SOME NOTES ON CINEMATIC MOVEMENTS Robert Gessner Cinema three is the most modern disciplines: as reproductive shutter science

, of the languages science, because and art. it combines Cinema involving and utilizes



as technology such technical lighting, per-

may be described factors

representation speeds, cinema

of reality,

as lens openings, As social

depth of field, examines


sensitivity, and sociological appears

and the like. ception, create

psychological As art, cinema

all that constitute faces



to me to and

of time extended

into space

and light, forming meanings.


both animate


that convey


and intellectual

As a language, sors

then, cinema

may be utilized studies

for whatever


its possesdiscipline,

might wish from astronomical its maturity any language

to zen lyrics.

As a humanistic

however, renders

and growth depend upon its unique grammar, useful, whether it be mere may emerge of differences craft or artistic and which,

which is what creation. Grammar

is truly the hub from which spokes Grammars, actually, are notations

in turn, move the wheel. distinctions of intent

which enable


and appreciations of comprehension.
the hours of visual gibberish

Unfortunately, cinema lacks grammar - witness
moment of lucid and literate expres-

with an occasional

sion. It may be argued that the study of grammar is not essential tour through Europe; similarly,

for a rapid Cook's

someone may spend a lifetime sitting before a TV

lamp and not know what images could mean.
On one hand, there is the optimistic belief in Kant's dictum that the law of

universal causation is a principle of the possibility
others than skeptics know that perceptional validity

of experience.
is subject

On the other hand,

to the similar

of reasoning by induction. Subjective or individual authority as receiver
is based on grammatical knowledge on an elementary level,

or audience

and the democratic

manities at the highest level.

Personal talent, as sender and receiver,

is not to be

taken for granted. "Hundreds of people can talk," observed Ralph Waldo Emerson, "for one who can see." All too obviously, seeing is reality. perception is awareness,
The grammar

Seeing is looking, an optical capacity; and visual sensitivity. Grammar,

involving visual intelligence

then, is the means of evolving seeing into perceiving.
of cinema has failed to develop, largely, I believe, due to the

tyranny of the fixed frame. The most immediate of the dictators has been the proscenium stage, and the most ancient has been the dictatorship of the painter's frame.

Time restricted

by space is the only, or sole, inheritance cinema has acquired from Space need not be restricted or

the older arts, namely, movement within the frame.

confined by frame any more than time is strictly to a matter of consecutive seconds. Curiously, this is also true in the novel. Alfred Kazin has taken Lawrence Durrell to task: "When Mr. Durrell so sharply separates
something which in the representation

space from time he is attempting
is impossible,

of actual human experience

since we do not think of space apart from time." Men think generally of time in terms of three grammatical categories: past, present, and future. Cinema has past, present, and future, and more so. Movement within the frame may be normal, slow, or fast. The frame, through pans, tilts, and tracking, may have similar velocities In addition to camera-controlled
frames future. themselves, edited motion

of being normal, slow, or fast. movements within frames and manipulation of
than the traditional past, present,

is more variable


There are two types of present time in cinema: first, continuous, the approximation of sixty seconds to the minute, the matched cut, the unity of time and space in the continuity of an uninterrupted rhythmic flow. Mainly, the camera records, the edit records. Secondly, the parallel present. simultaneous time. We may, literally,
Intolerance, in four places

We may experience simultaneous space at be in two places at once, or, in the case of
ages simultaneously in an aesthetic as

at four different

well as an intellectual sense. There are also two types of past time in cinema: first, the flashback, when
time is distinctly previous, though its unfolding may be continuous, but of that time.

Thus far the flashback, or past time, has been primarily narrative. cism."

Perceptionally "For if one assorts of

this need not be the case, as Bertrand Russell observed in "The Limits of EmpiriH. H. Price developed the thought in his book, Perception:
that there is, in fact, a universal correlation between

two different

events, it is possible to infer from an occurrence of one an instance of the other, with equal validity, whatever may be their temporal relationship;
legitimate to say that the future 'determines' the past in exactly

so that it seems
the same sense in

which the past 'determines'
the conclusion of a flashback,

the future." This we may observe in cinema when, at
we are once again in the present, which then seems

to be the future. Conversely, following an accelerated Time in cinema is truly relative.
A second type of past time

or jump cut, a continuous what it is.

flow may seem to be a flashback or a previous time, which is precisely

is a slower-than-continuous

time other than slow

motion, a camera trick.

It may be referred to as decelerated time, a prolongation

of the present with part of the past. Like the Bunny Dance among the Sioux, there is a step backward for every two forward. A minute may acquire, thus, more than sixty seconds. The slowing down is an edited factor, not done by shutter speed. edit, or jump cut, acFuture appears to be simply future: an accelerated

complished by editing. Acceleration within the frame, another camera trick, also reduces the sixty-seconds-to-the-minute rhythm. Both the accelerated edit and the fast shutter speed are examples of future time brought closer to the present perception.


Here follows to the grammar

a chart of lexical motion: O



as a guide,

not a decalogue,

of cinematic

PAST 4< (five techniques) Slow motion within frame Slow pan or slow truck Flashback

PRESENT (five techniques) Normal within motion frame

FUTURE (four techniques) Accelerated editing Fast pan or fast truck Fast motion within frame

Normal pan or normal truck Continuous editing Parallel editing Decelerated edit of temporal alterations

As summary, be identified (4) accelerated as:


of space

and objects

may edit,

(1) subject edit,

movement, edit,

(2) frame (6) past edit, faces


(3) continuous edit.

(5) parallel

(7) decelerated of time,

Velocity, of subject,

which may vary in any and all of the seven camera movement, and shutter speed.

is in terms

A final word about the films: dating of the Kuleshov-Pudovkin props Center, titled are modernized;


Study is an extra actor

"short," Mosjukhin.

an upThe


with the Russian

it is the first

film to be shot inside so. The Faces of Time section,


Loeb Drama not

and, I am told, appropriately for identification; editing; under Number

are numbered,

2, the first number


"A" is still tested. identifi(size,


the final segment, matter

7 is also being editorially to involve

The subject cation. angle, Other areas depth, scale);

has been designed

more than temporal (1) Plastic alterations

of inquiry are,

for the time being: (medium, associations

(2) Light alterations atmosphere:

high, low keys,

and texture); receptional capaci-

(3) Analysis environment, ties;

of apperceptive receptional

prior to viewing,


during viewing; sensitivity NOTE

(4) examination and in visual

of optical intelligence.

and finally

(5) instruction

in visual



paper was accompanied The Faces

by an extraordinary The film shows

film he how the

made at Harvard during 1962-1963,

of Time.


variables example,


in the article

can all be used to produce past another




the movement

of one object forward

can be achieved


object movement or camera movement or even by changing lighting. The effects in Professor Gessner's film are pure cinema - I could find no way, alas, to reproduce
pages of this journal. The Editor.

them in the fixed and two-dimensional


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