#3 CINÉ- TRACTS A JOURNAL OF FILM AND CULTURAL STUDIES PSYCHOANALYSIS AND THE CINEMA Saul Landau: The Truth Lies on the Cutting Room Floor Raymond Williams on Realism John Berger on Jonah Articles on Walter

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#3 CINÉ- TRACTS A JOURNAL OF FILM AND CULTURAL STUDIES PSYCHOANALYSIS AND THE CINEMA Saul Landau: The Truth Lies on the Cutting Room Floor Raymond Williams on Realism John Berger on Jonah Articles on Walter Benjamin & Jacques Rivette No. 3 JONAH $2.50/ 1.50 cineaste JUMP CUT a review of contemporary cinema JUMP CUT NO. 16 SPECIAL SECTION: GAY MEN AND FILM Healthcaring Films BROTHERS KING KONG Ideology of TV JEANNE DIELMAN PO Box 865 Berkeley CA issue sub $4, Canada and Abroad $5. Single copies of the current issue 75 / $1. Bulk orders over 10 with cash 30% discount. Writers send SASE for guide. SUMMER 1977 ISSUE Frank Capra and the Popular Front ; exclusive interview with Tomas G. Alea, Cuban director of MEMORIES OF UNDERDEVELOPMENT, plus an analysis of the film; interview with Roberto Rossellini, who talks about his (last) film on Karl Marx; A Second Look at CASABLANCA ; interview with the filmmakers of HARLAN COUNTY, U. S.A. ; Talking About ON THE LINE , roundtable discussion on American independent cinema; interview with Oscar , who reveals all about this year's Academy Awards; plus reviews of BOUND FOR GLORY, NETWORK, ROCKY, UNION MAIDS, CARRIE, 3 WOMEN, etc. $4 for four issues 333 Sixth Avenue New York, N.Y I Photo: Homemade Theatre THIS MAGAZINE is about Canadian culture. It's features like Martin Kinch and Pam Brighton on the history, prospects and problems of Canadian theatre. John Boyle on Who's Afraid of Who's Afraid of Canadian Culture . Denys Arcand on making films for your own people. It's poetry by Wayman and Di Cicco, photo essays, features on artists like Ray Woodsworth, columns by the Culture Vulture, and much more. Above all, it's always literate and readable Subscribe today to This Magazine. The genuine alternative. Please enter my subscription for 1 year, $4.50 ($5.50 US.); 1 year, institutional, $7.00 ($8.00 U.S.) This Magazine is published six times a year. Name Address Code This Magazine, 3 Church St. #401, Toronto M5E 1M2 CINE-TRACTS Vol. 1 NO. 3 Fall '77 - Winter 1978 CONTENTS Realism, Naturalism and their Alternatives Raymond Williams... 1 Jonah who will be 25 in the Year 2000 (an extract) John Berger... 7 Towards a Psychoanalytic Reading of the System(s) of a Contemporary American Film Barbara Leaming Culture, History and Ambivalence: On the Subject of Walter Benjamin John Fekete On Jacques Rivette Peter Harcourt The Spectacle of Negativity David Ehrenstein The Truth Lies on the Cutting Room Floor Saul Landau Contributors... JOHN BERGER has published books and articles on art, literature, film, politics etc. and is well-known for his collaboration on the films LA SALAMANDRE, LE MILIEU DU MONDE, and JONAH WHO WILL BE 25 IN THE YEAR RON BURNETT teaches film in Montreal and is one of the founders of CINE-TRACTS. He recently metamorphized into an IBM typesetting machine. DAVID EHRENSTEIN lives in Los Angeles and has contributed to many film journals including FILM QUARTERLY and JUMPCUT. JOHN FEKETE is a professor of English at Trent University, Advisory Editor of CINE- TRACTS and Short Review Editor of TELOS. PETER HARCOURT is a professor at York University in Toronto, Advisory Editor of CINE-TRACTS and well-known contributor to the Canadian film scene. SAUL LANDAU is the director of the Transnational Institute, the international program of the Institute for Policy Studies. He has just completed with Ralph Stavins a film called THE CIA CASE OFFICER. BARBARA LEAMING teaches Cinema Studies at Hunter College of the City University of New York where she is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Theatre and Cinema. RAYMOND WILLIAMS teaches at Cambridge University. He is one of England's most important Marxist cultural critics and has recently published a major new work entitled MARXISM AND LITERATURE. MARTIN WALSH The many different journals to which Martin Walsh actively contributed have commented about his unfortunate accidental death. As he was a founding editor of CINE-TRACTS we feel this loss very deeply. He contributed positive energy, many ideas and many practical suggestions to the CINE-TRACTS project. His concern for developing a politicized Canadian film journal was going to be realized in its most complete way by a series of articles he was working on for us on Canadian Cinema. His accident came days before he was to leave for England and an appointment at the University of Kent. His contribution to film studies in Canada will be with us for many years to come. CINE-TRACTS, A JOURNAL OF FILM AND CULTURAL STUDIES IS PUBLISHED FOUR TIMES PER YEAR AND IS A NON-PROFIT PUBLICATION. EDITORIAL OFFICE: 4227 ESPLANADE AVE., MONTREAL, P.Q., CANADA H2W 1T1. GRAPHIC REPRODUCTION VANIER PRESS. SECOND CLASS MAIL REGISTRATION NUMBER 4104 DEPOT LEGALE BIBLIOTHEQUE NATIONALE DU QUEBEC (D ) et BIBLIOTHEQUE NATIONALE DU CANADA INDEXED IN THE INTERNATIONAL INDEX TO FILM PERIODICALS (F.I.A.F.) AND IN THE FILM AND LITERATURE INDEX. EDITORIAL COLLECTIVE: RON BURNETT, MARTHA ASPLER BURNETT, CHANDRA PRAKASH, HART COHEN (EUROPE) ADVISORY EDITORIAL BOARD: DAVID ALLEN, DAVID CROWLEY, JOHN FEKETE, VIRGINIA FISH, PETER HARCOURT, TERESA DE LAURETIS, JACQUELINE LEVITIN, BILL NICHOLS, PETER OHLIN, DONALD THEALL THOMAS WAUGH WITH THANKS TO PHIL VITONE, GEORGE MITCHELL AND NANCY THEDE PRODUCTION THIS ISSUE: CHANTAL BROWNE, NICOLE CHENE, KEVIN ROCH, HANS SPEICH ALL ARTICLES COPYRIGHT THEIR AUTHORS. the viewpoints expressed in Cine-Tracts are those of its authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the editorial collective. MANUSCRIPTS SHOULD BE SENT IN DUPLICATE, DOUBLE-SPACED AND CLEARLY TYPED. SINGLE ISSUE $2.50, SUBSCRIPTION $8.00 per year ($10.00 foreign), $12.00 Institutional ($14 foreign) EXCLUSIVE U.K. DISTRIBUTION BY THE MOTION PICTURE BOOKSHOP, NATIONAL FILM THEATRE, SOUTH BANK, LONDON, SE1 8XT. EDITORIAL As this journal moves towards completing its first full year of publication we feel that it is important to specify at least in part, what the project called Cine-Tracts is about. First and foremost, Ciné-Tracts is not solely or simply a publishing venture. One of our main purposes is to open up a series of debates (especially in Canada) on what we feel are the major theoretical and practical issues surrounding culture and cultural studies ( and our bias is towards the investigation of cinema, television, the media as cultural objects). Our exploration of ideology and the 'ideological effect' (see Ciné-Tracts Nos. 1 and 2) leads us necessarily towards various critical methodologies that can be used to 'break apart' and 'reconstruct' the cultural objects such that their 'modes of communication' their particular articulation of a certain set of meanings can be recontextualized by analysis rereadable as a result of reconstruction. The forms of analysis we choose are premised on historical materialism but we must make clear that we see these premises as being in a state of crisis and we feel that that crisis as manifested by the shifts in theoretical thinking from Althusser, through Lacan, to Heath, Derrida, Barthes and Williams has led to major innovations and politically crucial changes in Marxist thought on culture. Cultural criticism must, we feel, 'decode' with the intention of unmasking not in a mechanical, absolutist, or closed fashion not from a position of superiority or academic professionalism or pseudo-scientism but in order to bring out the 'multiple' sets of meaning operating in a text to render the signifying process 'visible' as structure a structure contextualized, saturated by and saturating other structures, socio-economic, political, linguistic, and psychological. The meaning of a cinematic text, for example, is not 'fixed' but exists as evidence of a relation a relation between signification and 'subject', between desire and its realization through the processes of representation and through the subject's placement within a particular symbolic order and within a particular social or political system. Meaning and meaning production are not 'neutral' processes. They are constructed by and bound to, particular institutions, particular ideologies, particular contexts. Tracing the inter-relationship between meaning production and material reality is only possible if we recognize the constitutive nature of signifying systems. Signification, the social creation of meanings through the use of formal signs, is then a practical material activity; it is indeed, literally a means of production. It is a specific form of the practical consciousness which is inseparable from all social material activity. It is not, as formalism would make it, and as the idealist theory of expression had from the beginning assumed, an operation of and within 'consciousness', which then becomes a state or a process separated a priori from social material activity. It is on the contrary, at once a distinctive material process the making of signs and, in the central quality of its distinctiveness as practical consciousness, is involved from the beginning in all other human, social and material activity. (Raymond Williams, Marxism and Literature, p.38.) i Our use of the word unmasking does not mean that we conceive of ourselves as the bearers of truth in the face of a wall of false consciousness. The notion of false consciousness is not only simplistic but it leads to a dangerously reductionist attitude that pre-supposes an inactive subject 'directed' from outside himself, incapable of responding to, let alone changing, the historical moment which he occupies. We are deeply concerned with elaborating a theory of the 'subject' in relation to ideology that will creatively move cultural theory towards an active relationship with political practice. Cultural objects, particularly film, must be confronted as signifying systems, in order to make readable that which 'memory' in the process of viewing (reading) is naturally denied by the logic of narrative, by the particular placement of the subject in narrative. Determining 'how' the subject places (situates) himself has to be at the center of a theory of ideology and language of psychoanalysis (See Rosalind Coward and John Ellis' new book, Language and Materialism, RKP, 1977.) and it is this broad area that we are trying to explore. It is our firm belief that a journal like Ciné-Tracts can be most effective by raising questions and questioning both its own theory production and the work of others. Generally speaking this issue reflects that philosophy. RON BURNETT ii REALISM, NATURALISM and their ALTERNATIVES raymond williams Some very important questions about television drama are currently being discussed around the focal terms 'realism' and 'naturalism'. In trying to follow the discussion what has most struck me is the extraordinary looseness and shallowness with which these terms are commonly used. They are both, in any case, very difficult and complicated terms, and each has a long and complex history. The problems at which they are directed are also, obviously complicated and difficult. But the first intervention that I can usefully make is on the terms themselves. And before this is diagnosed as the pedantry of a professor who is also a writer, may I say that it is not only the confused and myopic terminology that has provoked me, but that through and past this some of the crucial creative and and productive issues are being missed or displaced: the issues that interest me practically, as a writer who also happens to be a professor. 1 I will state some propositions about the terms realism and naturalism and refer those who wish to see them more fully argued to some things that I have written previously which are noted in the appendix. 1. The terms realism and naturalism did not originally refer to conventions and technical methods in art, literature, and drama, but to changed attitudes towards 'reality' itself, towards man and society and towards the character of all relationships. Thus naturalism was a conscious alternative to supernaturalism and proposed the conscious presentation of human actions in exclusively human and secular terms, as distinct from earlier kinds of drama, fiction and art which had included, as a commanding or at least referential dimension, a superhuman or extra-human power. 'Realism' is more complicated but in its decisive modern development made the same emphasis, and at this level was often interchangeable with naturalism and with materialism. 2. This is not a separable philosophical development, but was the basis for the making of new conventions and methods in art, fiction, and drama. Thus naturalism, specifically associated with the new scientific natural history proposed as a matter of principle that it is necessary to describe (present, embody, realise) an environment if we wish to understand a character, since character and environment are indissolubly linked. Thus naturalist dramatists did not include detailed physical and social settings because it was technically possible with new theatrical technology and resources, or because it was one kind of formal method as against others, but because they insisted that it was impossible to understand character and action unless the full physical and social environment which shaped character and action was directly presented, indeed as a kind of character and action in itself. 3. 'Realism' in its nineteenth century artistic sense was similarly an emphasis on the 'real world' as against the characteristic presentation of the world in romance and myth seen as including extra-human, supernatural and in these terms irrational (non-comprehensible) forces. It was also an emphasis against theatricality and fictionality and against the presentation of substitute worlds. These substitute worlds were seen as based on earlier writings and on the past; on the separation of 'fancy' from 'fact'; and crucially on the interests and evasions of a bourgeoisie which wanted to avoid looking at the social and human world which it had created and now controlled. 4. Naturalism certainly, and realism to a lesser extent, became confined to certain particular conventions and methods, which, in effect, became separated from the original impulse which had provoked them. There is then a necessary distinction between high naturalism and the 'naturalist habit'. It is the established confidence of the naturalist habit a naturalized assumption of an immediately negotiable everyday world, presented through conventions which are not seen as conventions which has since been so powerfully attacked, but usually under the loose title of realism. At the same time in reaction against the naturalist habit conventions have been developed to take more account of reality, to include psychological as well as external reality, and to show the social and physical world as a dynamic rather than a merely passive and determining environment. These innovations are often described as moves beyond realism and naturalism but the confusing irony is that most of them are attempts to realise more deeply and adequately the original impulses of the realist and naturalist movements. They must for this reason be distinguished from those other methods and conventions which are based on attempts to restore the world views which realism and naturalism 2 had attacked: the deliberate reintroduction of supernatural or metaphysical forces and dimensions controlling or influencing human action and character; and the less easily recognisable introduction of forces above and beyond human history in timeless archetypes and myths. For these later methods see the plays of Eliot, Yeats, some Beckett. For the former, see the expressionists and Brecht. 5. In drama, realism is inextricable from new social forces and new versions of social relationships. The crucial moment is the development of realism as a whole form; this must be distinguished from earlier realistic scenes, episodes and insertions. The break to the new whole form is in eighteenth century bourgeois drama, which made three innovations: that the actions of drama should be contemporary (almost all earlier drama, by convention, had been set in a historical or legendary past); that the actions and resolutions of drama should be secular (conceived and worked through in solely human terms, without reference to a supernatural or metaphysical dimension); and that the actions of drama should move beyond their conventional social exclusiveness (tragedy as confined to princes) and include the lives of all men ('let not your equals move your pity less'). This movement was not completed until the late nineteenth century; it is still predominant. Whatever immediate conventions and methods of presentation are employed the great majority of plays have become, within the terms of this movement, contemporary, secular and socially extended (inclusive). 6. This movement was begun by the bourgeoisie, but in these critical respects contemporaneity, secularity, social inclusiveness was at once shared and taken further by the new opponents of the bourgeoisie in the working-class and socialist movements. At this level the diagnosis of 'realism' as a bourgeois form is cant. It makes sense backwards, as a diagnosis of bourgeois realism against feudal and aristocratic forms and assumptions. But in its forward reference, to the crisis within bourgeois culture that crisis which has produced, as bourgeois forms, many of the anti-realist experiments, at the same time that it has produced anti-bourgeois forms whichmaketheemphasis on contemporaneity, scholarity and social extension more radical and more critical the diagnosis of 'realism' as simply and epochally 'bourgeois' merely begs the question. 7. Central to all these developments in world view and form is the actual extension and eventually qualitative change, in audiences. Drama had moved out of dependence on court, church or state to post-commercial and commercial institutions which in their essential social composition were also contemporary, secular and socially extended. At the same time there were many contradictions between this general process and particular class affiliations and exclusions in certain institutions (cf. the split between 'West End' and 'popular' theaters in the nineteenth century; the social breaks involved in the new 'free' and 'independent' theaters, all over Europe, in the 1890s, or in the post 1930 'community' theaters and travelling companies. This process with its contradictions, is very evident in theater history. Broadcasting, first in radio (but with internal specialisations; compare, in Britain, Saturday Night Theater and the old Third Programme drama) and then decisively in television, transformed even this general transforming change Drama was for the first time ever regularly available to a total audience, and was in fact used at a much higher level of frequency than had ever been previously imagined. 3 Application to problems of television drama. What then are the main issues in creation and production, in relation to this historical perspective, and to the actual complexity, as distinct from the short term repetitions, of the terms we use to try and interpret it? a.) The most important general fact about television drama is that it is in qualitatively new social relations with its audiences. It includes, potentially and actually, an incomparably wider social range than any earlier medieval drama, and by comparison with medieval and earlier drama it has moved the popular audience out of drama as structured occasion and into everyday access. As a social movement this is the culmination of a process historically associated with realism. b.) This qualitative change has occurred within class societies with contradictory results. Access has been negotiated as exposure; and spectacle the new popular audience as a 'mass market'. Yet compare literacy. This was propagated as a way of enabling working people to read the scriptures and simple ins
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