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Title: From camera to code : Godard, Resnais and the problem of representation in film theory
Author: Vaughan, Michael Hunter
ISNI:       0000 0004 2678 1474
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2008
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This thesis presents a theory of film representation as a process of organizing relations in order to connote the image's status as a type of representation. It is, thus, a study of film form, the form of its representations. Building from such theoretical sources as Merleau- Ponty and Deleuze, I hope here to use a phenomenological base to build a theory of film semiotics that focuses on the immanent field of film representation, which I will postulate as a structuring of the inter-dependent relationship between the content of representation and the signified source of representation. This relationship is infused through a film text according to various modes of differentiation: between the viewer and viewed, speaker and spoken or what, using principles of phenomenology, I call the problem of subject-object relations. In this study I use this framework of subject-object relations in order to re-conceptualize the problem of film representation and to systematize the fundamental debates in film theory. I will argue that even oppositional theories of film representation can be reconciled through their attempt to understand this immanent field as being organized so as to structure a relationship between the representation and an origin of meaning, or subject-function. This relationship is what I call a system of reference. The filmic subject-function is traditionally located within the camera itself or hi the diegetic subjectivity of a character; I will call these two systems of reference, respectively, objective and subjective representation. And, through a reconstruction of Deleuze's Cinéma project, I will argue that the immanent field of film representation is a constant fluctuation between these two poles, a dialogic circulation of interacting agencies and discourses. This thesis illustrates this fluctuation through a comparative analysis of two French filmmakers, Alain Resnais and Jean-Luc Godard. I will argue that, illustrating similar goals as one finds in the works of Merleau-Ponty and Deleuze, these two filmmakers radically deconstruct film codes in order to destroy the conventional division between interior and exterior that is imposed by classical notions of subjectivity.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Criticism and interpretation ; Motion pictures ; History and criticism ; Representation (Philosophy) ; France