Film, Form and Phantasy: Adrian Stokes and Film Aesthetics (Language, Discourse, Society)
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This book explores the ideas of the neglected English aesthetician and art historian, Adrian Stokes. Stokes's Kleinian-based concepts of carving and modelling are analyzed in relation to film, arguing that they replace the traditional notions of realism and montage in film theory and provide a set of aesthetics which encompasses mainstream and "art" cinema. This Kleinian psychoanalytic approach is applied to the films of Eisenstein, Rossellini, Hitchcock and others.
the Stokesian ‘aesthetic’ that undermines the instinctual aspects of Klein’s approach to which Stokes owes, for an object-relations one. If Ford’s handkerchiefs are ‘transitional objects’, they would signify the anxiety attendant on occupying the space between the loss of self in the paranoid-schizoid position and the otherness of the depressive position. It is a tantalising pointer perhaps to further research. It has been often observed that Ford’s sensibility tends to the melancholic. And in
represents the opposite pole to Ford, being a montageist by instinct, an aesthete in film style, an often cruel eroticist, a dealer in extreme mental states and the terrifying and horrific private world of the murderer and pervert, and a dry British sense of humour.3 Both directors were also deeply committed to film as mass ‘entertainment’ and yet both took an aesthetic view of their films, constructing atmospheres, 174 Modelling Values and Alfred Hitchcock 175 feelings and moods over and
representation. Wollheim is largely concerned with meaning in a painting Representation, Depiction and Portrayal in Film 21 when we can assume what the painting is of. It is perhaps the case that for Wollheim recognition of the painting as a representation of something, however basic that may be, is a primitive ability we have that is irreducible in terms of explanation. Much like a child comes to recognise its mother’s face, so we can recognise a face in a painting.51 Of course, this does
otherwise nor as from the artist’s own viewpoint, but rather as how the artist ‘would have it seen’. In other words, an imaginative ideal object is created in particular works, an art that is no longer restricted by classical rules based on the imitation of nature or by the idea of the optical autonomy of the painter. Subjectivity reigns in Mannerism proper according to Friedlaender, one which is the source of the fragmentation, distortion, energies and unnaturalness associated with Mannerist
Darling Clementine, The Searchers and many more. Gilberto Perez has offered the view that Ford ‘feminised’ the Western: [L]inear narrative, with its drive toward a finish, its harnessing of character and situation to the forward movement of action, its thrust toward a climax, Carving Values and John Ford 161 is a mode many feminists consider intrinsically masculine. If that is so, then Ford’s style of narrative – relaxed, digressive, episodic, prone to dwelling on character and situation in