Fredrik Fyhr

Tidvisa rapporter och osorterade telegram

Auteurathon Arnold/Deren Lupino/Wishman (WIP#6)

Thus the Hollywood fiction film has created a kind of visual shorthand of cliches with which we have become so familiar that we are not even aware of the effort of transcription. As we watch the screen we continually ’understand’ this gesture to stand for this state of mind, or that grimace to represent that emotion. Although the emotional impact derives not from what we see, but from the verbal complex which the image represents, the facility with which we bridge the gape and achieve this transcription deceives us, and we imagine that we enjoy a visual experience. Actually, this has nothing in common with the directness with which we would experience a truly visual reality, such as falling, whose ’symptomatic sensations’ would have to represent it in a literary form.


The rapidity with which so many Hollywood films cease to make sense or carry emotional weight is an indication of their failure to create meaning in the direct visual terms of their own immediate frame of reference. The shorthand cliches with which they employ, to bring back to the literary terms in which the film is actually conceived, are drawn not from a recognized mythology but from superficial mannerisms which are transitory and soon lose their referential value. If the great works of art have succeeded in retaining their value even long after their symbols have lost their referential power it is precisely because their meaning was not entrusted, in the first place, to the frail bridges of the symbolic reference.

Maya Deren, An Anagram of Ideas on Art, Form and Film (1946), 40-41.

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