By Karla Oeler
The darkish shadows and offscreen house that strength us to visualize violence we can't see. the genuine slaughter of animals spliced with the fictitious killing of guys. The lacking countershot from the homicide victim’s standpoint. Such photos, or absent photos, Karla Oeler contends, distill how the homicide scene demanding situations and alterations film.
Reexamining works via such filmmakers as Renoir, Hitchcock, Kubrick, Jarmusch, and Eisenstein, Oeler strains the homicide scene’s difficult connections to the good breakthroughs within the idea and perform of montage and the formula of the foundations and syntax of Hollywood style. She argues that homicide performs the sort of imperative function in movie since it mirrors, on a number of degrees, the act of cinematic illustration. loss of life and homicide immediately get rid of existence and phone realization to its former life, simply as cinema conveys either the truth and the absence of the items it depicts. yet homicide stocks with cinema not just this interaction among presence and shortage, stream and stillness: not like dying, killing involves the planned relief of a unique topic to a disposable item. Like cinema, it contains an important selection approximately what to chop and what to keep.
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Additional info for A Grammar of Murder: Violent Scenes and Film Form
Potentially implying both finitude and excess, the murder scene resonates with the power of the close-up to both cancel and reveal singularity. Gilles Deleuze recognizes this paradox of the close-up in the erotic, sometimes violent relationship between Bibi Andersson and Liv Ullman in Ingmar Bergman’s Persona (1966): “The close-up has merely pushed the face to those regions where the principle of individuation ceases to hold sway. . ”5 But long before Deleuze’s declaration that the close-up can lead to loss of individuation, the recurring pairings of enlarged murder weapons and faces in early film theory and practice suggested the latent violence of the magnified image.
In The Heir of Genghis Khan, the close-up of the hand on the gun both denotes and enacts reduction: it signals the hero’s impending demise and it reduces on-screen space. Through montage, the film deliberately contrasts this reduction of space, and the threatened reduction of Bair’s lifetime, with their extension. The first time the film cuts in (not to a close-up, but to a medium shot) of the executioner (Boris Barnet) pulling a gun from his pocket, we see that he draws his weapon only to remove a pouch of tobacco; he fills his pipe and offers the condemned man a cigarette (figs.
The tensions between scene and story, film and genre, refract the stakes of the murder scene, even though, in some genres, they have nothing to do with murder: they are the lineaments of form as such. * To juxtapose montage and genre as they articulate murder scenes, we must juxtapose classical Soviet and Hollywood cinemas. The murder scene, in both cinemas, often echoes the same “primal” scene: the fight to the death at the heart of Hegel’s dialectic between lordship and bondage. By invoking Hegel, I do not mean to subscribe to his totalizing view of history; instead, I read his dialectic as an influential modern narrative about the subject’s struggle for recognition that specifically addresses the tension between in- I n t r o d u c t i o n 19 dividual and community.