Cinema’s Inter-Sensory Encounters
Krzysztof Kieślowski and Claire Denis
Moving Image 3
Legenda: Oxford, 2014
Sound cinema realised long-standing dreams of a synaesthetic art form, uniting image and sound with a success never achieved by earlier experiments. At the same time, this union cemented cinema’s future as a primarily narrative art form, seemingly pushing to one side the ambitions of abstraction. A closer look reveals, however, that it is through complex relationships among senses that fiction film strikes many of its deepest chords. The celebrated Polish and French directors Krzysztof Kieślowski (1941–96) and Claire Denis (1948–) create films which unfurl subtle narratives through such inter-sensory encounters. Close analysis opens wider questions about cinema and synaesthesia, selective attention, smell, pain and visceral feeling. How does the changing balance between one sense and another sway our responses? How can cinema, a medium which captures exterior forms, communicate the private inner world of pain and visceral sensation? Evans explores the mysterious ways in which cinema moves us.
Dr Georgina Evans lectures in 20th and 21st-century French culture and European cinema at the University of Cambridge.