The Real Image
The dominant view in Hollywood of the image — besides that the image sells and sells well — is that the image can attempt to convey the real. Movies are going to more and more elaborate measures not to extend the image into our lives but to extend the represented in the image into our lives. The surround sound, the 3D — it's meant to bring us closer to the experience of flying, being crushed, hurtling through space.
The mythology, as presented in studio brands — most conspicuously, perhaps, by Disney —, is that film brings you the world and fantasy is made real.
But this of course reveals a fundamental disdain of the image. It rests on the assumption that the image is in and of itself not real; it's a derivative of the real, a pointer, a stand in, a substitute.
The image is real — not because it represents something well but because it is an event in and of itself. An image is part of the fabric of experience, of perception. An image is a body — not because it approaches veracity but because it is its own mode of being in the world.
An image happens — right there, before our eyes. We experience it. Of course this experience enjoys a relationship to the thing represented in the image. But this relationship is not one of original and derivative, of real and copy. It's a relationship of two things, more or less related, playing in and on and with and through each other.
Now, to be fair, all that Hollywood high tech goofy ass nonsense is sometimes really cool and could be really, really cool. If only the technology were not deployed to represent but to create beautiful, live, real experiences unto themselves.
For instance, I'm watching Godard's A Woman is a Woman the other day. Throughout the film, Godard plays with image and sound — music starts, stops, street noise starts and stops, visual and sound do not match (or, rather, they match in odd ways). All this, amongst other things, makes of the image, of the film, an event happening right there on the screen, in the act of watching. It insists on itself as an event; it is not story telling or representing. It is happening.
Well, now take all that Hollywood pyrotechnics and give them to Godard. Or, rather, don't. But give it to someone who makes images, who respects images, give an image maker all those resources and let's see what they cook up. Let's watch them make life, not a story about life. Let's watch them make images.