Let us now proceed making a fresh start.
Vous avez parlé d’espace. C’est un problème très difficile…
(Manny Farber, “Entretien aux Cahiers du cinéma”)
L’espace –pour ne rien dire du temps– correspondrait moins à une forme a priori de la sensibilité qu’il ne serait le corrélat de l’opération par laquelle la sensibilité elle-meme –et par son entremise la “psyché”– s’ouvre au monde extérieur en s’y projetant.
(Hubert Damisch, “Morceaux choisis”)
Il faut une fois, une quantité discrète qui donne l’espace du temps de l’articulation, ou qui lui donne lieu (que cette “fois”, sans doute, ait lieu sans cesse, à toutes les fois, à tout espace de temps de l’exister, à tout moment, cela n’est en rien contradictoire: cela indique simplement que l’exister existe selon cette discrétion, cette discontinuité continue, c’est-à-dire, son corps).
(Jean-Luc Nancy, Corpus)
The secret of capital's spatiality, for Marx, is also the secret of spatiality itself, namely separation. Temporality can coincide with itself, in simultaneity: but in space, no two bodies can occupy the same position, and extension is thereby at one with separation.
Yet the verb contains a welcome negativity within itself –we are gradually learning that Marx's dialectic draws its strength and originality from the eschewal of the affirmative or the positive– and it can also function actively, as when I separate an agent from his means of agency.
(Fredric Jameson, Representing Capital. A Reading of Volume One)
C’est pourquoi, l’œuvre est œuvre seulement quand elle devient l’intimité ouverte de quelqu’un qui l’écrit et de quelqu’un qui la lit, l’espace violemment déployé par la contestation mutuelle du pouvoir du dire et du pouvoir d’entendre.
(Maurice Blanchot, L’espace littéraire)
1. Did any strand of film criticism ever found itself in and through films, considering them as the factual ground for “its” gestures and operations, or was film criticism always structurally incapable of finding a secure, coherent, and constant ground in and through them, therefore acting as a ventriloquist’s history of the so-called other arts?
2. If the so-called other arts are not only capable of accumulation but also in want of it, will film criticism ever be able to depart from them, while simultaneously and without likeness affirming and subtracting this gesture?
3. Could film criticism ever bear out cinema as it carries out “its” cases in the sense of an occurrence in (for?) “the history of arts,” –and if so, would that gesture imply the so-called history of cinema as an appropriate “measure”–, or would it comply with the proprietary rupture of films, whether they are understood as belonging to the history of “cinema”, “thought,” “art(s),” “intermittences”…?
4. Film criticism as the unconditional ground for the (French) question “Qu’est-ce que le cinéma?” or a chasm that forgets itself while letting films collapse as a case of, and for, the so-called history of cinema?
5. Can cinema actually rise once more as an ontological-editorial question, pulling down the “categories” and “allegories” that constitute the history of both film criticism and Film Theory, or will it remain a (critical? historical? theoretical?) scenario sinking away along with a more or less likely set of cases and archive probes?
6. Was film criticism ever realized, even if temporally and provisionally, in-between a suspended knot through which distension, amplification, and intensification were articulated without the final determination of a (strictly?) cinematographic space?
7. 1. Does the lure of film criticism move in-between Film Theory and an after-space for the so-called history of cinema, or does it inscribe the reversal of that movement as a conditional repetition?
7.2. And even if it were to do so, would Film Theory play the role of a posthumous space, while the so-called history of cinema remained placed before film criticism?
8. If every affirmative repetition of cinematographic cases were to display an erasure of film criticism, would that repetition come from counter-inscribed “categories” and “allegories,” thereby implying a disintensive actuality conditionally fatigued and subtracted as the anticipatory rupture of any critical project(ion)?
9. Could the relation between the so-called history of cinema and film criticism be reconsidered as an invention whereby their interval corrects the considerable and speculative privilege here and there given to both, and if so, what would that imply in terms of a remaining Film Theory?
A. Catallegory fatigue.
In between Manny Farber’s definition of “negative space”1 and the previous set of questions, one could propose a certain catallegory fatigue2 as the act that, while bearing out cinema and “its” history as a transposition for film criticism, moves from “arts” to cinema as the so-called “seventh art3” the moment it: a) vacates meanings based in representation and consciousness; b) displaces the interpretation of films as the drainage of any critical activity. In that direction, catallegory fatigue as an act composed in-between “categories,” “allegories,” and “fatigue” could counter-inscribe some of film criticism’s cases without claiming, either an imposed recognition, or, belatedly, a theoretical tie between already constituted, or even premature, instances. Considering then a particular collection of film criticism titled Negative Space, catallegory fatigue would concern neither a film critic’s capacity to recognize cinema, given as a transcendental structure independent of any object, nor a property of films that awaits the opportunity to actualize itself in this or that recognition, since the relation between “category,” “allegory,” and “fatigue” derives from a knot that, “at the same time,” displaces itself between the imparting of cinematographically spatial cases4. If a proposed catallegory fatigue were indeed to be considered in terms of film criticism, this conditional gesture would at least allow to question what is being alluded to when re-inscribing “categories,” “allegories,” and “fatigue”, without necessarily prescribing a way beyond them, while at “the same time” allowing for the possibility of a space beyond the act designated by “catallegory fatigue” (this possibility, allowing “catallegory fatigue” as space beyond named and nameable cases of film criticism, would not however be inscribed (prescribed?) to redeem cinema because its gesture necessarily subtracts itself with it5).
If cinema can indeed be thought as spacing and surrendering space, then catallegory fatigue can comply with certain derivations from film criticism but is not exclusively “about” what cannot be said or shown by “categories” or “allegories” because these are inherently fatigued (catallegory fatigue, in order to provide a critical act, ought to stem from a subtraction missing from space and, while resisting it, counter-inscribe film criticism as well as the so-called condition that must precede it for a disowned subtraction6). And if one were to consider film criticism as an inclination not only for potential spaces, but also for the otherness of space “in” cinema as otherness, maybe even a permanent revolution, that gesture would also include the inclination of space towards what, for its own part, would grant a further predisposition towards other so-called conditions. Since it has no power over space and even less over itself, film criticism cannot be structured as the reflexive self-consciousness of cinematographic space and, as it gives itself over to its (likely? possible?) cause, also allows its instances to be forgotten as time in order to: a) pursue space without subsuming it under the form of a finalized theory; b) escape both the form of a science and an ontology; c) remain historically prone to variations7.
On the other hand, the space displayed between (the terms in) catallegory fatigue as an accompaniment to film criticism cannot be defined as a terminal concept, since this would imply a space where “concept” as a “conceptual frontier” would exactly overlap with the instance of the term “frontier8” (placed, but only for example, between “category,” “allegory,” and “fatigue”, when we could also consider that “categories” and “allegories” are rendered possible by, and as, fatigue). The space from which “catallegory fatigue” could then be re-inscribed would not be simply “space,” nor a space of spaces (even less a meta-space), rather a constitutive subtraction – not as if negation could be held against cinema, but as a resistance from which catallegories can set themselves off from “the very beginning” before cinematographic space9.
Therefore, if a cinematographic space were to allow certain place’s boundaries to be discussed that would at least mean it doesn’t hold to the distinction between frontier and boundary: it subtracts it, and, while granting this gesture, comports the discussed place as the debit of its own determination. In this sense, there is no definition of space that does not include a “peripheral” catallegory fatigue, and its knot cannot be either a “something” or the fait accompli of a mere absence10, only what exposes a zone of separation between films and a critic’s contextual memory (a gesture which, however, does not imply any sort of final disclosure or revelation). In terms of cinematographic space, “catallegory fatigue” could render its cases at a distance from the condition of criticism considered in “itself,” not according to the intervention of higher agencies (the function of a morbid inside, or a dubiously christened outside), but because a constitutive rupture subtracted as inscription holds “itself” back while supplying that gesture and prevents catallegory fatigue from being retained as a sealed concept (in Farber’s tripartite reparation of space, the extensive distension11 of spatial possibilities subtracts determining and determined recognitions between losses and accompaniments, and while doing so allows a certain critical variation applied to variants from both film criticism and the so-called history of cinema).
Catallegory fatigue moves along with spaces as they cross its bifurcation towards a still prevalent film criticism, so that the attempt to draw frontiers around instances: a) can not prevent from thinking it among intervals; b) fits cinema as much as its thinking; c) proceeds both from a historical set of debatable cases and a disintensive knot that can be labeled “cinematographic;” d) remains suspended in-between an an(on)thological fracture and the intermission before which film criticism differentiates itself from so-called histories of cinema. The distension that film criticism attains as endured catallegory fatigue could then break off the series of “categories” and “allegories” that too often have ossified and petrified film criticism, and since cinematographic space permanently exceeds its cases, also provide the leap that supports a loose interval displaced in-between cinema’s “peripheries,” “films,” “categories,” “allegories,” “fatigues,” and “criticisms.” Furthermore, on its way to disintensive space as what remains to be re-applied in-between “art” and “arts,” catallegory fatigue sustains, not the hold of Aristotelian potentia as something always merely “possible” but never “real,” rather a lateral step edited onto a knot from which “categories” and “allegories” dispose film criticism as delayed fatigue13.
As an act for relations oriented toward historical distance and distension (certainly not space as a whole and as such, from an already constituted film to a content labeled as, and for, film criticism), catallegory fatigue implies both the affinity for a dimension that does not cross the threshold into (rather unlikely) final appearances and a rupture touched by the knot counter-inscribed before “film” and “criticism” (for Farber, this implies the invention of the all too often uncritically celebrated categories “white elephant” and “termite”13). If the historical “process” of the so-called history of cinema revolves around sedimentation, then film criticism could dig out cinematographic spaces for catallegory fatigue, maybe even approach the subtraction of nominal as well as predicative “categories” and “allegories,” without however enforcing a final hold on cinematographic places14. Insofar as catallegory fatigue can re-inscribe film criticism, it also proposes a temporal amplification which, since it precludes the objectivity of films firmly established according to the original unity of a subjective placement, is neither countable nor does it conform to steadiness, and attempts to: a) witness cinema’s cases as they happen even where no cinematographic ground can apparently be found; b) displace an institutionally (re)solved “history of cinema;” c) propose an intermittent sketch which already counter-inscribes what cannot become the possession, content or object of strictly theoretical recognition15.
Catallegory fatigue does not extend a continuous history of film criticism expressed as a conquest of cinema because its impertinence, stripped of conditions of presentation, removes the reserves of a historical line unable to be included as, in, and for itself. Consequently, it implies the interruption of a continuous “history of cinema” by displaying it as, for instance, a spatial question, and in order that, on the other hand, the relation between “category,” “allegory,” and “fatigue” can proceed in a way that displaces both unceasing and intermittent film criticism16.
B. Film criticism.
Film criticism can not grasp and allow itself, as it remains irreducible to the cases it can subtract from its history, but in order to re-inscribe the interval between “film” and “criticism” it would have to be displaced as a knot that can no longer be contained within the strict horizon of aesthetic representation, while simultaneously amplifying what uproots its arrangements instead of engaging with them as the decisive content of cinema (and in such a way that no suffocating distinctions and no stable distances in the space of cinema could redeem them without claiming an incommensurably (so called) other space). Cinematographic space cannot be the object of predicative assertions, because these would have to both belong and not belong to cinema, and film criticism can only do justice to this complication by sustaining cinematographic existence as a variable event, which is to say at least as a gesture that doesn’t follow the logic of predications without disabling it (when the time of space is saturated with spacing, the spacing of time is no longer a condition of, and for, criticism, but its subtraction).
Besides a certain inclination towards cinematographic space, maybe even that which is not yet cinema, and since it can provide an answer for what “in it” remains unoccupied, film criticism could also be a name for the secret of space, “including” that which does not belong to it and which (“in”) itself is not. The fact that cinematographic space, a) can be critically filtered, and b) must be both intensified and subtracted, indicates that “in itself” it never suffices, remains thankfully opaque and relies upon further amplifications (hence the need for film criticism as the permanent reprise of cinema’s enigma). The relations that spaces within films entertain with one another also imply film criticism as the permanent subtraction of a spatially cinematographic insistence, in such a way that if they were to explicate one another this gesture would also have to be inscribed before cinematographic space (“there,” one could still follow Manny Farber's suggestion of cinematographic additions to a micro-history of art, but it remains to be seen if the components of cinematographic space could implicate one another even as they compose accompaniments to what has hitherto been shown and said as space and for space in the so-called history of cinema17). Space can be taken as delaying and subtracting cinema, but for Farber the gesture implies a conditional confirmation of cinematographic space (of films for space?) that, if it were to be compiled into a series of propositions, needn’t be independent from it since every one of them is a proposition in, at, and for cinematographic space(s) “where” film criticism can be re-applied (with or without opening – or closing – both the propositions and their spaces, and assuming one knows what “to open” and “to close” do mean). And since space is not foreign to what can be said about cinema and no film criticism worth its salt can’t help being involved with it, a possible re-inscription of spatial delay would not presuppose an interior which, by being spread apart, could be progressively converted into an exterior (thereby implying a compact support supposedly related to a “world” experienced as the expansion of an interior that could never attain space without a dualistic ladder, since it remains a supposedly externalized dimension of so-called perception).
Cinematographic space can lie beside itself, differentiated and adjacent, but only as if the impossibility of determining it as a whole would leave nothing that, while enduring its suspension, could restitute the counter-condition of catallegory fatigue even before all that could be stated as an answer to the issue of cinematographic time – in Farber’s case at least parting from what can be claimed before space as “a” nothing that remains counter-inscribed, without however corresponding to a subtraction suspended beyond the organically-spatial implications of categories such as “white elephant” and “termites”. On the other hand, it could be argued that, since cinematographic space is not a finalized object with a frontier that can isolate it from other adjectival spaces, or even from non-space, catallegory fatigue could never vanish through obliteration because in such a case “nothing” would not be a knot for film criticism18.
Cinematographic space, however, can allow the issue of frontiers to be discussed as if the idea of film criticism could prevent audiences, maybe even singularized spectators, from regarding it as a possession: as an object for film criticism it is not infinite (space delays cinema both as extension and intensity), but this is precisely what allows it to request other issues as it addresses and confers itself to them (i.e., it needn’t proceed from a given space and time, but can re-apply what is unknown to both space and time as an unforgivable cinematographic question). Since it does this without finalized theories it can remain enigmatic to itself, and while it seeks a hold “in” space without reducing film criticism’s affects, it can assume its detection “out of a space” of unknowing. The fact that film criticism implies a (still unconditional?) affect for cinema means therefore, on the one hand, that its gestures and operations can be found in cinematographic spaces in order to do it justice; on the other hand, that film criticism cannot provide a constant ground for a theoretically finalized cinema. Besides these preliminary steps, the further issue of cinema’s spaces and times can also be considered as an instance that, for catallegory fatigue, cannot be reduced to a categorical negation but inscribes itself “out of” cinema as what is not subjected to a manifest ontological description, since it ought to convert any given film “into” a gesture without mediatic reservations.
For film criticism, space does not exhaust itself in any so far given sphere of artistic ends and could never claim interventions without a critical leap, transmissions without an altered departure. A knotted or impertinent film criticism should then be more subtractive than any destitution within the horizon of institutional acknowledgement, remain irreducible to relational pairs, and not be restricted by: a categories’ pressures; b) disciplines’ constrictions; c) allegorical anxieties (without however forgetting or dismissing so-called traditions, a gesture paradoxically based on a profound fear of critical repetition). And if cinematographic space can inscribe further knots, they must also be able to act before their subtraction, and even if only one half of any given knot were deemed (condemned?) to be a critical issue, then film criticism would at least have to concern itself with the other half (after all, there is no meta-space that could not be refuted by a further one, and this gesture remains just one of the minimally political acts of film criticism).
C. Forthcoming re-entries.
1. Re-entries into cinematographic spaces can be re-inscribed as and for critically historical acts, but only because this gesture can take place while supporting and keeping apart their so-called frontiers, and hence provide an affirmative hollowness19.
2. Places give way to boundaries in their variations, since their interval inscribes the discretion through which they detach themselves from each other, but they also re-inscribe themselves before one another (this imparting sometimes takes place as film criticism).
3. The knot displaced between “category,” “allegory,” and “fatigue” bears itself as the subtraction of film criticism’s (still actual?) possibilities, but since it cannot be its own example it won’t comply, neither with an emphatic archive for the birth of this kind of criticism, nor as “the revelation of the concealment” of cinema before the arrival of its so-called history.
4. Because no temporally, spatially, or idiomatically distinct, and thus extensively determinable history, is indicated “in” film criticism’s best cases, this gesture inscribes the index of a (thankfully) permanent crisis on the way to a distension realized and held back in-between “films” and “criticisms” (at least because “cinema” does not belong once and for all, either to “the history of cinema,” “the history of art(s),” or even itself as “an art”).
Draw the room in Michael Snow's Wavelength , the way it looks from the camera's original setting; include (and label for clarity) all the important objects.
(“Objective question” from Manny Farber's final exam for his Visual Arts course at the University of California, San Diego)
[E]go fait ou se fait extériorité, espacement de lieux, écartement et étrangeté qui font le lieu, et donc espace même, spatialité première d’un véritable tracé dans lequel, et dans lequel seulement, ego peut survenir, et se tracer, et se penser.
(Jean-Luc Nancy, Ego sum)
[Le cinéma est pour Eisenstein] un art [qui], pour faire bonne mesure, fait fi de la distinction entre arts de l’espace et du temps, et travaille à même le mouvement et la durée qui lui sont pour ainsi dire consubstantiels.
(Hubert Damisch, Ciné fil)
[…] le matrici dei due più evidenti specifici filmici (e televisivi) sono le categorie dell’intuizione ‘spazio’ e ‘tempo’ […]
(Vittorio Cottafavi, “Fenomenologia del telefilm”)
Le lieu, indiqué par la demonstratio et dont dépend exclusivement toute autre indication, est un lieu de langage et l'indication est la catégorie à travers laquelle le langage fait référence à son propre avoir-lieu.
(Giorgio Agamben, Le langage et la mort)
Selon la théorie de la relativité, les actions ne peuvent se propager qu’à l’intérieur du domaine spatio-temporel; ce domaine est strictement délimité par ce qu’on appelle le cône de lumière, c’est-à-dire par les points de l’espace-temps atteints par une onde lumineuse qui part d’un centre d’actions. Ce domaine de l’espace-temps est donc, il convient de le souligner, strictement délimité.
(Werner Heisenberg, La nature dans la physique contemporaine)
Space is the place (but we stuck here on Earth).
It’s topographical. It’s all that I think criticism is about.
(Manny Farber, “Manny Farber and Patricia Patterson Film Comment interview by Richard Thompson”)
1 / Regarding the proposed definition of “negative space”, the most crucial element in Farber’s text occurs with the inscription of the “and/or” gesture in-between “a movie image” and “negative space”: “Most of what follows involves a struggle to remain faithful to the transitory, multisuggestive complication of a movie image and/or negative space” (“Introduction to Negative Space” , in FARBER, 2009: 696).
Farber then follows this rather vertiginous suggestion – which, if taken seriously, would imply both a redefinition of image and space – with a doubled (re)definition of “negative space” in terms of an artist’s authority and a territorial sense juxtaposed in-between a (collective) audience (definitely not a question of the singular spectator for Farber, be it as a concept or a subjectum) and the angle “camera-actors-director”: “Negative space, the command of experience which an artist can set resonating within a film, is a sense of terrain created partly by the audience’s imagination and partly by camera-actors-director (…)” (id.: ibid.).
The subsequent redefinition of “negative space” is symptomatically anchored in the rather multiform example of Sergei M. Eisenstein’s Alexander Nevsky (1938), followed by two sentences where the director’s conflict with the screen, described as a sort of poetical-topographical test, sidelines the implications of the verb “to throb” (a strand of Farber’s recurrent rhetoric that demands further theoretical-sexual developments).
“[I]n Alexander Nevsky the feeling of endless, glacial landscape formed by glimpses of frozen flatness expanded by the emotional interplay of huge-seeming people. Negative space assumes the director testing himself as an intelligence against what appears on screen, so that there is a murmur of poetic action enlarging the terrain of the film, giving the scene an extra-objective breadth. It has to do with flux, movement, and air; always in the sense of an artist knowing where he’s at: a movie filled with negative space is always a textural work throbbing with acuity” (id.: ibid.).
Besides these aspects, it would also be necessary to confront this concept of the negative with other uses of the term, at least “in” Hegel, Kafka, and Adorno.
2 / The question of catallegory fatigue is presented in A Catallegory Fatigue Sampler for an Im-pertinent History of Cinema, take one (AMORIM, 2013 b). The issue of allegories underlining Film Theory, particularly Plato’s Allegory (or Myth) of the Cave in The Republic, is developed as a sketch in “Notes for the re-inscription of Plato's The Republic and Aristotle's Politics before Film Theory” (AMORIM, 2013 c).
3 / For two introductions to the ways of counting cinema as a numerable art, see véase L’usine aux images (CANUDO, 1995), and “Musing by Numbers: Counting the Arts in the Age of Film” (QUENDLER, 2011).
4 / In Farber’s case programmatically displayed in-between D. W. Griffith’s Intolerance (1916) and Jean-Luc Godard’s Weekend (1967) as a drama and reversal of the line that crosses a history of painting signposted by Giotto and Kenneth Noland.
“Space is the most dramatic stylistic entity – from Giotto to Noland, from Intolerance to Week-end. How an artist deploys his space, seldom discussed in film criticism but already a tiresome word of the moment in other art, is anathema to newspaper editors, who believe readers die like flies at the sight of esthetic terminology” (ibid.: 691).
This proposal should however be reconsidered taking into account both Farber's writings and paintings as well as analogous linear reconfigurations, such as Jacques Rivette’s statement on a certain unsurpassable exemplarity of Giotto and Griffith (a gesture which could imply film criticism as what: a) intensifies the affect for cinema as well as the claim of that which is yet to become part of “its” history; b) is bound to appeal to the history of other “arts” in order to make any sense at all – but then assuming that it recognizes itself only according to those histories, even as it addresses itself without conferring with films).
«Mais Griffith, c’est comme Giotto. De même que, d’une certaine façon, la peinture n’ira jamais au-delà de Giotto, de même le cinéma n’ira jamais au-delà de Griffith» (RIVETTE et al, 1961 : 26).
Besides Rivette, it would also be necessary to take into account Giotto as a film director, according to Jean-Marie Straub (among several references, see STRAUB, 1966: 56-57), and, through Jean-George Auriol’s article on the origins of mise-en-scène and its reference to Luciano Emmer’s Racconto da un affresco (1938-1941), Hubert Damisch’s remarks on the painter (AURIOL, 1946; DAMISCH, 1986).
5 / Following Farber up to a certain point, this gesture would imply the reconsideration of the category of space as a sexually allegorical measure, even if not necessarily according to the example of Orson Welles’ Touch of Evil .
“Basically the best movie of Welles’s cruddy middle peak period – when he created more designed, less-dependent-on-Hollywood films (Arkadin , Lady from Shanghai ) – Touch of Evil is a sexual allegory, the haves and have-nots, in which the disorienting space is worked for character rather than geography. (…)
His allegorical space is a mixture of tricks, disorientation, falling apart, grotesque portraits” (ibid.: 694).
The rethoric of cinematographic “allegories,” on the other hand, is recurrent in, and just for example, Amos Vogel and Olaf Möller.
«Like a true Tropicalist, Joaquim Pedro de Andrade was prone to experiment, trying something different with each film, whether it be fiction and documentary: an allegorical portrait of an unlikely Brazilian soccer icon Garrincha, Joy of the People [Garrincha – Alegria do Povo, 1962] (…).
In an allegorical coda, de Andrade suggests that the Brazilian people are prisoners of their own joy, content to be spectators as their lives unfold in front of them» (Möller, 2007: 21-22).
«Early Works (Rani Radovi)
Zelimir Zilnik, Yugoslavia, 1969
Filled with black humour, frank sex, and bizarre tableaux, the film becomes a revolutionary allegory of the European New Left» (Amos Vogel, 1974: 143).
Other examples from Vogel and Möller, as well as other film critics and theoreticians, are inscribed as a montage of quotes throughout A Catallegory Fatigue Sampler for an Im-pertinent History of Cinema, take one (AMORIM, 2013 b).
6 / Farber, on the other hand, counterpoises the act of film criticism before “the screen image” as a metaphorically animal conflict doubled by the metaphors of a doctoring gesture (at least in terms of almost orthopedic suggestions, maybe even a surgeon-like gesture) and the accordion (a “popular” instrument, if there ever was one).
“Criticism can subjugate the bestiality of the screen image by breaking down into arbitrary but easily managed elements – acting, story logic, reasonableness, the identifiable touches of a director – that bring the movie within the doctoring talents of the critic. Suggesting where a film went wrong and how it could have had the logic of an old-style novel or theater piece seems a pedantic occupation compared to the activity in modern film, which suggests a thousand Dick Cantino accordionists in frenetic action, heaving and howling, contracting and expanding. Because the space in film has been wildly and ingenuously singularized into cool ([George Franju’s] Judex ), charted ([John Ford’s] Rio Grande ), schematized ([Robert Bresson’s] Pickpocket ), jagged ([Joseph Losey’s] M ), or graceful (Satyajit Ray’s Two Daughters [Teen Kanya, 1961]), it doesn’t seem right that the areas for criticism should be given over so completely to measuring” (ibid.: 696-697).
As is almost always the case with Farber when it comes to general declarations, it would be necessary to study the contextualized logic and pertinence of the suggested cases.
7 / “In” Farber, this gesture implies both the recognition of an unlikely “enclosed esthetic system” (as if there were other kinds of system...?) and an adjectival catalogue of art: “It is not likely that any esthetic system can enclose all the art ever made – fetishistic, religious, decorative, children’s, absurdist, primitive” (ibid.: 697)..
8 / Space, as is well known, is still deemed to be the last frontier, be it through television series (Star Trek, Gene Roddenberry, 1966-1969), music (Underground Resistance), or so-called “space programs” based on the pedestrian and apparently interminable Star Wars cinema serial (1977-…).
9 / In that direction, it would be necessary to study the possible overlaps between Farber’s three conditional and pedagogical instances of space: “If there were a textbook on film space, it would read: “There are several types of movie space, the three most important being: 1) the field of the screen, (2) the psychological space of the actor, and (3) the area of experience and geography that the film covers.” (ibid.: 691).
Regarding “the field of the screen”, three directors are described according to a knot where so-called “artistic” terms are entwined with distinctive props (a religious haircut, a national-geographical item and an animal-like movement): “Bresson deals in shallow composition as predictable as a monk’s tonsure, whereas Godard is a stunning de Stijlist using cutout figures of American flag colors asymmetrically placed against a flat white background. The frame of [Sam Peckinpah’s] The Wild Bunch  is a window into deep, wide, rolling, Baroque space; almost every shot is a long horizontal crowded with garrulous animality” (id.: ibid.). In the case of this brief cinematographic-artistic gallery, it would also be necessary to study Farber’s argument as part of a long tradition of film criticism whereby cinema’s apparently minor status is redeemed through “artistic” comparisons and analogies (in a French context, that gesture generally takes place through literature).
In terms of the second space, Farber proposes a spatial corpus of (mostly) actresses and actors: Jeanne Moreau, Jane Fonda, Mbissine Thérèse Diop (not named, but alluded to as the actress from Ousmane Sembene’s La noire de... ), Stéphane Audran, Delphine Seyrig, Michel Bouquet, Jean-Louis Trintignant. Counter-cases: Katherine Hepburn, Rosalind Russell, Lauren Bacall, Humphrey Bogart. This corpus could be reconsidered as a stepping-stone towards a possible politics and poetics of the actor, and furthermore be confronted with the very distinct approaches proposed by Christian Viviani, Luc Moullet, and Nicole Brenez (see AMORIM, 2013 b).
As for “the area of experience and geography that the film covers,” the suggested (and quite uneven) cases, described by Farber as films where “the space is most absolutely controlled, given over to rigidly patterned male groups” (ibid.: 693), are: Claude Chabrol’s La femme infidèle (1969); Mike Nichols’ Who’s afraid of Virginia Woolf ? (1966); Nicholas Ray’s In a Lonely Place (1950); Jacques Demy’s Model Shop (1969); Miklós Jancsó’s The Round Up (Szegénylegények, 1966). Again, it would be necessary to develop the sexual implications and delimitations of this set of films.
10 / The perfect crime? But if so, for what discipline?
11 / An issue developed in “Proposta de partição por montagem disintensiva (catalegoria VI)”, an essay on Danièle Huillet and Jean-Marie Straub’s video montage Proposta in quattro parti di Jean-Marie Straub i Danièle Huillet (1985) (in AMORIM, 2011).
12 / This gesture could then take at least two directions:
1) “spatial form” as a (still) aesthetic measure for a film’s totality, and the consequent projection of Farber’s statement into the Godard case (“A film cannot exist outside of its spatial form. Everything in a good movie is of a piece (…) Godard doesn’t start a project until it is very defined in its use of space (…)” (ibid.: 695);
2) the possibility of a cinematographic spatial reform.
13 / Along these lines, it would be necessary to study the possibility that a certain brand of films, particularly in terms of cinema festivals and “independent” labels, might be described as nothing but “white elephants” (not very well) disguised as “termites” (an analogous possibility was suggested by Glauber Rocha while raging against the winners from the 1980 Venice Film Festival and the insulting presentation of A Idade da Terra 1980 at the same cinematographic event (place?)).
14 / For Farber, the reconsideration of space in cinema before the 60’s implies above all an interval displayed in-between Raoul Walsh’s illustratively innocent use of space and Howard Hawks’ tendency to circumvent conventions through meandering asides.
“The emphasis being given by today’s leading directors forces a look backward at what has been done in movie space. In Walsh’s What Price Glory? (1926), space is used innocently for illustrational purposes, which is not to say it isn’t used well. (…)
Whereas Walsh bends atmosphere, changes camera, singles out changes in viewpoint to give a deeper reaction to specific places, Hawks’ The Big Sleep (1948) ignores all the conventions of a gangster film to feast on meaningless business and witty asides” (ibid.: 693).
The pertinence of the examples, however, depends upon the critical revaluation of both directors’ available filmography.
15 / In the case of Negative Space’s textual space, this would imply the consideration of an implicit break intertwined in-between what is still too often described according too diffuse notions of “classical” and “modern” cinema: “What does one get from the vast sprawl of film reviewed in this book? That the spatial threads seamlessly knit together for the illustrative naturalism that serviced [Donald Crisp and Buster] Keaton’s Navigator  through [Hawks’] Red River  broke apart” (ibid.: 696).
As a counterpoint, Farber presents the following cases: Pier Paolo Pasolini’s Teorema (1968); Godard’s À bout de souffle (1960); Michelangelo Antonioni’s L’Avventura (1960). “Here,” it would also be necessary to consider the possibility that catallegory fatigue may a priori depose the “time-space” through which film criticism re-applies itself – and which, some might say, remains closed to Film Theory – for, and maybe even before, the so-called history of cinema (but only as if catallegory fatigue were not an imposition, just an act that precedes every capacity for positing cinema “in(to),” for instance, history and criticism).
16 / Or, for Farber, a consideration of three directors in terms of “the qualities that [he] like[d]”: Samuel Fuller’s filmography from 1949 to 1969 as an “art” case; the apparently sufficient mention of Chuck Jones’ The Road Runner Show cartoon series (1966-1973), a selection which deserves long developments; the peripheral, “irrational”, and meteorological bent of Godard’s Bande à part (1964).
“Why even invent two such categories: white elephant and termite, one tied to the realm of celebrity and affluence and the other burrowing into the nether world of privacy. The primary reason for the two categories is that all the directors I like – Fuller’s art brut styling; Chuck Jones Roadrunners; the inclement charm Godard gets with drizzly weather, the Paris outskirts, and three nuts scurrying around the same overcast Band of Outsiders terrain – are in the termite range, and no one speaks about them for the qualities that I like” (ibid.: 697).
In this introduction, the “termite-fungus-centipede art” was previously consigned in-between observing the world and being in it, but in such a way that an art-phagic trait has to be balanced by the so-called “outside world” (and a horizontal one at that): “Most of what I liked is in the termite area. The important trait of termite-fungus-centipede art is an ambulatory creation which is an act both of observing and being in the world, a journeying in which the artist seems to be ingesting both the material of his art and the outside world through a horizontal coverage” (id.: ibid.).
It could however be argued that the issue of a cinematographic “termite’s” qualities could also be described as a de-qualification of cinema, if one were to take into account Meister Eckhart’s reasoning “without qualities” in “Le Livre de la consolation divine” (see ECKHART, 1995: 129-171). An analogous gesture is proposed by Serge Daney regarding Godard's relation with cinema in the light of another Eckhart proposition (see “Le paradoxe Godard” [Revue Belge de cinéma. Jean-Luc Godard: Le cinéma: issue 22/23 published in 1988, and not issue 16 from 1986, as this edition states], in DANEY, 2012: 192; and AMORIM, 2013 a).
17 / Even as they remain a step for this step, cinematographic spaces display one another as witnesses for cinema in order to advocate what has been shown onto that which remains to be said, but if the components of space were relate to one another as places, would that happen only “in cinema” or also according to its so-called theories of cinematographic space (theories for such a space?). After all, and just as there never was only one space for cinema but several multiplicities, there is not a single “space theory” for cinema but a series of more or less hidden polemos (not a steady collection but a subtraction of polemical spaces which, here and there, could be taken as cinema’s permanent revolution, or at least knot).
In this direction, and besides an expansive study of the rhetoric of space in Farber’s writing, it would also be necessary to study the issue of cinematographic space according to, among others, S. M. Eisenstein, Dziga Vertov, André Bazin, Éric Rohmer, Noël Burch, Raymond Bellour, André Gardies, Stephen Heath, Barthélemy Amengual, Louis Seguin. This approach will be developed in a much longer version of this essay, placed alongside studies of cinephilia AS CINEPHAGIA AND ADDICTION and Stanley Cavell's allegorical history of reading George Cukor's Gaslight (AMORIM, 2015), in a work-in-progress titled Essays on Re-applied Catallegory Fatigue).
18 / If cinematographic space had a frontier, it would have to be shot and edited in or against further spaces and frontiers, ad nauseam and ad infinitum, while its (unlikely) conceptuality would imply both a possible misuse of the terms “critic” and “critical” when applied to films, as well as the “film critic’s” reposition before the history of the so-called art critic.
«Je n’y insiste pas – car cela impliquerait un travail historique et sociologique qui, je crois, n’a jamais été mené – mais ce qu’on appelle conventionnellement “critique de cinéma” n’a, sauf exceptions toutes célèbres, que peu de rapport avec l'idée de critique, et même avec l'actualisation, si défaillante soit-elle, de cette idée dans la “critique d’art” (laquelle, du moins, a des valeurs à défendre, fût-ce pour les pires raisons)» (AUMONT, 2007: 329).
19 / The question of cinematographic re-entries is presented in Da historicitação do cinema na(s) Histoire(s) du cinéma de Jean-Luc Godard (AMORIM, 2013 a), and developed in three works-in-progress.
a) Re-entry Tempos, comprised of a series of essays focusing on certain works (texts and films) of Mario Bava, Carmelo Bene, Bing Wang, Hollis Frampton, Raffaello Matarazzo, Peter Nestler, Jacques Rivette, Artavazd Peleshyan, and Frederick Wiseman;
b) Je suis là pour vous apprendre la démolition et le doute, composed in-between Carl Th. Dreyer’s Vampyr (1932), Edgar G. Ulmer’s Detour (1945), and Santiago Álvarez’s Now (1965);
c) Re-entradas – por uma história impertinente do cinema (take 3), where some of the cases considered are Fritz Lang's Das Testament der Dr. Mabuse (1933), John Ford's Fort Apache (1948), Russ Meyer's Up! (1976), Joe d’Amato's Anthropophagus (1980), and Fredric Wiseman’s (nearly) whole filmography as a countershot to so-called classical north-American cinema (the possibility of an impertinent history of cinema, on the other hand, is further developed in two forthcoming studies: Préparatifs impertinentes pour la question politique de l'histoire du cinéma (take 2) and Post-dated Prolegomena for the Completion of the History of Cinema (for an impertinent history of cinema, take 4)).
The question of cinematographic space will also be developed in an essay on Michael Snow’s La Région centrale (1971) as an exemplarily political film, part of another work-in-progress titled Politically cinema (the other angles of approach are: cinematographic canons; the delimitation of any “given” corpus; the candidates for an (unlikely) Copernican revolution in cinema; aference; montage as work; cinematographic death; the possibility of minimally political gestures intertwined before history and cinema).
Some implications of catallegory fatigue in terms of “the history of art” are addressed in A Dress Reharsal Sketch for the Privatization of “The History of Art” (AMORIM, 2014).
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