For reality holds within itself no hidden kernel of self-understanding, of theory, of truth, like a stone inside a fruit. We have to manufacture those.
— Comolli & Narboni, “Cinema/Ideology/Criticism”
I’m up late, reveling in my Film Theory reading for tomorrow’s class: ideology day. Having recovered from the cogency of Peter Wollen’s argument in favor of Godard’s counter-cinema, those Seven Cardinal Virtues dismantling Hollywood-Mosfilm’s Seven Deadly, I was drawn back to the suddenness of this quote from my first reading by the Cahiers du Cinema re-manifesto of sorts that Jean-Luc Comolli and Jean Narboni penned in 1959.
Given my current courses, I am constantly thinking about the nature of nonfiction, and here the two theorists speak directly to my own conceptions of the ‘genre’ (if we can call it such, which I am still on the fence about — this would necessitate turning to Richard Altman’s semantic/syntactic approach to film genre, which is beyond the scope of my midnight musings). I have been making and watching a lot of cinema verite and direct cinema and documentary, all of which are essentially stabs at truthiness — but these theories of ideology seem spot on. I know that I am manufacturing ‘truth,’ and consuming manufactured ‘truth’ in these nonfiction forms. To find this empirical realization uttered so powerfully in the midst of my reading on the ideology of predominately narrative film — a moment to be added to Sandor Krasna’s list of things that “quicken the heart.”