Thursday, November 17, 2005

Waking Life: André Bazin and pantheism

There's this bit in Waking Life where the protagonist is in a cinema, watching two men, who seem to be in a cafe, talking about film. One of them says,

Cinema in its essence is about an introduction to reality. It's just that reality is actually reproduced. For Bazin, its not like a story telling medium, really. He feels like literature is better for telling a story than film. You know, if you tell a story, like a joke, like this guy walks into a bar, he sees a dwarf, that works really well because you're imagining this guy and this dwarf in the bar and there's this kind of imaginative aspect to it. But in film, you don't have that because you actually are filming a specific guy, in a specific bar, with a specific dwarf, of a specific height, who looks a certain way, right? So for Bazin, what the ontology of film has to do with is also what photography has to do with, except it has this dimension of time to it, and this greater realism to it. So it's about that guy, at that moment, in that space. And you know, Bazin is a Christian, so he believes that God obviously ended up being everything, and for him reality and God are the same. So what film is actually capturing is like God incarnate, creating. And this very moment, God is manifesting as this. And what the film would capture if it was filming us right now would be like God as this table, and God as you, and God as me, and God looking the way we look right now, and saying and thinking what we're thinking right now, because we are all God manifest in that sense. So film is actually like a record of God, or the face of God, or the ever changing face of God.
André Bazin was a French film critic who believed that film should (and could) show objective reality.
I'm not sure how accurate this guy's conclusion that 'Bazin is a Christian, so he believes that God obviously ended up being everything' is, but I think this guy is touching on some interesting stuff, like the idea that everything in the world says something about God. More like panentheism than pantheism.

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