By Karla Oeler
The darkish shadows and offscreen house that strength us to visualize violence we won't see. the true slaughter of animals spliced with the fictitious killing of fellows. The lacking countershot from the homicide victim’s viewpoint. Such photos, or absent pictures, Karla Oeler contends, distill how the homicide scene demanding situations and adjustments film.
Reexamining works via such filmmakers as Renoir, Hitchcock, Kubrick, Jarmusch, and Eisenstein, Oeler lines the homicide scene’s problematic connections to the nice breakthroughs within the thought and perform of montage and the formula of the principles and syntax of Hollywood style. She argues that homicide performs this kind of imperative function in movie since it mirrors, on a number of degrees, the act of cinematic illustration. loss of life and homicide right away remove existence and contact awareness to its former lifestyles, simply as cinema conveys either the truth and the absence of the items it depicts. yet homicide stocks with cinema not just this interaction among presence and shortage, circulate and stillness: not like dying, killing involves the planned relief of a novel topic to a disposable item. Like cinema, it consists of a very important selection approximately what to chop and what to keep.
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Additional resources for A Grammar of Murder: Violent Scenes and Film Form
Sometimes this tension appears in the work of a single critic, even in a single essay. In “Magnification” (1921), Jean Epstein rhapsodizes about close-ups of faces that are on the verge of resolving into a definite expression; these faces are not fully legible. But he also revels in the possibility of “reading” faces in close-up: “I can see love. ” Similarly struck by the expressivity of the face in close-up, Balázs writes, “The film has brought us the silent soliloquy. . ”2 And Bazin, in an essay on Carl Theodor Dreyer’s The Passion of Joan of Arc, calls the face “a privileged area of communication” and writes, “We are indebted to Dreyer for his irrefutable translation direct from the soul.
13 Kuleshov’s montage channels the attention of the unruly spectator who would focus on the table leg and ignore the actor; the edit does not realize the natural movement of the spectator’s consciousness—it determines it. The difference between Münsterberg and Kuleshov’s theories of the close-up as it relates to spectator attention emerges out of the more general difference between the philosophical contexts in which they work. A neo-Kantian, Münsterberg insists on the apoliticism of art and emphasizes the disinterested quality of aesthetic experience, which entails a harmonious relationship between art and human cognition.
44 And analysis of the Hollywood Western by critics such as Robert Warshow, Richard Slotkin, Jane Tompkins, and Gilberto Perez point up, even if they do not explicitly articulate, a resonance between the national myths that sustained the development of the United States and the narrative of political conflict articulated by Hegel. To associate Hegel’s dialectic of the fight for recognition with Soviet montage and Hollywood genre is important to the consideration of murder and cinema: it is an illuminating angle from which to view the assertion that the murder scene is a crucial site where cinema reflects upon itself.
A Grammar of Murder: Violent Scenes and Film Form by Karla Oeler