Schizoanalyzing Souls: Godard, Deleuze, and the Mystical Line of Flight

David Sterritt


"In an article on montage written for Cahiers du cinéma, Jean-Luc Godard made an observation that has been quoted many times in many contexts:

If direction is a look, montage is a heartbeat…what one seeks to foresee in space, the other seeks in time….Cutting on a look is…to bring out the soul under the spirit, the passion behind the intrigue, to make the heart prevail over the intelligence by destroying the notion of space in favor of that of time.

This passage appeared in 1956, almost three decades before Gilles Deleuze published Cinema 1: The Movement-Image and Cinema 2: The Time-Image in 1983 and 1985, respectively. Yet despite the distance between those dates, the young critic’s remark anticipates key aspects of the philosopher’s film-theoretical stance. The need to displace the notional bias toward space with a conception of time as a concrete and dynamic force is the single most vital element in the thinking of Henri Bergson, whose ideas about this subject – ramified into such areas as affect, memory, perception, language, and the ontological properties of mind itself – play indispensable roles in Deleuze’s writings on cinema and allied areas of immanence, multiplicity, and difference..."

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