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Paul Sharits: Stop Time

Cries and Whispers is an instance, more interesting as a pure movie, as a piece of Hitchcock gone gothic, than it is as a proposition about the pain and solitude of human life. Except of course that there is no such thing as a pure movie.

––Michael Wood, “Seeing Bergman,” The New York Review of Books, March 8, 1973

IF THE NOTION OF PURITY IS USED as part of the grammar of essences, how would one go about isolating the pure film, the film as such? Where would one look to discover film itself? Would one turn to the physical supports of the image: to the celluloid strip with its fragile emulsion, or to the plane onto which the image is projected? Or would one argue that the images on the strip are still only film in potentia—that film itself is tied to the phenomenology of projection: to the beam of light which is the agent of the image’s visibility as film, to the revolving action of the

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