10/40/70: Constraint as Liberation in the Era of Digital by Nicholas Rombes

By Nicholas Rombes

In an period of swift transformation from analog to electronic, how do we write approximately cinema in ways in which are as clean, astonishing, and demanding because the top movies are? In 10/40/70 Nicholas Rombes proposes one daring risk: pause a movie on the 10, forty, and 70-minute mark and write in regards to the frames handy, it doesn't matter what they're. this system of constraint—by doing away with selection and foreclosing on authorial intention—allows the movie itself to dictate the phrases of its research free of the tyranny of predetermined interpretation. encouraged by means of Roland Barthes’s idea of the “third meaning” and its concentrate on the movie body as a picture that's neither a photo nor a relocating photograph, Rombes assumes the position of photo detective, looking out the frames for clues not just in regards to the motion pictures themselves—drawn from a variety of genres and time periods—but the very stipulations in their life within the electronic age.

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What happens, then, when a film itself exists only in fragments and stills? In some sense, the logic is reversed: the analysis of the film becomes a way to bring it back to life, in the sense of making it whole, a process that mimics that of the work of the director himself. In the case of ¡Que Viva México! this dialectic is thematized in the film, and in particular in its “Prologue” and “Epilogue,” through constant reversals of death and life and the emphasis on this process as continuous. This projection of the poetics of the film onto the poetics of the artistic process (and back) is particularly justified in the case of Eisenstein.

For now, a brief sketch of the development of postrevolutionary cultural ideology of Mexico will help us contextualize Eisenstein’s fascination with the indigenous culture. Turning to Mexico’s distant past in the “Prologue,” Eisenstein’s film simultaneously reflects the importance of the pre-Columbian foundations of Mexican history, and the revival of this past as part of the postrevolutionary national ideology of indigenismo,4 to which the muralist project of Rivera and Siqueiros is intimately tied.

We are, after all, breaking the most basic taboos by gazing directly at gods and at death itself. The funeral-procession sequence consists of two parts—the procession itself and a ritualistic feast that forms it. The latter is filmed in static shots composed much like the preceding sequence. The main difference, however, is that instead of one or two frontal takes from different distances (a close-up and an extreme close-up, for example), the composition of the visual planes changes to a kind of establishing shot of a half-open coffin showing the face of the dead with three men and three women positioned symmetrically on the sides of the coffin with jicaras, half-cut 44 : chapter one Figure 4.

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