Friday, July 17, 2009

Kael of the Week: Out of order, out of mind

"It has become easy—especially for those who consider “time” a problem and a great theme—to believe that fast editing, out of normal sequence, which makes it difficult, or impossible, for the audience to know if any action is taking place, is somehow more “cinematic” than a consecutively told story. For a half century movies have, when necessary, shifted action in time and place and the directors generally didn’t think it necessary to slap us in the face with each cut or call out, ‘Look what I can do!’ Yet people who should know better will tell you how “cinematic” The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner or This Sporting Life is—as if fiddling with the time sequence was good in itself, proof that the “medium” is really being used. Perhaps, after a few decades of indoctrination in high art, they are convinced that a movie is cinematic when they don’t understand what’s going on."

-From "Zeitgeist and Poltergeist: Or, Are Movies Going To Pieces?"
Introduction to I Lost it at the Movies, published 1964

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