Wednesday, September 05, 2012


Favorite quote from Adrian Martin:

" two types of cinema, one tending more toward the body, the other emphasising the brain. It's not a strict or absolute distinction: every film mixes both tendencies in varying proportions. As with all things, it's a matter of degree, of emphasis.But we know what the philosopher means. The cinema of the body is John Cassavetes, Maurice Pialat, Elaine May, Abel Ferrara, Philippe Garrel. A physical, visceral cinema, centred on the flesh, on the contact of bodies, on eroticism and violence, on 'corporeal subjectivity'. A cinema where the camera gets in the middle of the messy flux of life.

At the opposite extreme, a cinema of the brain: cool, cerebral, systematic, ordered, rational. The cinema of Harun Farocki, Stanley Kubrick, Alain Resnais, Alexander Kluge, Brian De Palma, Straub & Huillet. Calm, highly structured. An essayistic cinema, whether in documentary or fiction mode.Godard, Varda, Breillat, von Trier, Eustache, Akerman — many filmmakers alternate between brain-films and body-films, where one or the other tendency is dominant. 

I always thought of Philippe Garrel and Jean Eustache as belonging to the same group. This quote helps me see the difference between them.

The photo is from THE MOTHER AND THE WHORE (1973, Jean Eustache, A+30).