Are there any films left which can be called ‘one hundred per cent film’? Or photographs which can be described exclusively in terms of photography? Have there ever been any?
Even in Hitchcock’s films - cinema in optima forma - there are moments in which the medium comments on itself, or in which another medium takes over the message or becomes its secret nucleus. As in Vertigo for example, in which the mystery seems to be concentrated in a painting of a woman. Or as the little painting in Psycho, in which we fleetingly see the bathing Suzanne and the old man, comments on Anthony Perkins' voyeurism: he peers through a peephole behind the painting at the woman who is just about to begin taking her famous, fatal shower.
It should be easy to draw up a splendid inventory of the rdationship between film and the exhibition of art. Raymond Bellour presented the first sketch of such an anthology on January 2gth, a project which he’s working on in collaboration with Witte de With, the new art center in Rotterdam. The idea is to make a sort of preliminary, open inventory of the various possible ways in which the camera and the body and expression of a character can be situated with respect to the various forms of the collective exhibition of objects.
Various well-known film fragments were passed in review: the opening of the wax museum in The Mystery of the War Museum by Michael Curtiz; the tour of a museum of sculpture in Rosselini's Viaggio in Italia, in which Ingrid Bergman is menacingly surrounded by the sculptures' penetrating gazes; the hilarious, high-speed visit to the museum in Jean-Luc Godard’s Bande a part.
For Bellour, this diffuse area between film art and filmed art is not simply a new field for research, but an enclave which comes into being as an automatic consequence of the various media’s (film, photography, literature, the visual arts) loss of specificity and internal coherence. The specific media have disappeared; what's left are the in-between areas, the images-in-between or entre-images, which video, the medium which has never been burdened with any internal coherence, can put to good use.
The list reproduced opposite gives a tentative overview of the fragments with which Bellour will be working. The notes on it are by Chris Dercon of Witte de With & Marco Miiller of Film Festival Rotterdam.
translation Jim Boekbinder