcribe the dynamisms of the racing car or popular dance. But it never managed to fragment its surface into enough facets to become equal to the dynamism of all dynamisms. So cinema offered itself as the art that could become what all the others could only dream of, the one capable of adapting to rhythms of the new life. In Vertov the single dance of synchronous dynamisms thus identifies with the communist deployment of all energies. What the machine-eye offers here is not simply an artistic response to literary nihilism. It is also a political response to the secret paradox of Marxist communism, which is hidden by the misleadingly obvious identification between the development of productive energies and the construction of a new society.

This paradox is simply stated: the time when scientific socialism aspired to refute utopian socialism by linking the communist future with the intrinsic development of productive forces was also the time which had broken with theories assigning a purpose to life and giving science the task of understanding that purpose and defining the means to attain it. ‘Life does not seek anything’: that was the nihilistic secret that gnawed away at the more optimistic developments in nineteenth-century science (and scientism). Marxist science covers it up by transforming the absence of goals into a strategy of ends and means: it explains that the march to socialism should accommodate the deployment of productive forces, that it cannot anticipate the development of the process or impose its wishes on the march of events. But behind the idea of science following the movement of life, there lies a more secret knowledge: the destructive presentiment that such movement is going nowhere, that the wish to transform the world is not underwritten by any objective reality. That is why scientific rigour is forced to invert itself, to assert itself as the pure need for the violent act against authority to impose political management on the unending movement of productive life.

It is in relation to this intimate break that deployment of the machine-eye’s movements takes on its political meaning. While driving out nihilism, by celebrating the intoxication of movement and speed, Vertov’s cinematic harmony retains at least one nihilistic principle: the movement of life has no goal or direction as symbolized by the equal consideration given to the workers down the mines and a woman’s beauty treatment; to the machines of modern industry and conjuring tricks. All those movements are equal. Where they come from, where they are going and the purposes they serve – production, play or simulacrum – are of little consequence. They comprise the same eurhythmy of life expressed in the vision the communist Vertov shared with the future Nazi Ruttmann: the symphony of the great city between its laborious early-morning awakening and the pleasures of the evening. So the bust of Marx or the image of Lenin can exude their serenity amid fairground stalls and beer drinkers. The directed movement of socialist construction is bestowed on the symphony of all the movements, in which life states nothing but its claim to equal intensity. Cinema offers itself as the immediate achievement of a communism existing solely in the relationship between all movements and all intensities. The self-dismissal of the eye, always in control or being controlled, to the profit of movement, gives us the formula not only for a new art, but for the immediate realization of a new world. With Vertov, cinema comes up with its own communism: a communism of universal exchange of movements, free from the dilemma between waiting for the right objective conditions and direct intervention. It is this utopia of cinematic communism that subtends the Deleuzian view of Vertov as the director who puts perception into things ‘in such a way that any point in the space discerns for itself all the points on which it acts or which act on it […]’.2  This utopia implies a thoroughly defined idea of the machine. The camera is the machine that places all machines in communication by redeeming them from the imperialism of goals, whether that of the engineers of the new life or that of scheming artists.

The Deleuzian view clearly favours this aspect. But Man with a Movie Camera can be seen in two exactly opposed ways: as the perfect illustration of a technological voluntarism that subjects all reality to the imperialism of a panoptic eye, or as the dismissal of all optical imperialism to the advantage of free communication of movements. The film offers a perfect balance between the two opposite positions. And cinema emerges as the art privileged to unite opposites: the extreme of voluntary alignment of all movements under the control of a centralizing eye, and the extreme of abdicating all intent to the profit of free development of living energies. In this sense cinema is much more than an art; it is the utopia of a modern world that may be naturally communist. But this cinematic communism can also be seen, and has been seen by its critics, as the unresolved tension between the ‘formalistic’ acrobatics of the centralizing eye and ‘pantheistic’ capitulation  to the flux of things as they are.

This idea of cinematic utopia leads us in roundabout fashion back to Hitchcock. Godard provides the detour: the first image in his Histoire(s) du cinéma, the one that sets the meaning and tone of the many episodes to follow, is taken from Hitchcock. It shows us the sneaky gaze of the reporter in Rear Window lurking behind the gaze of his still camera. We know too that Godard dedicated the only monographic episode in Histoire(s) du cinéma to Hitchcock and that it is included in a section entitled ‘Conquest of the Universe’. The auteur of Vertigo here embodies the specific power of cinema discreetly to capture the gaze and the mind. But this is done at the cost of a singular operation: Godard inserts shots of the chignon, of the simulated drowning, of the walk in the sequoia forest or the passionate kiss into a continuum other than that of the film. That continuum is constructed by extracting from the dramatic continuity of Hitchcock’s films a number of objects: railway lines, the flight of an aircraft, the sails of a windmill, a woman brandishing a broom or clutching a handbag, a falling bottle, a man climbing a staircase. In short, he treats Hitchcock’s images as if they were Vertov’s. But the formal analogy underlines the heterogeneity of the components and of the operation itself. The images are no longer atoms of the great dance of the world’s energies, connected by a machine that cuts and splices film. They are dream images slipping over each other, melting together or separating once again in a continuum of digital metamorphosis. Vertov dismissed the attraction of gazes and the fascination of stories. Godard dismantles Hitchcock’s stories to extract fascinating images. And it is with those images of fascination that he tries to construct the history of cinema and that of his century. Two formulae summarize that history. The first speaks to us of the Hollywood dream factory: ‘Communism tired itself out dreaming of factories like that.’ The second carries a diagnosis of the future of cinema borrowed from the critic Michel Mourlet: ‘Cinema substitutes for our gaze a world in accordance with our desires.’ Godard thus links two themes. One concerns the displacement of utopia: the Hollywood dream factory is seen as the fallout or interception of the twentieth-century utopia, that of the new mechanized world. The other concerns the betrayal of cinema: it is presented as having relinquished its vocation as a vision machine relating phenomena to each other to become a glamorous machine in the service of ‘stories’: the ones in Hollywood scripts or the ones put out by destructive dictatorships bent on reshaping peoples. Histoire(s) is thus an enterprise of redemption: Godard’s fragmentation is intended to deliver images and their potential from subjection to stories. By inventing original relationships between films, photographs, paintings, newsreels, music and so on, it retrospectively gives back to cinema its role of revelator and communicator which it had betrayed by enslaving itself to the storytelling industry.

This tale of fall from grace and redemption gives rise to two reflections. Godard touches on a sensitive point by underlining that the forms of fascination put to work by the great Hollywood directors are the fallout or remains of the cinematic utopia. The technical inventions and communication machines celebrated by Vertov’s symphony become, in the work of émigré directors who had experienced Europe at the time of futurism and expressionism, the instruments of a scheme, a maleficent relationship or an obsession: the still camera in Beyond a Reasonable Doubt (Fritz Lang), the tele- phone in The Blue Gardenia (Lang) or Dial M for Murder (Hitchcock), the train in Strangers on a Train (Hitchcock), the aircraft in North by Northwest (Hitchcock). In Vertigo this role is played by the automobile. Apart from some muted traffic noises, Scottie seems to be driving in a state of weightlessness, guided by a gaze that is already elsewhere, being drawn towards the next trap: the portrait, the cemetery, the waters where the simulated suicide took place or the belfry of the real crime. The machine leads to where the gaze allows itself to be drawn by fascination. The movement leads to the traps: the gaze is a principle of illusion. And the San Francisco where the bustle of the main streets fades repeatedly into the silence of a deserted hotel, museum, cemetery or riverbank seems to carry the loss not only of the imaginary Carlotta Valdes but of Vertov’s turbulent and crowded Odessa. But one can draw from it a somewhat different conclusion than Godard’s: Hollywood never achieved the factory that communism had dreamed of. It merely recycled the elements of the communist mechanical dream to the profit of the old art of storytelling. But the fact that this transfer was possible reminds us that an art is never just an art; at the same time it is always a suggested world. And its formal methods are very often the remains of utopias aimed at much more than pleasing its audience, with the very different objective of redistributing the forms of palpable collective experience.

The second reflection concerns the form of redemption operated by Godard. He wants to rescue cinema images from their subjection to the storytelling industry. But to do so he must unite two different ideas of the image: he considers the image to be the icon on which the features of the palpable world in all their uniqueness are directly imprinted; but also he considers the image as the sign which combines to infinity with all the others. Godard wants both the power of the gaze present at the birth of things and that of the machine which dismisses the centrality of the gaze to put everything in communication with everything else. He wants to do a Vertov with icons extracted from Hitchcock, Lang, Eisenstein and Rossellini.  But in doing so, he obscures the tension at the heart of Vertov’s enterprise, between the communication of movement and the centrality of the gaze. In Man with a Movie Camera, both the eyes of the camera and of the cameraman are omnipresent, but that omnipresence is also a continuous self-suppression: to be the instrument of the universal communication of energies, the camera should function blindly, like a telephone exchange. The eye can only connect things if it does not linger on what it sees, if it does not try to look. Godard has to evade that disconnection of the gaze from movement to identify the icon-image from which stories hang and the sign-image that puts everything in relation with everything else. By the same token he seems to evade the ‘communist’ dilemma at the heart of the cinematic tension between the gaze and movement. The dilemma is not technical but philosophical and political. It is the dilemma of sameness between the absolute of the will that overturns the forms of the palpable world and the absolute dismissal of the will to the profit of the energies of a life that does not seek anything. In his enterprise of redemption, Godard obscures the secret divorce that haunts the most accomplished marriage of image with movement. That is why this redemption of the past also announces the end of the history of cinema. The task of a modern cinema, a cinema that has taken the measure of its own historical utopia, would perhaps be to return to the disjunction of the gaze and movement, to re-explore the contradictory powers of the stoppages, delays and disconnections of the gaze.

________________________________
1. This compromise is well illustrated the other way round in a recent film by Monte Hellman, Road to Nowhere. That film, inverting the fictional logic of Vertigo, makes the logic of deployment of semblances truly vertiginous. Road to Nowhere presents itself as the story of a film made about a fraud scandal ending in a double suicide. But the account of the film’s shooting is intercut with sequences the audience attributes to the film being shot, when really they recount the murder plot – involving the production of a false film – that the criminal couple has used to escape by staging their suicide. Late in the shooting of the ‘real film’, the female lead with whom the director has fallen wildly in love is killed by a character who plays adviser on set, who is then killed by the director. The audience is then invited to deduce something never stated or shown as such in the film: that the alleged actress had in fact been complicit in the real crime which had been to usurp the identity of the actress hired by the criminal for the false film and murdered to make the suicide of his partner believable. But no reliable sign enables us to separate out what has ‘really happened’ from the film we see being shot. The reality of the machination and the dream of a director obsessed with a face become inseparable. The relation between reality, fiction and fiction within fiction becomes inscrutable at the cost of making the film an unidentified object to the Hollywood industry or – which boils down to the same thing – the manifesto of a film director excluded from a system based on a balanced relation between the wonder of semblances and the narrative that dissipates them.

2. Gilles Deleuze, L’Image-Mouvement, Editions de Minuit, 1983, p.117.

沙皮狗
沙皮狗http://shengyu.ffmm.com
明德影像主理人,综合媒介创作者

免费订阅明德影像Newsletter

快速获取我们的最新动态,为您准备的文化内容

最新文章

ChatGPT不是一次技术飞跃,而是一场与魔鬼的交易

语言类AI的魔力正在于:人们即使知道它只是一款软件,却仍会移情于它,严肃认真地与它聊天。这也是最危险的地方,因为语言……

《春之祭:第一次世界大战的现代和开端》前言

领略了孚日宁静的乡村、连绵的群山和牧场,还有仪仗队般挺拔的橡树之后,你从梅斯沿3号国道到凡尔登郊外,在离城几公里远的地方,一幕大煞风景的阴郁景象突然映人眼帘

电影私塾 | 生来自由,一个真实的故事

2023年2月4日周六15:30,我们来一起聊一聊《生来自由》背后的故事,以及这部电影所引发的思考,欢迎大家报名参与。

在德国档案馆中追寻「奥斯卡·托德曼」的历史足迹

在追寻托德曼的过程,我意识到还有许多德国传教士、商人、水手、军人、外交官及其家属在东亚留下了历史足迹。

相关文章

更多

中译 | 朗西埃:《中国姑娘》的红 ——戈达尔的政治

《中国姑娘》这部影片里,戈达尔玩了一把政治,我们该怎么理解这种政治?人们的理解,仿佛是随着左派的兴盛和衰落而改变。这部影片刚上映的时候,有人批评它歪曲了激进毛派的真实形象,说它不是如实再现,后来又有人称赞这部影片,说它对1968年5月的事件早有先见之明,它冷静的刻画出资产阶级青年对毛泽东思想的一时迷恋……

【会员】雅克·朗西埃电子资源

仅供明德会员使用,请爱惜资源。 【法】Destino-Das-Imagens The Flesh of Words 词语的血肉 (2004 in Eng. 1998 in french) The Emancipated Spectator 被解放的观众 (2008) Film_Fables_(Talking_Images) with MarginNotes 【文集】...

戈达尔,侯麦,朗西埃的“短语-影像” Godard, Rohmer, and Rancière’s “Phrase-Image”

According to Jacques Rancière, we are in the midst of a seminal aesthetic regime.

中译|雅克·朗西埃|被解放的观众

Translated by 张春艳 英文版阅读地址:the-emancipated-spectator-2009.pdf 延伸阅读:Martin Puchner, Society of the Counter-Spectacle: Debord and the Theatre of the Situationists 我把这次演讲命名为:《被解放的观众》。正如我所理解的,一个标题往往是一次挑战。它预设了:表达产生意义,在分散的术语之间存在联系,这也意味着,在这些乍看上去彼此没有直接联系的观念、问题和理论之间也存在着联系。在某种意义上,这个标题表达了,当马滕·斯潘伯格(Mårten Spångberg)邀请我在贵学院“专题”讲座上发言时,我心中的迷惘。他告诉我,他想要我介绍一下对“观众行为(spectatorship)”的总体思考,因为我的书《无知的学校教师》(Le Maître ignorant,1987)给他留下了深刻的印象。我开始思考,在原因和结果之间到底是何种关系?这个学院将人们卷入到这个由艺术、剧场和表演组成的世界中,让他们今天来一起思考观众行为的问题。无知的学校教师是对约瑟夫·雅克多的非凡理论和奇特命运的思考,作为一位法国教授,他在19世纪初震动了学术界,因为他断言无知者可以教另一个无知者他自己不知道的东西,他反对当时关于教育下层阶级的普遍观点,宣告智力平等并要求智性解放。他的理论在19世纪中叶变得湮没无闻。在1980年代,我认为有必要重新挖掘他的理论,重新打乱关于教育及其政治影响的争论。但是,在当代艺术对话中,一个以德摩斯梯尼 、拉辛和普桑等名字为艺术世界之典范的人能起到什么作用呢? 进一步考虑后,我发觉,雅克多的理论和观看行为的问题之间虽然缺乏明显联系,但是如今二者的距离恰恰是幸运的。它提供了一个机会,即把一个人的思想和理论政治的预设彻底拉开距离,即使在后现代的伪装之下,这些预设依然承托着大部分的有关剧场、表演和观看行为的争论。我有一种感觉:二者的关系是有可能弄清的,只要我们尝试拼合预设之网,而这些预设把观看行为问题放在讨论艺术和政治关系的战略交叉点上,并且尝试概括出更普遍的思考模式,它长久以来一直在构造关于剧场和景观的政治性问题(这里,我是在一种非常普通的意义上来使用这些术语的——包括舞蹈、表演,和所有在观众集体面前由活动肢体表演出来的景观)。 贯穿我们历史的质疑剧场的大量争论和辩论可以追溯到一个简单的矛盾。让我们称它为观者的悖论,一个可能最终要比著名的表演者悖论更关键的悖论,而且它可以被概括为最简化的术语。没有观众就没有剧场(就算只有唯一一个隐藏的观众,如狄德罗的《私生子》中的虚构再现,1757,)。但是,观看行为是个坏东西。成为一个观众意味着在观看景观。而且观看也是个坏东西,原因有两个:首先,观看被认为是认知的对立面。它意味着在面对着一个表象,但却不知道表象的生成条件及其背后的真实。第二,观看被认为是行动的对立面。观看着景观的他或她仍然是在他的座位上静止不动的,缺乏任何干预介入的力量。成为观看者意味着处于消极被动。观众被从认知能力中分离出去,并以同样的方式,被从行动的可能性中分离出去。 从以上分析中可能得出两个相反的结论。第一个是,剧场总的来说是个坏东西,因为它是幻觉和被动性的舞台,不得不被拆除,这样做是为了捍卫它所禁止的东西:知识和行动——认知的行动和引导行动的知识。柏拉图很早以前就得出了这个结论:剧场是无知之人被邀去看受苦之人的地方。舞台上发生的是悲怅感伤(pathos),是一种疾病的表征,即欲望和痛苦的疾病,而这只不过是由知识匮乏引起的主体之自我分裂。剧场的“行动”只不过是一种疾病通过另一种疾病的传播,即认影迷头的经验主义幻觉病。剧场是无知的传播,通过视幻觉这种无知的媒介让人们生病。因此一个好的共同体是一个不允许剧场中介的共同体,它的集体道德直接包含在参与者的生活态度中。 这似乎是这个问题的更合乎逻辑的推论。我们知道,尽管这个并不是最常得出的结论。最通常的结论是以下这种:剧场涉及观看行为而观看行为是个坏东西。我们需要一个新剧场,一个没有观看行为的剧场。我们需要一个剧场,在那里视觉关系——它隐含在观众区中——隶属于另一种关系,而它隐含在戏剧之中。戏剧意味着行动。剧场是行动的的确确通过一些生命体在另一些生命体面前被表演出来的地方。后者也许放弃了他们的权力。但是他们的权力在前者的表演中,在开发它的智慧中,在它传递的能量中被重新激活。真正意义上的剧场一定是以表演的动能为前提的。剧场不得不被拉回到它的本质,它与我们平常所知的剧场相反。我们所要寻求的是一个没有观众的剧场,在那里观众将不再是观众,他们学习东西而不是被图像所虏获,他们将变成一场集体表演中的活跃的参与者,而不是被动的观者。   这个转变可以用两种方式来理解,它们在原则上是对抗性的,尽管在戏剧表演及其合法化中它们总是被混淆。一方面,观众必须从观者的被动中释放出来,观者着迷于他面前的表象并认同舞台上的角色。必须使他面对呈现为某些神秘之物的奇特景观,并要求他研究其中之所以奇怪的原因。他(观众)必须被迫从被动观者的状态切换到科学家的状态,科学家观察现象并且寻找起因。另一方面,观众不得不离开一个纯粹观察者的位置,观察者在遥远景观面前依旧是静止的和无动于衷的。他必须从他的虚假控制(delusive...

中译|雅克·朗西埃|为什么一定要杀掉艾玛・包法利

原题 "Why Emma Bovary Had to Be Killed" 原载 Critical Inquiry 34.2 (Winter 2008) 翻译 nani 来源:豆瓣nani 乍一看,我这题目有点不对劲。你要跟大家讲这个人为什么被杀了,你是说她是被别人杀掉的,是死于他杀。然而现在我这个说法却不符合真实情况。没看过《包法利夫人》的也知道,艾玛的死不是他杀,而是自杀。看过原著的还知道,她服毒之后还留下信说“不要怪任何人”。因此题目好像就该是“为什么艾玛・包法利一定要自杀?”这么问的话,原因很容易找,她自杀是因为还不起债,欠债是因为婚外恋,婚外恋是因为她当修女时爱读风流的小说,后来过的却是别样的生活:她嫁给一个死板的穷医生,住在又偏远又无聊的小镇子。概括起来,她自杀是一连串的原因导致的最终结果,而最根本的原因就是:她太能幻想了,她把文学和生活混为一谈了。当然,这背后还能有更深层的社会原因:教育制度有缺陷,社会将人异化,男性统治社会,等等。这样好像是说,责任全在社会。 所以,我先不管书里的情节,换个问题来问为什么一定要杀掉她,是反对上边这种回答的逻辑,按这种有因必有果的逻辑想下去就等于上纲上线。在我看来,上边这种逻辑把两条因果线短接了,是靠不住的。一条线是小说里的因果,它能自圆其说,没有问题。另一条线是找社会原因,来解释小说为什么一定要这样写。这样就产生一个问题:不管小说怎么结局,归结出的都是同样的社会原因,就算作者让艾玛洗心革面或是还清欠债了,这个社会原因也不会跟着改变。而还有一点,是重点所在,你从小说推理转到社会的,小说外的推理时,无视了这个转换中间的东西。在小说和非小说中间的,是小说本身的创作。这里的问题你不能忽视,要先弄明白:为什么这书要写“社交生活”?书里的角色因看书太多而死去,这是怎么回事?把文学和生活混为一谈又是怎么一回事?把这件事在文学作品里讲出来又意味着什么?简单说,你把这些跟小说的创作紧密相关的问题忽视的话,就不能触及根本上的文学的政治。艾玛的死首先是因为这个叫古斯塔夫・福楼拜的作家要写一本书,来讲一个女人的死。福楼拜的为人众所周知,他不会谈社会问题,也不会管什么道德,他只关心文学,纯粹的文学。这样看来,该问的问题就是:艾玛的死怎么会与纯文学扯上关系?她一死就让文学纯粹了? 很明显,这一层意思已经包含在我的问题里了:为什么一定要杀掉艾玛・包法利? 为了发现问题,我们先要进一步分析艾玛那个所谓的根本性错误:把文学和生活混为一谈。《包法利夫人》应该算是现实主义小说。而现实生活中,很少会有人真把文学生活混为一谈。就算一切皆有可能的小说世界里,这种事也极少见,有也不会多。你肯定能想到堂吉诃德,但事实上堂吉诃德本人也屡次告诉桑丘,他们身处的环境是虚构的。有次桑丘受他吩咐,去找人把信抄到信纸上,带信给杜尔西内娅(堂吉诃德爱慕的公主,其实就是桑丘给他找来的那个养猪女),而他堂吉诃德还得在沙漠里继续搞长征,桑丘就问了:自己要怎么仿造堂吉诃德的签名?堂吉诃德说不用操心:一来杜尔西内娅不认识堂吉诃德的字迹,二来她也不知道堂吉诃德这个人,第三,她也不知道她自己是杜尔西内娅,还有,最主要的是,她不识字。 艾玛・包法利不像堂吉诃德那样自我矛盾。然而,她读抒情诗读到大自然和田园生活的乐趣时,她很清楚田园生活根本没有那么诗情画意,所以她把书扔了。艾玛没有把文学跟生活混为一谈。她是想让文学和生活融为一体。可以这样形容她这个人物:她分不出享受有两种:一种是来自物质商品的物质享受,一种是来自艺术,文学和理想的精神享受。福楼拜用了一对词形容她的待人接物,说她又“感情用事”又“切实际”。这两个词其实并不矛盾,感情用事和切实际的意思是相通的。这个角色既感情用事,又想让艺术和文学的快乐变成现实的,实际的快乐,让其不只供脑子享用,而且能不断提供实际的兴奋。 艾玛的人物形象很贴近19世纪50,60年代,当时,社会的变动就可以用一个词概括:兴奋。在当时的法国,这是随时随处都能见到的一种病症。重病也向社会袭来,它感染了社会秩序和个体行为,它让人们的思想与渴求、欲望与失意永不休止的动荡不安。以前的太平时代里有君权、宗教、贵族政体,社会等级层次分明,一成不变。等级制度把每个群体每个个人都安到合适的位置上,让他们脚下生根一样定在平面上,贫民阶层也心满意足。可惜这种秩序后来被打破了,先是法国大革命,后来是工业革命,再后来是新式的媒体:报纸,平面印刷等等,新媒体让词和图像、梦和欲望从上到下人手可得。社会热闹起来了,个体自由平等了,大家都被卷起这个无底旋涡里,整个社会机体的骚动没有停息也没有目的,这种骚动传染到个体身上就成了那种兴奋。 当时社会上那些“有识之士”就是这么说的。有意思的是,他们还给这种兴奋找了个同义词:民主。这是他们第一次见到民主,其形式就是人民政府,即自由平等的公民组成的政府,其中统治者和被统治者是一伙人,一回事。大家知道,有识之士们曾在法兰西第二共和国时期(1848-51)孤注一掷,他们怕民主无政府状态到来,所以请了个新皇帝骑到了自己头上(译注:指拿破仑上台后恢复帝制),这还不够,他们还说民主没有政治意义,只是个社会现象。他们还把民主偷换概念,说民主政治已经没戏了,但是有一种激进的新民主要造反,它是警察军队也无法镇压的:它就是那无数的渴求和欲望,它已经蔓延到社会每个角落。这套话其实并不新鲜,两千年前柏拉图就这么说过。他说民主并不是一种政治形式,而是那些“崇尚自由”、只顾享乐的雅典人的生活方式。现代版的反民主人士更是添油加醋,说民主是社会群体摆脱控制起来造反,他们想要一切的享受,不只要财富,还要所有能用财富换来的享受,而最要命的是,他们还想要那些财富换不来的享受:情感、价值观、理想、艺术和文学。反民主人士最怕的就是这一点,穷人要是只想有钱还不至于怎样。穷人本该是“切实际”的,但穷人现在对“切实际”的理解不同了。他们想要一切的享受,包括精神享受,他们还想“切实得到”这些精神享受。 看过福楼拜小说的人知道,艾玛・包法利就带了太多这种欲望。她要完美的感情也要身体的激情。她经常在物质跟精神享受之间寻找平衡。有次她把对情人莱昂的感情克制下去后,想找点什么奖励自己,就买了个家具,但她买的不是平常的家具,是个祈祷用的小跪凳。这就是那些“有识之士”所说的民主原理,一般等价性的原理,即人可以把一种欲求换成其它任何欲求。当时有个评论家总结道:“包法利夫人就是一个象征:得不到民主会出现病症,在感知与想像方面过度兴奋。”(注1)凭这条好像就够判她死刑了。但评论家只能审作者,不能来审艾玛这个人物,掌管她死活的是福楼拜。评论家审过一遍作者,作者也审过一遍自己笔下的人物。除了反民主人士定的罪名,这里还有一项罪名,是艾玛对文学犯下的罪,也就是福楼拜让艾玛犯的罪,是他写进艾玛这个人物里的。 福楼拜审的这次大有玄机,因为他是作者,他既审判人物也动手行刑,他还可以说是艾玛的从犯。要理解这其中的奥妙,你得先知道:艾玛对文学犯下了什么罪?罪状就是,她混淆文学和生活,让各种享受都等同了。而她的这些性格特征,这种所谓“民主”式的性格特征,也是作者其人的文学特征,而且说起来,也正是这特征让文学成为新一代的写的艺术。其实这就是文学的意义所在。文学这种新艺术让诗的领域和平庸生活的领域不再界限分明。这种写作的新艺术让各种主题都平等了。在古典美文鼎盛期,诗的领域跟单调乏味的日常生活是截然分开的,有诗意的题材,也有平庸的题材,有诗意的情境,也有平庸的情境,有诗意的表达,也有平庸的表达,如此等等。这两个领域间的界限是很早以前亚里士多德划下的,他说:诗比历史“更有哲理”,因为诗是组织行动的,而历史是讲“生活”的,这生活中的事情一件一件都可有可无。行动“对”生活,这个公式把诗学的分层换算成了社会和政治的分层。后者的逻辑是,有一部分人,是来行动的,这些人献身于宏图伟业,不断追求,面对机遇和厄运作出挑战,另外的人,百姓们,尤其是女人,这些人安于本分,繁衍生命,为上边那些人服务。把诗学的划分跟两种人的划分并到一起的就是一种从上到下的感性的分配,在这种分配失效时,文学出现了。 福楼拜反对亚里士多德的观点,认为题材不分高雅与卑劣,就是说,诗意的事物与平庸的事物之间没有界限,高尚的行动和平庸的生活的两个领域间没有界限。这种话不是空口无凭,它是文学之为文学的原则。福楼拜将其解释为纯粹派艺术(pure Art)的原则。纯粹派艺术是说艺术不一定要用庄严的题材,就是说,没有什么标准来规定什么属于艺术,什么属于非艺术的生活。这样矛盾就来了。按这逻辑,他的艺术的Art用了大写的A,自称一门艺术,但这一派的说法却是已经不分艺术跟非艺术了。因此前边提到的那位文学卫道士才要揭发福楼拜跟他的人物共同犯下的罪。艾玛表现出所有享乐都是“民主上”等价的,福楼拜的写作表现出所有题材都是“民主上”等同的。福楼拜看一切都是平等的,他对自己所有的角色一视同仁,对他们的行为不作评价。该角色的民主式兴奋跟该作者的民主式冷漠就好像是一个硬币的两面,或是一种病的两个亚型。 我的这个看法作者本人肯定不同意。他觉得自己的创作的特点就在于能把非艺术的题材艺术化,因此他也应该知道,在硬币另一面,艾玛也是这么干的。这种文学上的平等不是政治上的民主,而是来自感性的广泛分配,这分配意味着人的属性不分两种,不是说有部分人品行高尚、吟赏风雅,有部分人只能投身“现实生活”。以前的界限模糊了,差别没有了,福楼拜的艺术魅力由此而来,所有人的生活也由此有了新的可能。新的可能之一就是“混淆艺术和生活”。福楼拜可以把农家女的生活写成艺术,就是因为这个农家女把生活当成艺术,在福楼拜的艺术中生活。之前巴尔扎克也处理过同样的问题。他的小说《乡村牧师》(The Country Parson)的主角是文盲废铁商人的女儿,她发现了文学,认识到了理想,因而兴奋不已。巴尔扎克主要是从社会角度来看这个问题的。对巴尔扎克来说,工人阶级的女儿通过读书改变生活,这件事属于民主的疾病,这是民主破坏了原有的生活,让百姓家的儿女偏离了本来的生活轨道。所以他没有杀掉自己的角色,而是让她当了一个杀手的从犯。 福楼拜不管那么多,他只关心他的艺术。他对民主的看法也是来自他对艺术的看法。就是说,新的感性分配让谁都可以有精神享受,随之而来的艺术平等性,在他看来,却必须另当别论。根据福楼拜对艺术的看法,“民主的威胁”就是说,如果说他的艺术的出发点是艺术跟非艺术的生活等同,如果所有人觉得两者相同,那他的艺术还有什么特别?这个出发点可能也会葬送他的艺术,因此必须把这两项等同分开。因此,他要写出一个角色当艺术反动派。他把处理艺术与非艺术间的等价关系的方法分两种,一种艺术的方法,一种非艺术的方法,他让人物去表现那错误的方法。正确的方法,即艺术的方法,就是只在书里写平等,把平等写成一本书。错误的方法,即他的人物的做法,就是在日常生活中追求平等。因此小说人物误入歧途,而作者没有。这样就有了切实际这一说法,艾玛对艺术的看法就是切实际的,她觉得艺术是优越的,是一种特别的生活方式。艺术必须渗透到生活每个角落,就是这一点把切实际和感情用事连在一起。为了理解这点,我们来看书里这段,艾玛在修道院做弥散时的心理描写: “她的生活没有离开过教堂的温暖气氛,没有离开过这些脸色苍白的修女,她们胸前挂着的一串念珠和一个铜十字架,加上圣坛发出的芳香,圣水吐出的清芬,蜡烛射出的光辉,都有一种令人消沉的神秘力量,使她不知不觉地沉醉了。但是她并不听弥撒,只是出神地看着圣书上的蓝边插图。”(注2) 这里边有个关键问题,就是作者和笔下人物之间的区别到底在哪。其实,福楼拜不是批评艾玛做弥撒开小差,他也觉得来自芳香的“神秘力量”和“蓝边插图”是其中关键,是弥撒的真正享受,作为作者,他跟角色做了同一件事,就是逃离事件,逃离这里的宗教仪式,完全沉浸到感觉和情绪中。他在自己的语句里沉醉,就像艾玛在“神秘力量”下沉醉。实际上他看艾玛一生的经历就像艾玛看弥撒一样,是一系列的感觉和图像。所以艾玛在“神秘力量”下沉醉在享受里并没有错,她的错是没有真心的享受这神秘,而是去破坏它。她想给感觉和图像一个实际的样子,让它们停住,变成真正的东西跟人。这就是她的不赦之罪。她于是去把“神秘力量”的要素带到她生活里的场景里,变成她家的家具。这就是福楼拜要写的:艾玛眼里的文学是漂亮的吸墨台,精致的文具盒,她生活里的艺术就是窗户配上考究的窗帘,烛台贴上新花样的剪纸,表链挂上小巧玲珑的装饰品,壁炉上摆上两个碧琉璃大花瓶、象牙针线盒还有镀银的顶针,如此等等。 通过以上这些,这位纯粹派艺术家要告诉我们:跟他的艺术相对立的,就是艾玛的这种病。我们可以给它起个名叫“日常生活的审美化”。这个词当时还没有,但这种看法已经有了。福楼拜给情人路易丝·科莱的信里写的很明白:“一个世纪前有教养的人还不用去关心美术为何物,现在的高雅人士却必须得懂点小雕塑,小音乐,小文学!就连没水平的画也刻板出来,印的到处都是。”(注3)福楼拜指出的问题就是后来阿多诺所说的媚俗(kitsch)。媚俗不是指烂艺术,过时的艺术。泛滥到贫民百姓家里的艺术早就被唯美主义者批判过,但问题不只如此。媚俗其实是说艺术融入了所有人的生活中,变成日常生活的场景和装饰。从这个角度来说,《包法利夫人》就是最早的反媚俗宣言。整本小说就是在划清界限,讲人物怎么跟作者背着干。为了让界限更明显,福楼拜有时甚至引火上身。比如书中这段他嘲笑艾玛的文学品位:“她研究欧仁·苏描写的室内装饰;她读巴尔扎克和乔治·桑的小说,在幻想中寻求个人欲望的满足”(《包》,71页)。要了解家具的流行趋势,当然不一定要读欧仁·苏的小说,但福楼拜为了自己必须得这么写,为了写出艾玛的错误或是病症,就要写她把文学和家具混为一谈。福楼拜跟路易丝・科莱说的话就没那么拐弯抹角,他说文学是种补偿,补偿自己的追求:“身居广厦”,靠在“蜂鸟羽毛沙发”上,品味“天鹅绒地毯、黑檀木椅子还有乌龟壳地板”。(注4) 所以,把艺术放到“真正”的生活中这事就被福楼拜安在一个人物身上并定为死罪,这个人物就代表犯错的艺术家。艾玛的死是文学上的死,她是作为犯错的艺术家而死的,她弄错了艺术中艺术和非艺术的等价关系。艺术不能受生活审美化的影响。带来坏影响的不只是平民百姓,还有后来的那些高雅人士。艾玛的装高雅可能还算普通,三十年后于斯曼写的的小说《逆流》里,有了变本加厉的人物。小说的主人公德埃森特(Des...

阿甘本《电影与历史:论戈达尔》

在我看来,戈达尔作品的一个主要命题关注的是历史和电影之间的本质的、基本的联系。什么样的历史使命本然地属于电影?