Distinguishing the indistinguishable: types and figures of invisibility and impossibility in David Lynch's Lost Highway and Michael Haneke's Caché

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference Paper

Abstract

Articulating exactly what a film presents is challenging, partly because cinema has many ways of "presenting the invisible" (such as exploiting the differences between images or manipulating the relationship of sound to image). A full appreciation of narrative film involves distinguishing between images, but this cannot be adequately accomplished if we restrict ourselves to their manifest content. V. F. Perkins argues, for example, that what we perceive relies on interpretation: 'intra-textual understanding depends on extra-textual information not only about facts but about values'. Jacques Rancière interrogates Deleuze's distinction between movement-image and time-image along related lines: 'if Deleuze has to allegorize this rupture by means of emblems taken from the stories, isn't it because it cannot be identified as an actual difference between types of images?'
This paper will explore two films that contain distinctions which cannot easily be assigned to particular types of image. Michael Haneke's Caché relies on a distinction between images that are also images within the diegesis and those which are not; the two types of image are, however, often indistinguishable on a purely visual level. The paradoxical narrative of David Lynch's Lost Highway might be explained as a series of distorted fantasties that flash through the mind of a man dying in the electric chair; but what kind of diegesis is it that is never shown, directly, to the viewer? My aim is to use invisible difference as a tool to show how cinema can refine our sense of the unrepresentable, revealing its complexity and variegation.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 12 Apr 2018
EventBAFTSS 6th Annual Conference 2018: Revolution: Politics, Technology, Aesthetics - University of Kent, Canterbury, United Kingdom
Duration: 12 Apr 201813 Apr 2018
http://baftss.org/conf-2018/

Conference

ConferenceBAFTSS 6th Annual Conference 2018
CountryUnited Kingdom
CityCanterbury
Period12/04/1813/04/18
Internet address

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