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The Philosopher and the Moviemaker. Merleau-Ponty and Cinema between Historical Convergence and Ontological Novelty

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Chapter Summary

In the text of his lecture given on March 13th 1945 at the "Institut des Hautes Études Cinématographiques" (IDHEC) of Paris, Maurice Merleau-Ponty describes a famous cinematic sequence, which was indeed obtained not by Vsevolod Pudovkin, but by his master Lev Kulešov, the founding father with Dziga Vertov of Soviet cinema. Kulešov had obtained such a sequence in order to show the creative role of montage, which he considered to be the main expressive medium of cinema. The most explicit statement about the ontological hypothesis can be found in the last work Merleau-Ponty finished before his sudden death, an essay devoted to modern painting, as known: Eye and Mind. Here Merleau-Ponty confesses "his sense of a profound dissonance, a mutation of the relationship between humanity and Being, when he holds up a universe of classical thought, contrasting it en bloc with the explorations of modern painting".

Keywords: cinema; Dziga Vertov; Eye and Mind; Lev Kulešov; Maurice Merleau-Ponty; ontological hypothesis; Vsevolod Pudovkin



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