Cartographic Cinema by Tom Conley

By Tom Conley

Cartography and cinema are what may be referred to as locational equipment. Maps and films inform their audience the place they're positioned, what they're doing, and, to a robust measure, who they're. during this groundbreaking paintings, eminent student Tom Conley establishes the ideological strength of maps in vintage, modern, and avant-garde cinema to form the imaginary and mediated kin we carry with the realm. Cartographic Cinema examines the affinities of maps and flicks via comparative concept and shut research of flicks from the silent period to the French New Wave to Hollywood blockbusters. In doing so, Conley unearths that almost all of the films we see comprise maps of assorted varieties and nearly perpetually represent a projective gear just like cartography. furthermore, he demonstrates that spatial indicators in movie foster a serious relation with the present narrative and mimetic registers of cinema. Conley convincingly argues that the very act of observing motion pictures, and cinema itself, is really a sort of cartography. in contrast to its functionality in an atlas, a map in a film frequently reasons the spectator to entertain broader questions—not merely approximately cinema but additionally of the character of area and being.

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Paris qui dort: Albert, in a maze, descending the spiral staircase of the Eiffel Tower. 32 ICARIAN CINEMA Two Spatial Stories The narrative begins when the protagonist reaches the ground. The watchman becomes a pedestrian in search of lost time. The sequence that follows seems to be a cavalcade of images of sites and monuments evacuated of people, but that here and there are replaced by statues. Albert crosses the Pont Alexandre III and then effortlessly—without any interference of trafWc—reaches the sculpted caryatids next to the arcs of running water of the fountain adjacent to the obelisk of the Place de la Concorde.

The map will serve as one of two epigraphs for a reading of René Clair’s Wrst feature, Paris qui dort (1923) (The Crazy Ray), a Wlm that begins with what would seem to be a view of the contemporary city in the style of Turgot. 1 The novel begins with a dialogue between the narrator and an Englishman, visiting Paris, who compares the city to a monstre difforme (a deformed monster), a “receptacle of extreme opulence and excessive misery” (1999, 29). Disgusted by the decadent state of both Paris and London, he follows Rousseau’s steps in wishing to Wnd a village where, “in pure air and with tranquil pleasure I might deplore the fate of the sad inhabitants of these lavish prisons that go by the name of cities” (31).

He scribbles a mass of equations on blackboard set to the right of the telephone on the wall. Once the surface is Wlled with images, numbers, square roots, and Wgures of a tower and circles, he pulls a lever that precipitates a montage that brings motion to all of the frozen vignettes, seen earlier, of everyday life in Paris. During his work at the blackboard everyone in the room falls asleep. Both versions coincide in the episodes depicting the group’s return to the travails of everyday life, especially where they meet and depart from the Pont d’Iéna.

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