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Motion(less) PicturesThe Cinema of Stasis$
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Justin Remes

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780231169639

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231169639.001.0001

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The Filmic

(p.1) 1 Introduction
Motion(less) Pictures

Justin Remes

Columbia University Press

This introductory chapter presents an overview of the cinema of stasis. Static films offer radical challenges to conventional conceptions of cinema, since they are supposedly motion pictures without motion. In most films, an impression of movement is provided either by the motion of the camera or the motion of elements within the mise-en-scène—usually both. In contrast, static films generally feature no camera movement and little or no movement within the frame. Instead, these films foreground stasis, and consequently blur the lines between traditional visual art and motion pictures. The tradition of static cinema started in 1930 with Walter Ruttmann's Weekend (Wochenende, 1930). The film features a rich, evocative sound track of voices, clocks, alarms, and other “found” sounds, but the screen remains blank and motionless in the work's entire eleven-minute duration.

Keywords:   cinema of stasis, static films, motion pictures, traditional visual art, static cinema, Walter Ruttmann, Weekend

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