By Karla Oeler
The darkish shadows and offscreen house that strength us to visualize violence we can't see. the genuine slaughter of animals spliced with the fictitious killing of fellows. The lacking countershot from the homicide victim’s viewpoint. Such pictures, or absent pictures, Karla Oeler contends, distill how the homicide scene demanding situations and adjustments film.
Reexamining works by way of such filmmakers as Renoir, Hitchcock, Kubrick, Jarmusch, and Eisenstein, Oeler lines the homicide scene’s elaborate connections to the good breakthroughs within the idea and perform of montage and the formula of the principles and syntax of Hollywood style. She argues that homicide performs the sort of crucial function in movie since it mirrors, on a number of degrees, the act of cinematic illustration. loss of life and homicide straight away get rid of existence and get in touch with awareness to its former lifestyles, simply as cinema conveys either the truth and the absence of the gadgets it depicts. yet homicide stocks with cinema not just this interaction among presence and shortage, circulation and stillness: not like loss of life, killing includes the planned relief of a unique topic to a disposable item. Like cinema, it comprises a vital selection approximately what to chop and what to keep.
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Additional resources for A Grammar of Murder: Violent Scenes and Film Form
If we’ve watched films, we’ve watched bodies fall; in certain Hollywood genres, the very absence of murder would be most conspicuous. To understand murder’s profound and far-reaching consequences for film form, part 2, “Murder and Genre,” moves beyond the montage breakdown and construction of the murder scene to the placement and function of this scene within classical Hollywood genres. We have seen how montage entails a tension between individual and series (shot versus sequence). This tension between part and whole also informs Hollywood genre films on several levels.
27 For Eisenstein and Aumont, framing implies violence done to persons and things cut from the frame. Bazin, on the other hand, suggests the camera’s potentially violent tyranny over that which is caught in the frame. The difference between Bazin’s understanding of the site of the frame’s “violence” and that of Eisenstein and Aumont crystallizes the problematic of murder and representation. The murder scene can function, like the film frame in the metaphors of Eisenstein and Aumont, as the apotheosis of representation’s own necessary abridgements: a violent cut that eradicates a character from story and discourse.
Cinema depends on these connections between the screened image and the spectator’s memories and experience, thoughts and feelings. This degree of dependence distinguishes film from theater, which can physically confront the spectator with actual bodies whose sheer presence, particularly in scenes of violence, can produce in spectators an answering physiological response similar to what one might experience witnessing, from nearby, real violence. We might think, for instance, of the charged atmosphere at a boxing match, where it is not uncommon for spectators to cringe or to throw imaginary punches as they watch.
A Grammar of Murder: Violent Scenes and Film Form by Karla Oeler