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ontologia del cinema

Being and Cinema: beyond Time in Poetic Cinema

Judith Sacal
p. 151-154


Since its origins, cinema makes an irruption into the world bringing a new reality that inserts itself into a changing social and cultural environment. Raising as an “art of the time” it contributes to the generation of a new perception development and a new aesthetic that brings a “state of encounter” that disrupts the usual relationship between the spectator and the visible while it emerges with a temporary space that interacts among the time experience. The present becomes a contracted past and the memory can be visualized. Cinema becomes an event with a revealing function that will always question its definition and concept.

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1Cinema, as an artistic discovery emerges as a new and genuine world image. It appears as a revelation, as a passionate desire that irrupts and violent the world laws.

2The “Poetic cinema” resides far away from theories or definition; beyond meanings or interpretations it is found in a space without a place. It’s a fact that the sense of the poetic description and explanations are inserted in it. But the meaning’s search for an objective lecture is not really the purpose of it. The “Poetic cinema” is not looking for any justification as a criticism generator; it does not bring a conceptual schema where each data refers to a forceful interpretation.

3If we trace the origins of what “poetic” means, there is no doubt that Aristotle comes to scenario with Ars Poetica (335 b.C.), but Paul Valéry is the one who makes a reflection to revaluate “poetic” meaning, not just understanding that to compile the formal fixed rules was an intended determinant way of doing fine art, but thinking it as the “doing” that involves the production of the work placed within its economic universe in relation with an author, his work and the spectator. The work of the creator is placed, very often, beyond the work creation itself, causing uncertainty over the effects and the eventual consequences of this production.

4Looking up for the understanding of this way of art, leaving the theoretical foundations aside, there is an urgency to go far beyond the cinematographic work to make an approach through the effects in the personal experience. Lending the basic ideas of Edmund Husserl (1859-1938) and the phenomenological attitude, “Poetic cinema” shows that we are in front of an “inner subjective” cinema. The spectator turns into a contemplator who leaves the world “presence” and everything that surrounds and determines it aside.

  • 1  Husserl 2006: 42.

5Husserl’s phenomenology responds to descriptions, not explanations. And is into this phenomenological attitude that life gets interrupted and forces us, incorporating us into a subjective time, where the world is assumed as a “being” reality at the moment that it belongs to all our real and possible experiences. As Edmund Husserl mentioned: «the philosophical attitude is the one of the pure contemplator, a contemplator that describes what is seen»1.

  • 2  Wittgenstein 2010: 27

6When Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951) made one of his most important asseverations in Tractatus logico-philosophicus: «what can be said at all can be said clearly; and whereof one cannot speak thereof one must be silent»2 he showed us that most of the time the power of the word is insufficient. Involving a person and relating him to the entire world is the true meaning of the cinema. “Poetic cinema” means that there is a cinema that gets moved within its own images through what is concrete and factual, as real life experience itself, reaffirming its own structural totality.

7It has no rules, allegories or symbols; it just shows the world reality into time flux. If time appears in the shape of a fact, the fact is given as a simpler shape; direct observation is the main and basic element in cinema. Discovery means to know or see something for the first time, but eternity has always being there. The truth is not discovered for the first time, it is rediscovered once and again. Truth in cinema captures the past and the future coexisting in a present image. Reality cannot be separated from an image, so it is the direct presence of time.

8Art, as science, is a way of assimilating the world, an instrument to know it in this life adventure, searching for an absolute truth. But man, not just knows, he also creates. And the difference between art and science as ways of knowledge are the scientific and aesthetic approaches. Through art the man takes the reality that is in the subjective experience, while the scientist knows the world through the replacement of the old knowledge with new ones in his search for a particular and objective truth.

9Truth concept had changed its meaning along the centuries, but Husserl’s approaches refer that the truth concept can only be reinforced through the personal experience.

10Nothing can be as significant as the word “search” applied to a work of art. The development and process have the same importance as the work of art in his totality. Behaving the same way as poetry, playing within multi-dimensional spaces, the poet gives us a present that is seen through his eyes. In cinema, the camera lens captivates the director’s gaze, his selection. The distance that is established between the eye, the lens and the reality, turns inside out to replace the gaze of the observer into being observed.

11The spectator sees a new reality through multiple gazes with somebody else eyes. Repeating the watching act of the director, he can see what appears in front of him, around him and into him. Each gaze finds a knot through a subtle and sensitive recognition tissue. The spectator direct contact with the film turns him into a negotiator. The result is an achieved immediacy into a relational time-space with inner human experiences.

12Thus, “Poetic cinema” is a mixture of elements and senses that gets woven into everyday life, restraining to be symbolized, meaning that every frame can be enough to say it all.

13Life is a great paradox. It is not linear, nor logical. Time gets understood as a language product with a one-way structure: past, present, future. For real, there is neither a past nor a future, only the present. Our language is a consequence of the memory and it’s engaged with it. Compromising ourselves with the memory, we think the past or the future; even tough the future is just a new projection of the past. In this back and forward between past and future, our present remains lost, and that is our only reality.

14Time and memory fuse each other. They are like two sides of the same coin. It is obvious that without the time, memory could not exist. But memory is something so complex that there are not enough definitions for it’s whole meaning. So, memory is a spiritual concept.

15Into the time, something vital and new is always happening. Maybe is because cinema transforms the time into perfection. Making it visible, creating a time emotion, which is other than the lived time, it shows a different time.

16The “time” question remains an enigma. Cinema gets constructed with time, and generates time. Even though we can perceive the temporality in it, the cinema’s experience allows us to live it in interiority. That particular “time”, perceived within it’s movement, always seems like escaping from its own center to show us all the disproportions and ruptures that lye beyond the logical thinking.

17Time seems irreversible when we think of bringing back the past. But, what is the past? What does the past means for someone when that is the only clue in our reality that confirms us that there was a present? In a certain way, the past sense is much more real, persistent and stable than our present.

18The present vanishes and disappears like sand on our hands, just when it becomes concrete and gains material weight is the only way to collect it.

19The “Poetic cinema” time cannot disappear without leaving a trace because it belongs to a subjective and spiritual category. The experienced time of the film is a live one. With all the effects and affections it settles in our soul as an inhabited time experience.

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Husserl, E.

– 2006, The phenomenological attitude: Differentiating the phenomenological intuition or perception of pure lived experience from the inner perception of psychic experience, in The basic problems of phenomenology – From the Lectures Winter Semester, 1910-1911, trans. by I. Farin and J.G. Hart, Heidelberg, Springer

San Martín, J.

– 1987, La fenomenología de Husserl como utopia de la razón, Buenos Aires, Anthropos Editorial

Valéry, P.

– 1937, Discours sur l’esthétique, Discourse pronounced at the second International Congress of aesthetics and science of art Variété IV, Nrf, Paris

Wittgenstein, L.

– 2010, Preface to Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (1922), New York, Cosimo

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1  Husserl 2006: 42.

2  Wittgenstein 2010: 27

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Per citare questo articolo

Notizia bibliografica

Judith Sacal, «Being and Cinema: beyond Time in Poetic Cinema»Rivista di estetica, 46 | 2011, 151-154.

Notizia bibliografica digitale

Judith Sacal, «Being and Cinema: beyond Time in Poetic Cinema»Rivista di estetica [Online], 46 | 2011, online dal 30 novembre 2015, consultato il 14 juin 2024. URL:; DOI:

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