Inverted identification: Bergson and phenomenology in Deleuze's cinema books

Deleuze's cinema books are often understood as adopting a Bergsonian framework while rejecting phenomenological accounts of film experience for equating ‘cinematographic perception’ with ‘natural perception’; or, alternatively, simply as being a phenomenological inquiry. Reading Deleuze's comments on, and references to, phenomenology in the cinema books (especially Merleau-Ponty, Laffay, and Dufrenne), this paper argues that while not following a phenomenological logic in general, at certain moments the cinema books' Bergsonian account intersects with phenomenology. Moreover, in the books, the existence of movement-images in the cinema depends on the spectator's experience of watching films. The logic explaining this encounter is indebted to the account of the experience of art and cinema in phenomenology which Deleuze combines with the discussion of ‘real’ movements in Bergson's Creative Evolution. This reliance on a specific ‘passive’ viewer's experience can explain the books' limited interest in early cinema and in television, video, and the digital image.

Author Name: 
Hagin, Boaz
Journal: 
New Review of Film and Television Studies
Citation: 
Boaz Hagin, Inverted identification: Bergson and phenomenology in Deleuze’s cinema books, New Review of Film and Television Studies, 11: 3 (2013), pp. 262-287.