Zur Theorie des filmischen Raums (Teil 1)

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Abstract

This article is the first part of a two-part text that aims to introduce film theorists who attempted to make the phenomena of cinematic space theoretically comprehensible. Hugo Münsterberg (1863-1916), Erwin Panofsky (1892-1968) and Vsevolod Pudovkin (1893-1953) were theorists who have experienced the spread of film from the beginning and have dealt with the significance of film for culture and society. The means of montage was of particular interest in early theoretical considerations because it had been recognised that the filmmaker can manipulate space and time by means of montage. Bela Balazs (1884-1949) was concerned with recognising film as popular art that creates culture which, in his view, permeates reality and contributes to the emergence of a visual culture. Walter Benjamin (1892-1940) believed that the social significance of film lies in a change in collective perception. Rudolph Arnheim (1904-2007) was interested in phenomena such as surface and depth, which he viewed from the perspective of Gestalt psychology. He emphasised the spatial autonomy of film compared to theatre, which would only be maintained as long as film did not attempt to create a second real space. For Siegfried Kracauer (1889-1966), film was always a special form of reality, which is why he was concerned with the representation of physical reality through the cinematic medium, as well as with the question of what attributes ultimately constitute a film. The article ends with a look at André Bazin's (1918-1958) understanding of cinematic space. For Bazin, who regarded the deformation of space as a fundamental characteristic of film realism, characters, objects, and events are always parts of the cinematic space. One can banish every reality from the film image, Bazin stated, except one: that of space.

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