By Ellen Blumenstein, Jean-Louis Comolli, Céline Condorelli, Doris von Drathen, Nuria Enguita May,
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Extra info for Afterall: A Journal of Art, Context, and Enquiry volume 24 Spring 2010
Here the characters no longer have any freedom. And the viewer? Hardly any more. We can take this poorly, become alarmed that the system of frames prevents and even forbids any escape into the off-screen. We might (we should) suppose that the world bears within it a piece of reality which coincides with the non-visible and which might thereby elude the domination of the spectacle. That is not the gamble this ﬁlm takes. But there will be other ﬁlms by the same ﬁlm-maker that won’t take the same approach.
The two hazy ﬁgures take shape: they are two women, one behind the other. The second one carries a baby in her arms. They come closer still, and the face of the ﬁrst woman ﬁnally becomes distinguishable (it is the face of Maria Lipkina, Vanda’s ﬁctional sister). Her face is framed ever-more tightly by the rectangular window. In the end we see only her eyes, once again lost in a void that extends off-screen, in front of them. This gradual sharpening of her features is accompanied by powerful reframing that comes from the actress’s body itself: as we come to distinguish the young mother’s features, her body is reduced to her face, her face to her eyes.
What is always framed (screens of all kinds: ﬁlms, computers, televisions, games, mobile phones) produces images which appear to resemble (all things considered) what in the world is not framed. These imperceptible frames fabricate framed images that overlay our unframed gaze and perhaps take its place. In other words, we increasingly see through frames and the optical adjustments of machines for seeing. All of cinema’s striving for ‘technological’ development (the transition from black-and-white to colour, from the almost-square frame of early cinema to the excessively wide screens of today, from silent to sound and then talking cinema and now to 3-D) has been a way of naturalising the ﬁlm image, of domesticating it and making it familiar.
Afterall: A Journal of Art, Context, and Enquiry volume 24 Spring 2010 by Ellen Blumenstein, Jean-Louis Comolli, Céline Condorelli, Doris von Drathen, Nuria Enguita May,