Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Film Analysis from Point Zero, Part 1

(first a preface, which ended up being longer than the entry itself...)

This entry, the first of three, is a reflection on an ideal starting point when analyzing film, literature, culture, etc. These entries in a sense present nothing new -- one of my favorite lit. professors as an undergrad proposed, as I remember it at least, that it doesn't necessarily matter whether or not one likes a work of fiction, what matters is that one uses a fictional text to respond to the questions that the text itself asks -- rather than, conversely, imposing one's ideology onto the text. (An ideological imposition onto/response to a text could look like this: "I don't like film x because it does not conform to my preconceived/learned/inherited understanding of reality.")

What I am basically attempting is to respond to texts on their own terms. In addition, I've been thinking about Charles Seife's Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea and Slavoj Žižek’s ideas in Less Than Nothing.

So, these entries on Point Zero are probably works of fiction more than anything -- for, just as others have concluded, Terry Eagleton has nicely negated the possibility of a non-ideological reading of a text in Literary Theory. Starting an analysis from Point Zero is impossible. I guess that's what I like about it.

My desire is to meditate on this fraction of a second, or series of fractions of seconds, that occur at the initiation of a writing about/response to cinema. I'm interested in these two questions: Isn't a response to cinema a work of creativity, just as the film itself is a work of creativity? And from what starting point does one's response emerge?

-- -- -- -- -- --

My (hope is that my) film analyses start at position zero: emptiness, nothing, absence, invisibility, no-expectation.

Film analysis from point zero emerges from a place of no-substance, no-place, from a darkened theater or living room -- like the forest in Canto I of Dante's Inferno which is no-forest, no-geographical location, a metaphysical space -- when the electric shadows and sound waves begin, each cinematic artifact registers an affect, emotional, or intellectual response that connects one attuned (the viewer at status zero) to a visual environment ...

... the visual environment of the film is a series of ones (1's) and zeros (0's)... as in The Matrix, a reality comprised of zeros and ones. Each number greater than one a combination of ones rather than individual numbers in their own right ... all we are/have is ones and zeroes ...

From position zero, creation begins, both in terms of the production (out of nothing) of a film, and in terms of film analysis (out of nothing) -- the end result is a new entity, a new series of ones out of zero. Ex nihilo.

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