This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse this site you are agreeing to our use of cookies. For more information, see our privacy statement

New Left Review 18, November-December 2002

Tony Wood on Jacques Rancière, La Fable cinématographique. From Eisenstein to Deleuze, luminous snapshots of the cinema that would substitute a single regime for historical periods.



‘Cinema is true. A story is a lie.’ So wrote Jean Epstein in 1921 in Bonjour cinéma, heralding the arrival of a modern art form that would supersede previous plots. Just as modernist painting had overturned the conventions of pictorial representation, cinema would undo the Aristotelian chain of action and consequence, revealing through the succession of images the fragmentary, open-ended truth of contemporary existence. But although several of Epstein’s contemporaries—Dziga Vertov or Walter Ruttmann, for example—seemed to be working towards the creation of just such a cinema, narrative convention, whether in epic, melodramatic or comic forms, was at the same time driving Hollywood’s inexorable rise, and has from the beginning remained stubbornly immune to avant-garde assault.

Subscribe for just £45 and get free access to the archive
Please login on the left to read more or buy the article for £3


Tony Wood, ‘The Ecstatic Spiral’, NLR 18: £3

If you want to create a new NLR account please register here

’My institution subscribes to NLR, why can't I access this article?’

New NLR website coming soon—click here for a preview.