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10 - Time/Frame: On Cinematic Duration

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  23 June 2021

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Summary

Abstract

The role of the frame in determining filmic temporality has rarely been discussed. Time in the cinema emerges from diegetic, formal, and symbolic elements organized by the frame, but the prominence of montage and the movement of the filmic frame have tended to obscure the latter's importance in creating a mediated temporality. This chapter engages with Stan Douglas's photograph Ballantyne Pier, 18 June 1935 (2008) as a form of theory of filmic temporality. It then compares the role of the frame in determining the temporality of photography, painting, and film, drawing on works such as Andy Warhol's Empire (1964), Eric Baudelaire's Sugar Water (2007), and André Bazin essay on Henri-Georges Clouzot's The Picasso Mystery (Le Mystère Picasso, 1956).

Keywords: Temporality, frame, Stan Douglas, Eric Baudelaire, duration

The art of Stan Douglas is strikingly cinematic. The Vancouver-based artist has found inspiration for much of his work in the world and culture of the cinema. Some of his films and videos explicitly adapt famous movies, though, as Lisa Coulthard has written, ‘Douglas's film and video installations are not remakes but pieces that modify and engage with source materials thematically and formally’. Subject to a Film: Marnie (1989), for instance, is the recreation of a scene from Hitchcock's Marnie, more precisely the looping of a scene in which the kleptomaniac character played by Tippy Hedren steals from her employer. While photographed in black and white, the sequence looks ‘updated’ on account of its modern setting. The DVD installation Suspiria (2003), on the other hand, mimics the visual style of Dario Argento's 1977 cult horror film (recently remade by Luca Guadagnino), while exploring the properties of Technicolor. Inconsolable Memories (2005) is based in part on Memorias del subdesarrollo (Memories of Underdevelopment, 1968), the landmark Third Cinema Cuban film by Tomás Gutiérrez Alea, in its turn based on a novel by Edmundo Desnoes titled, like Douglas's work, Inconsolable Memories. A six-hour single-channel video loop projection, Luanda-Kinshasa (2013) is also inspired by a film, namely Jean-Luc Godard's Sympathy for the Devil (1968) – more precisely, its interweaving of shots of the Rolling Stones recording their hit single of the same name with seemingly unrelated clips of Black Panther militants.

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Theorizing Film Through Contemporary Art
Expanding Cinema
, pp. 213 - 228
Publisher: Amsterdam University Press
Print publication year: 2020

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