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Table of Contents for
Image and Identity: Reflections on Canadian Film and Culture by R. Bruce Elder






Introduction: In Reality, Who Are We?

CHAPTER 1 A House Divided

Three Primal Experiences

The Garrison Mentality

A Tragic Vision

CHAPTER 2 Two Schools of Thought

American-Style Liberalism

The Epistemology of Empiricism

Common Sense

Dualism and Representation

Common Sense and Calvinism

Absolute Idealism

The Absolute

The Nation-State

Absolute Idealism in Canada

CHAPTER 3 An Aesthetic of Reconciliation



CHAPTER 4 The Documentary Film in Canada

Absolute Idealism in Canada

The Legacy of John Grierson

The Influence of Grierson

The Candid-Eye Movement

The Crisis Structure of American Cinéma-vérité

The Observational Structure of Candid-Eye Films

Two Journalistic Influences

The Empirical Character of the Candid-Eye Films

Not a Love Story

CHAPTER 5 Narrative Transmission in American Direct Cinema Films and Canadian Candid-Eye Films

Narrative Modes of Transmission

Agents of Narrative Transmission

Cinéma-vérité as the Mimesis of a Mimesis

Imagery as Illustration: the "Literary" Quality of NFB Documentaries

The Days Before Christmas

Candid-Eye Films and Common-Sense Philosophy

Blood and Fire

CHAPTER 6 The Reality Principle: "Goin’ Down the Road"

What Do Pete and Joey Want?

Ideas and Actions

The Repressions of the Reality Principle

The Non-Empirical Cinema of Quebec

The Problems of the Empirical Style

The Limitations of the Reality Principle

CHAPTER 7 Modes of Representation in Cinema

The Cinema of Presentation, the Cinema of Illustration, the Cinema of Construction

A Paradigmatic Contrast

A Contrast of Epistemologies

The Search-and-Discovery Structure in the Cinema of Presentation

Some Historical Background

Classical and Post-classical Art

The Telos of Total Realism



CHAPTER 8 Michael Snow’s "Wavelength"

The Cinema of Presentation, the Cinema of Illustration, the Cinema of Construction

A Minimal Film

A Phenomenological Film

A Durational Film

A Dramatic Film

An Experiential Film

Drama, Space and Time

Drama, Light and Sound

Dramatic Form as a Narrowing of Possibility

Drama and Temporal Continuity

Remarks on the Zoom

A Film of Purity

The Achievement of the Film

CHAPTER 9 From Painting into Cinema: A Study of Jack Chambers’ "Circle"

Two Tendencies in Twentieth-Century Art

Chambers’ Painting as a Prelude to Filmmaking

Perceptual Realism and Romanticism

Perceptual Realism and Photography


Circle: Section One

Circle: Section Two

Circle: Section Three

CHAPTER 10 All Things in Their Time: On Michael Snow’s <->

The Background of the Film

Snow’s Multifaceted Work

From Modernism to Postmodernism

Experiencing Snow’s Films

Snow’s Transcendental Self/p>

Snow’s Postmodernist Associates 1: David Rimmer

Snow’s Postmodernist Associates 11: Joyce Wieland

CHAPTER 11 The Photographic Image in Canadian Avant-Garde Film

The Background of the Film

Postmodernism vs Modernism

The Paradoxes of Photographic Representation

Postmodernism and Otherness

Camera Movement and Highlighting Absence: the Case of Chris Gallagher

The Frame and Absent Space: the Cases of Epp and Snow

Representation and Presentation: the Case of David Rimmer

The Single-Shot Film

The Relation of Text and Image: Postmodernist Strategies

The Duality of Photography

CHAPTER 12 Michael Snow Presents "Presents"

Ut Pictura Poesis

Modernism and the Metaphysics of Presence

Presents and the Challenge to the Metaphysics of Presence

Presents in the Light of Language Theory

The Architecture of Presents

So Is This in the Light of Language Theory

Presence, Time, Language and Knowledge

Reprise: Ut Pictura Poesis

CHAPTER 13 Idealism, Photography and the Canadian Avant-Garde Film

Graphic Cinema

Peter Kubelka’s Theory and Practice

Eisenstein’s Theory

Germaine Dulac

Sydney Peterson’s Views

Against the Petersonian View: Maya Deren

Romanticism, Hegel, and the Underpinnings of a Canadian Attitude Towards Photography

Self and Other: The Undergirding of Romanticism

Chambers’ Art: The Amalgam of Subjectivity and Objectivity

The Rhythms of Life and Death: Chambers’ Films

Nature, Idealism and the Photograph in Canadian Thought

CHAPTER 14 Forms of Cinema: Models of Self

Image and Identity

Hart of London

La région centrale

The Transcendental Self, La région centrale, and Idealist Thought


Appendix: Filmographies