ABSTRACTThis study invites the reader to a dialogue between the structuralist tradition and the post-structuralist one with regard to the question What is cinema?, respectively represented here by Christian Metz and Gilles Deleuze. The first tradition sees cinema as a storytelling medium, while the latter refuses narration as a secondary notion. The author provides an exploration of the two theoretical and philosophical fields and their respective answer to the question What is cinema?, and also more specifically what they consider to be the relation between the cinematic image and the story. Christian Metz sets out to reveal inherent signifying structures incinema, conditioned on premises of narration and film s similarity to spoken language. Film is narrative because of its protagonists, dialogue, events and time. It resembles the spoken language in its actualization. He identifies the structures in his grandesyntagmatique; from the spatial and temporal indications on both the denotative (the film as such) and connotative (the level of signification, meaning) levels he determines his eight syntagmas. These syntagmas are structures drawn from film premised on how we understand film, how film is intelligible to us. Metz operates with the Saussurian notion of the sign; film is a sign consisting of two sign elements; that of the signifier (level of denotation) and that of the significate (level of connotation).
Gilles Deleuze s film project is in many ways inspired from the French philosopher Henry Bergson. To Deleuze film is a plastic mass of movement-images, just as the universe can be seen as a metacinema. He develops Bergson s theses on movement to count for cinematic movement and time and shows how each cinematic element isinvolved in a differentiation process where the images internalizes in the filmic totality as a whole and the whole externalizes in the images, constantly changing as the images are linking. The movement-image is what causes this change. In post-war cinema he detects the time-image where time in its immediate and direct form is presented, not represented spatially, as in pre-war cinema. This new cinema becomes a crystalline composition, which works in dispersive rather than organic ways. In order to operate with a notion of the sign which is not linguistical and with a semiotics that is fluid, i.e., which can count for the plasticity and modulation of cinema Deleuze turns to the American Charles S. Pierce. Semiotics to Deleuze isexpansive; it has to count for the combination and generation of signs. A sign to Deleuze is pre-signifying, and cinema is an a-syntactic and a-signifying material.
In the conclusion the two approaches are put in direct confrontation. The Metzian approach is questioned in relation to two aspects; that of immanence and that of temporality. Applying to film an external, objective structure Metz is not able to make an account of the temporal dimension of cinema. The author suggests that Deleuzian film philosophy may be seen as a step toward a new and materialistaesthetic, where cinema is conceived of as matter-movement, constituted by autonomous and pre-signifying signs freed from linguistical and narrative restraints. Deleuzian film philosophy also manages to make an account of the aspect of sensation in pointing out the crucial circuit that the thought/body and image enter into in new cinema when it is not possible for thought to think the whole.