Writing
in Film modernism
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It is difficult if not impossible to know how Histoire(s) du cinéma was made. Certainly it is not a film in the ordinary way which follows a plan, still less a script, not at all a story or a narrative and it is hardly an essay, and it destroys most systems of reference in the usual sense. What then determines not simply the images and sounds that appear but their relations to each other? Much of these seem illogical, undirected, and though it is possible sometimes to perceive an association for the most part these are extremely distant and obscure even if these remote elements ‘suddenly’ fuse and coalesce. The film is not a representation but a manifestation, a demonstration (but of what?), a collection of documents whose order can be stated but whose significance is hard to discern. Above all, the film seems to be a record of the direct experience of making the film itself, an immediacy which results in an abundance of metaphors and signs but outside of the logical or the significant, even beyond control as if the film, in the instantaneities of its associations and linkages, has written itself.

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