A moving picture, because it moves, is the one form of narrative that cannot convey an idea of any kind, as opposed to a generalised emotion. Mary McCarthy used to counter dedicated cinéastes with 'All right. In Battleship Potemkin, what does that abandoned baby carriage bouncing down the steps mean?' [Vidal, The Last Empire: Essays 1992-2001 (Abacus 2002), 69]Well, I'd say it means: Capitalism is bad for your baby. That's an idea, and although it's not an idea with a great deal of nuance it is an idea that has (demonstrably, as any browse through the history of the world since 1789 shows) enormous applicable power. < /br>< /br> The larger point is about that old canard 'motion pictures can express emotion, but not thought': films can think, although they often do so symbolically.
Saturday, 26 May 2012
Vidal on film
I'd like to sing the title of today's post to Duran Duran's "Girls on Film", but there isn't time for that right now.