Tableaux Vivants 1: Painting, Film, Death and Passion Plays in Pasolini and Godard

Steven Jacobs

in Framing Pictures

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print June 2011 | ISBN: 9780748640171
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748670901 | DOI:
Tableaux Vivants 1: Painting, Film, Death and Passion Plays in Pasolini and Godard

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This chapter presents the fashion for tableaux vivants in nineteenth-century culture as a prefiguration of cinema. Apart from including literal representations of tableaux vivants performed on the stage, the cinema of the early 1900s appropriated the aesthetics of tableaux vivants in its attempts to develop a new model of narrative cinema. Strikingly, these practices were revived in post-war European modernist cinema, which often included tableaux vivants in line with its interest in duration and stillness. By incorporating tableaux vivants into their films, modernist filmmakers attempted at determining the specificity of their medium – movement was juxtaposed to stasis, pictorial or sculptural space to cinematic space, iconic immediacy to filmic duration, and so forth. These issues are particularly dealt with in the context of a discussion of Pasolini's La Ricotta and Godard's Passion, which both are films about the making of a film. In both works, the self-referential aspect is thus explicit and, strikingly, both films-in-the-film consist of tableaux vivants based on famous paintings.

Keywords: Tableau Vivant; Pier Paolo Pasolini; La Ricotta; Jean-Luc Godard; Passion; Modernist Cinema; Painting in Film

Chapter.  14155 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Film

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