Gestures, Stillness, Water
Introduction In his diary on the making of the film Beauty and the Beast, Jean Cocteau wrote: ¨My method is simple: not to aim at poetry. That must come of its own account…. I shall try to build a table. It will be up to you then to eat at it, to examine it or to chop it up for firewood (Cocteau, Beauty and the Beast: Diary of a film: 6). Cinematic Reveries is a collection of original writings about things we cannot see but which alter our lives. These 29 poetic writings of varied lengths offer points of entry into a select group of films. Rather humble objects, these examples of film criticism in a new form are distillations of years of viewing and writing about the cinema. They make no claims for sweeping structures, and even the longer ones merely suggest. Each of the writings highlights one scene, or an underlying tone, in films from Europe, Asia, South America, the Pacific, North America, and the Middle East. While a few of the films that inspired these poetic writings are products of the Hollywood studio system or of established studios in other countries, the majority originated in small studios, independent productions, and new waves of experimentation with cinematic style. In many cases, they are records of rapidly disappearing traditions preserved on film. They are the kinds of films Raul Ruíz noted in his Poetics of Cinema 2: those that recognize us “as an old relative” (110). Overall inspiration...
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