From 'Film is Truth' to 24 Frames: Cinematic 'Revelationism' in Jean-Luc Godard's Late Films and the Cinema of Abbas Kiarostami. 01/10/2018 - 30/09/2020


This project aims to further understanding of the aesthetic paradigm at work in the cinema of Abbas Kiarostami and late Jean-Luc Godard. This paradigm – essentially an answer to the question posed by André Bazin of what cinema is – I want to call 'revelationism'. It can be traced back to the 'ontological tradition' in 1950's French film theory. As a new art form grounded in the unique representational properties of the photographic image, Bazin thought cinema capable of revealing reality. The 'semiotic tradition', on the other hand, stressed the mediated nature of the image and criticized Bazin's ontology - and the 'long-take' style that he favoured - for encouraging 'mysticism'. Despite their association with Bazinian aesthetics, the films of Kiarostami and late Godard rely for the better part on Eisensteinian constructivist tactics of 'montage' that question the direct reproducibility of 'reality'. Starting from this apparent discrepancy, my proposal is organized around three central questions: first, how revelationism as a historical paradigm, informs the work of these contemporary filmmakers. Secondly, I will ask which audio-visual strategies and stylistic forms are employed by Kiarostami and Godard to actualise or reexamine these theoretical presuppositions. And third, I will ask in what ways their constructivist approach towards revelationist aesthetics can be seen to constitute a synthesis between 'ontological' and 'semiotic' traditions in film theory.


Research team(s)