A Moment of Innocence (Moshen Makhmalbaf / Iran / 1996)
Q: What is it like to move between cinema and philosophy?
By relation, they are not opposites. Nor can we define this movement as absence or presence of one another, as in the closer it is to cinema, the more it becomes an absence of philosophy or the closer it is to philosophy, the more obscure cinema becomes. Instead, the movement must be conceived as a violent movement of thinking between the two disciplines. Thought bridges the two disciplines. It forms a plane where two disciplines co-exist, where the film image and its affects co-exists with concepts, where Orson Welles is adjacent to Baruch Spinoza, where a cinematographic cut can be thought off alongside with the concept of the panopticon.
Is this plane possible? Cine-philosophical plane is not separate from the real world. Well, it is real because, as we speak, it is being constructed in this text. This hypertext participates and collaborates in the signification of its unstable and fleeting existence in this world. It exists not because we believe in it, but because its expressible intensities, the words ‘cinephilosophical plane’ and its expressivity emitted by several LED components of your screen is within – and this is where philosophy kicks in – the order of the visible, the sensible, the perceptible, the expressible. Its visibility, its signifying movement in the digital plane, its inscription in the global network of information called the internet as pixilated bits grants its mobility and existence in the world.
The question: is the ‘cine-philosophical plane’ fiction or real? is no longer important. Because as we speak, the movement of the fictive layer of our world: God, the Virgin Mary, the Terminator, Neo of the Matrix, String theory, Harry Potter is already at work more than ever. Each is deployed at various intensities, each affects us in an incorporeal manner – in other words, we are moved even by fiction. It is very hard to think of the real world divorced from fictions. Social scientist Bruno Latour theorized that the effect of incorporeal and corporeal events are very much alike but differ in their intensities of affectation. As Levi Bryant puts it ‘the incorporeal and corporeal realms are equally capable of having effects on the world.’ Cinema and literature, and even music, are not divorced from these fictions. In fact, they feed from it. They are industries of fictions and incorporeal intensities, which move us beyond the ordinary banal world we experience. They create new worlds, new modes of thinking, new sensations, most of which cannot be captured by the vapidity and simplicity of the real world. And this is where the ‘cine-philosophical plane’ reside, as a between-plane between two plateaus of discourse: the first one, cinema, a plateau of affects, percepts, sensations and the second one, philosophy, a plateau of concepts and relations.
For cinephiles, filmmakers and even film scholars, the common misconception of cinephilosophy is that it is field where cinema can be conceived as a philosophy, or in other variants, in order to conceive a film, one must consult philosophy: “I must apply Marxism in this film. I must apply Freud’s Interpretation of Dreams. I must show the idea of Baudrillard’s simulacra.” Miguel de Beistegui, reiterating Deleuze’s famous talk on philosophy and art in 1987 entitled ‘What is the Creative Act?’, that artists and scientists ‘do not need the help of philosophers to reflect on their respective field: the only ones who can adequately reflect on mathematics are the mathematicians themselves, on film the filmmakers, etc.’