Overview[ edit ] Apparatus theory maintains that cinema is by nature ideological because its mechanics of representation are ideological, and because the films are created to represent reality. Its mechanics of representation include the camera and editing. The central position of the spectator within the perspective of the composition is also ideological. In the simplest instance the cinematic apparatus purports to set before the eye and ear realistic images and sounds. However, the technology disguises how that reality is put together frame by frame. This effect is ideological because it is a reproduced reality and the cinematic experience affects the viewer on a deep level.

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How the cinematic apparatus is actually more important for transcendentalism in the subject than the film itself. This, he claims, is what distinguishes cinema as an art form. Its inscription, its manifestation as such, on the other hand, would produce a knowledge effect, as actualization of the work process, as denunciation of ideology, and as a critique of idealism. Sociologically, idealism emphasizes how human ideas — especially beliefs and values — shape society.

Philosophically it asserts that reality, or reality as we can know it, is fundamentally mental, mentally constructed, or otherwise immaterial. Baudry then discusses the necessity of transcendence which he will touch upon more later in his essay. It consists of individual frames, separate, however minutely, from each other in image. However, when projected the frames create meaning, through the relationship between them, creating a juxtapositioning and a continuity.

But only on one condition can these differences create this illusion: they must be effaced as differences. When such discontinuity is made apparent then to Baudry both transcendence, meaning in the subject, and ideology can be impossible. So what is the importance of this effacement of discontinuity in frames.

Both, fool the subject the viewer and the self into believing in a continuity, while both occasionally providing glimpses of the actual discontinuity present in the construction. Or as Baudry puts it…. As the camera follows the arc of a ball flying through the air, the frame itself mimics this arc, becomes an arc itself. Baudry moves on to how he believes the subject is so able to become consciously enmeshed in the film. The subject sees all, he or she ascends to a nobler status, a god perhaps, he or she sees all of the world that is presented before them, the visual image is the world, and the subject sees all.

Add to this that the ego believes that what is shown is shown for a reason, that whatever it sees has purpose, has meaning. And you have a subject who is given great power and a world in which he or she is entitled to meaning. Film derives meaning from the subject.

This is problematic for two reasons, 1. The mirrored image is not the child itself but instead a reflected image, and 2. The reflected is image presents a whole, something the child will continually strive for but never reach. It is a continually unfulfilled desire, an empty signifier. Note the similarity between this and the constructed image on screen.

Between the imaginary gathering of the fragmented body into a unity and the transcendentality of the self, giver of unifying meaning, the current is indefinitely reversible. The relationship between the camera and the subject. The camera needs to seize the subject in a mode of specular reflection. The forms of narrative adopted, the contents, are of little importance so long as identification remains possible.

Do you believe it? If someone could distill it into plain English, I think I can actually start making sense of this essay.


Jean-Louis Baudry

Nerr From Light to Byte: These daguerreotypes eventually gave way to the first modern photographs in the middle of the 19th century, culminating in when Eastman introduced celluloid as the material basis for photography. This filmmaking article is a stub. Reynolds Roberto Kutcher W. Positions the spectator as an ideal or transcendental gaze, the master of a visually meaningful world.


Apparatus theory


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