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Where Film Meets PhilosophyGodard, Resnais, and Experiments in Cinematic Thinking$
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Hunter Vaughan

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780231161336

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231161336.001.0001

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Alain Resnais and the Code of Subjectivity

Alain Resnais and the Code of Subjectivity

(p.139) Four Alain Resnais and the Code of Subjectivity
Where Film Meets Philosophy

Hunter Vaughan

Columbia University Press

This chapter discusses the connotative structure through which human subjectivity is simulated in film and how this renders cinema capable of performing a philosophical function. It analyzes Alan Resnais' films Last Year in Marienbad (1961), Hiroshima mon amour (1959), and The War is Over (1966) as examples of how human subjectivity is decodified in cinema. Resnais deconstructed the “code of subjectivity” in order to experiment with understanding an individual's relationship to the world in terms of political action. This deconstruction is based heavily on the recurrence of certain formal interactions, including alterations to the speech-image code, camera movement, and the constant interruption of denotation by varying types of insert sequence. The chapter challenges popular readings of Resnais that are erroneous and counterproductive and reframes his cinema as part of a connotative subversion of the implications of certainty and unilateralism implicit in classical conventions and constructions of subjectivity.

Keywords:   human subjectivity, film, cinema, Alan Resnais, Last Year in Marienbad, Hiroshima mon amour, The War is Over, code of subjectivity

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