Photographic Time and Affect in Film: Project of Roland Barthes’s Film Theory
The article deals with analysis of Roland Barthes’s concepts of photographic time, punctum and third meaning as integral parts of his version of film theory. The aim of the article is to reconstruct Barthes’s film theory incorporating not only his «cinematographic» concepts but also his key ideas from photography theory. The article starts with the review of literature dealing with Barthes’s studies on film and with his famous book «Camera Lucida». Then, through Barthes’s idea of cinema as a phenomenon able to hold both realities (that of the screen and that of the cinema theatre) the author comes to the analysis of Barthes’s concept of photographic time and its connection with the notion of punctum. This bond between punctum and photographic time seems to be a key element of Barthes’s cinema theory. This element refers to the ability of film to involve a spectator into unique affective experience and affective time. The idea is revealed through the example of photographic film, specifically La Jetée by Chris Marker. The last part of the article is devoted to the notion of the third meaning and its conceptual connections with the ideas of punctum and photographic time. Thus, the article in some sense represents an attempt to reconstruct Barthes’s possible film theory which does not exist as one big text but is dispersed in a number of notes and articles. This theory would be closely connected with phenomenology and film experience, and based on ability of film to keep a viewer in two realities at the same time. A split between a viewer as a voyeur identifying herself with anything within the screen reality, and a viewer as a person who possesses a human body and sits in the cinema, is never experienced as traumatic. It rather allows cinema to put a comma within film narrative, to pause development of a film in order to incorporate viewers’ real experience and affect. Key ideas expressed in the article are based on comparative analysis of Barthes’s texts on film and photography from different years, and on the whole belong to phenomenological framework.
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