Sensation is created by our body’s presence in the world. We each perceive the world by how we interpret our senses. If audio and visual sensations make up the very essence of what cinema is, can we not also say that the senses of touch, taste, smell, allow us to experience sensational responses in a cinematic way when watching a film? We can see a character experiencing sensations on screen that we identify with, we can also observe images and sounds that are specifically crafted to create a direct sensational response in us, the audience, by cinematic means.
Exploring the question of ‘Sensation in cinema’, children and young people from 45 groups around the world will come together to share their films at the Cinematheque Française in June 2020, where they will meet their international peers, and renowned film makers as part of “A Nous Le Cinema!”.
Cinema Cent Ans de Jeunesse (CCAJ) is present in 8 regions of France, and in 16 other countries across the globe. This year we are joined by 3 Latin American countries – Chile, Colombia & Uruguay – and new partners from existing member countries - the Deutsches Filminstitut Filmmuseum in Frankfurt and Association Quiero Cine! In Buenos Aires.
The Portuguese writer Pessoa wrote: “In life, the only reality is the sensation. In art, the only reality is the awareness of the sensation. Art, in essence, is the harmonious expansion of the awareness we have of sensations, in other words our sensations have to be expressed in such a way they create an object which will then become a feeling for others.”
Even though he did not specifically think about cinema when he wrote those lines, he defines an ideal: the film would become an object which would generate in others, the spectators, a recomposed feeling from the one experienced by the filmmaker.
In every film, the meaning is built from the spectator’s visual and auditory sensations. But most often, in standard cinema, the will to tell (the scenario, the actors, the dialogues) ends up being more important than sensations, and covers them, crushes them. The meaning prevails over the feelings caught by camera.
The visual and auditory sensations are part of the very essence of cinema. Without them, there would be no film. But the cinema can also produce tactile sensations: hot, cold, soft, rough, etc, and coenesthetic sensations: falling, rising, feeling unwell, feeling dizzy, etc.
The feelings a spectator experiences throughout a film are sometimes assigned to the character – he/she sees, hears, receives those sensations – or are instead directly offered to the spectator by the filmmaker, without taking the character as an interface for sensations.
Some filmmakers never forget, even in their narrative films, that sensation is as important as that the intention of telling and must remain at the heart of their creation. Hitchcock, Godard, Douglas Sirk, Antonioni, Renoir, Kiarostami, Terrence Malik, Tarkovski and many more have endeavoured to maintain a balance between meaning and “feeling”. And they have never forgotten that the meaning that arises from the act of feeling is undoubtedly the true “nature” of cinema.
Other filmmakers, less concerned by telling a story and building meaning, have developed their cinema on the primacy of sensations. It is the case for Jonas Mekas who created a magical and fascinating work on the uptake-reconstruction of feelings. It is the case for other filmmakers, more “experimental”, like Pelechian, Stan Brakhage, Rose Lowder and many others, for whom cinema is firstly about uptaking and working on sensations.
Sensation: resources (reading list and supporting materials) to allow you to explore the topic in greater depth.
ARGENTINA: Cero en Conducta, Buenos Aires (Emiliano Ovejero) with INCAA – Instituto Nacional de Cine y Artes Audiovisuales and Institut Français d’Argentine / Quiero cine !, Buenos Aires (Florencia Fernández Feijo) BRAZIL: Imagens em Movimento – RAIAR, Rio de Janeiro (Ana Dillon) with Cinemateca do Museu de Arte Moderna / Escola Carlitos, São Paulo (Manuela Mendez Leal Anabuki) with Cinemateca Brasileira BULGARIA: Arte Urbana Collectif, Sofia (Ralitsa Assenova) with Festival "Meetings of young European Cinema" CHILE: Cero en Conducta, Santiago (Ignacio Agüero) with Instituto de la Comunicación e Imagen - Universidad de Chile (Maria Inés Silva) COLOMBIA: La Pirinola Fílmica, Tunja (Ricardo Castaneda Vargas) with Museo Casa Cultural Gustavo Rojas Pinilla GERMANY: Deutsche Kinemathek, Berlin (Anke Hahn) and Universität Bremen (Bettina Henzler) / DFF – Deutsches Filminstitut & Filmmuseum, Frankfurt am Main (Christine Kopf) INDIA: Children’s Film Academy, Mumbai (Ganga Mukhi) ITALY: Cineforum, Teramo, Teramo (Dimitri Bosi) JAPAN: Children meet cinema, Tokyo (Etsuko Dohi) LITHUANIA: Meno Avilys, Vilnius (Ginte Zulyte) MEXICO: EduKino, San Luis Potosí (Katia Méndez Best) with Cineteca Nacional de México and IFAL PORTUGAL: Os Filhos de Lumière, Lisboa (Teresa Garcia) with Cinemateca Portuguesa SPAIN: Cinema en curs - A Bao A Qu, Barcelone (Núria Aidelman) with Institut Français de Barcelone and Filmoteca de Catalunya UNITED KINGDOM: British Film Institute, London (Mark Reid) / Centre for the Moving Image, Edinburgh (Yvonne Gordon) URUGUAY: Cineduca – CFE, Montevideo (Cecilia Cirillo Chiesa) with Cinemateca Uruguaya, Ambassade de France en Uruguay, ICAU and CODICEN.
AUVERGNE-RHÔNE-ALPES: Cinéma Mon Ciné, Saint-Martin-d’Hères (Pascale Puig) CORSICA: Corsica.doc, Ajaccio and Cinémathèque de Corse, Porto-Vecchio (Annick Peigné-Giuly) GUADELOUPE: L’Artchipel, Scène nationale de la Guadeloupe (Suzie Belair) ILE-DE-FRANCE: La Cinémathèque française, Paris (Nathalie Bourgeois) MARTINIQUE: Tropiques Atrium, Scène nationale de Martinique, Basse-Terre (Steve Zebina) NOUVELLE-AQUITAINE: ALCA - Agence livre cinéma audiovisuel, Bègles (Virginie Mespoulet) with La Troisième Porte à Gauche OCCITANIE: Institut Jean Vigo - Cinémathèque euro-régionale, Perpignan (Frédéric Borgia) PROVENCE-ALPES-CÔTE D'AZUR: Cinéma Jean Renoir, Martigues (Henri Denicourt).
The blog allows participants to get to know each other and keep in contact throughout the course of the year, discussing their work, their discoveries and how they are progressing through the project.