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Evading temporality: peaks of present in Luis Buuels films

Irina-Gabriela Rus is a Ph.D. student at Space, Image, Text, Territory Doctoral


School at CESI Center of Excellence in Image Study, an academic structure under the
Faculty of Letters, University of Bucharest. The title of her Ph.D. Thesis is Anxiety and
Laughter in the Works of Francis Bacon and James Ensor. Her research interests include
fields such as anthropology, art history, film theory, visual culture, critical theory, which she
pursues either individually, or interdisciplinary. She will be attending a conference of similar
thematic in December 2015 Concepts of Simultaneity with the presentation
Simultiplicy in the films of Bla Tarr.
Luis Buuels films after 1960 seem to be traversed by reveries the characters indulge
themselves in, that gradually become something considerably different, as we can no longer
discern their exercises of imagination from the actual course of events. The presents multiply
themselves; they spur in all directions, at times even contradicting each other. They are no
longer reveries, but possibilities that can actualize into reality at any time, embryos of the real
that can equally emerge into concreteness. Buuel evades this process of transformation, it is
not the embodiment of possibilities into the real that he seeks to depict, but the ceaseless
splitting of the present, or the peaks of present as Gilles Deleuze would say.
The Phantom of Liberty is the finest illustration of this concept: the photographs are
and arent pornographic, the little girl is at the same time lost and not lost, the sniper from the
window flees after randomly shooting a few people, but at the same time continues killing
until the police find him. Buuel not only refines his cinematic peaks of present, but also
transcends them, diving further and further into the instinctual dimension that surfaces from
the absurd situations and scenarios he creates. What sort of bouleversement of temporality is
he trying to reach, is it possible that his propensity to create peaks of present takes him
further than the realm of time? These are some of the questions that will be addressed while
analyzing Buuels films from a deleuzian and bergsonian perspective.