Mani Kaul is one of the greatest Indian cineaste working in India. This essay is reproduced here so that a new generation of film lovers are acquainted with his writings on cinema. Hence, in time to come we can introduce his films to a new audience, with an eventual Issue on his life and films.
Beneath the surface: Cinematography and Time
The object of this article is to provoke debate on a basic cinematographic contradiction: a plethora of a films across the world continues to fashion awe-inspiring cinematographic spaces (stunning visuals), however, only a few are able to realize a simultaneous and direct experience of cinematographic time. With the current epidemic of "special effects", the awe-inspiring space has taken a turn for the worse- we appear headed for an immersion into an immaterial world.
As opposed to what has been presumed as the obvious(that space/time is an integrated vehicle that makes cinema move)space and time in cinema are separate entities, destructive of each other when one is absolutely privileged against the other; and often requiring a system of relay between them for the two to significantly come together. A film unfolds in space but at the same time in time, too. It is, however, usual to think of cinema as a visual and not (also) an art in and of time, as a temporal art.
The meaning and feeling in films centre on what is organized for the eyes and ears with what is seen and heard in a way that leads more to the production of space than to a realization of time. Time in such films is a thing just present there; intarsia entrenched available as a result of a progression of events, as a consequence of, as something absent and only directly experienced. It is rarely present and directly experienced as a revelation of multiple durations conscious in the way it’s found in music. Obviously cinema cannot aspire to the condition of music, which is primarily a temporal discipline.
Cinema is an equal mix of movement and time. The question this debate hopes to raise is how movement and time have developed as independent elements in cinema and if they have sought a unique cinematographic resolution for every film. How does cinematography figure precisely in this debate?Read More
Indian Auteur: Links
- Cinephile Meeting-III
- Issue No-2
- More on Mani Kaul