The Movement-Image: Horror Cinematography and <i>Mise-en-scène</i>

Anna Powell

in Deleuze and Horror Film

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print March 2005 | ISBN: 9780748617470
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748651061 | DOI:
The Movement-Image: Horror Cinematography and Mise-en-scène

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This chapter deals with mise-en-scène and various kinds of movement in horror cinema. The film theory shaped by psychoanalysis and semiology treats images as static, symbolic components of underlying representational structures. It abstracts them from their moving, changing medium. Gilles Deleuze, on the other hand, endorses Henri Bergson's ‘vitalism’, or the ubiquitous presence of dynamic forces in his work, with singularities of style and expression. The ‘movement-image’ in process replaces language-like symbolic representation at the crux of the filmic event. Beauty is located not in formal balance but in the kinesthetics of perpetual motion. Horror film foregrounds the dynamics of movement. In Francis Ford Coppola's Bram Stoker's Dracula, for example, stasis is spectacularly defied. Even though a film's locale may be spatially constricted, as in a haunted house, movement still occurs. As well as its material force on the sensorium, horror film also opens up to the metaphysical elements of duration, via the special usage of light, spatial and temporal overlay, and other techniques.

Keywords: Gilles Deleuze; horror cinema; Henri Bergson; vitalism; mise-en-scène; movement; movement-image; Bram Stoker's Dracula; stasis; duration

Chapter.  19684 words. 

Subjects: Film

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