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The Director’s Image in Art Cinema

Linda Haverty Rugg

Publication Year: 2014

In 1957, a decade before Roland Barthes announced the death of the author, François Truffaut called for a new era in which films would “resemble the person who made” them and be “even more personal” than an autobiographical novel. More than five decades on, it seems that Barthes has won the argument when it comes to most film critics. The cinematic author, we are told, has been dead for a long time. Yet Linda Haverty Rugg contends not only that the art cinema auteur never died, but that the films of some of the most important auteurs are intensely, if complexly, related to the lives and self-images of their directors. Self-Projection explores how nondocumentary narrative art films create alternative forms of collaborative self-representation and selfhood.

The book examines the work of celebrated directors who plant autobiographical traces in their films, including Truffaut, Bergman, Fellini, Tarkovsky, Herzog, Allen, Almodóvar, and von Trier. It is not simply that these directors, and many others like them, make autobiographical references or occasionally appear in their films, but that they tie their films to their life stories and communicate that link to their audiences. Projecting a new kind of selfhood, these directors encourage identifications between themselves and their work even as they disavow such connections. And because of the collaborative and technological nature of filmmaking, the director’s self-projection involves actors, audience, and the machines and institution of the cinema as well.

Lively and accessible, Self-Projection sheds new light on the films of these iconic directors and on art cinema in general, ultimately showing how film can transform not only the autobiographical act but what it means to have a self.

Published by: University of Minnesota Press

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication, Quote

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pp. i-viii


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pp. ix-x

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pp. xi-xii

...This book was long in the writing, which means that the number of people and institutions to whom thanks are owed increased incrementally into a long list. Inevitably I will forget someone, for which...

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INTRODUCTION: Without a You, No I: Cinematic Self-Projection

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pp. 1-34

...emblazoned across the boy’s face, it is time to get up and leave the theater. But the boy has stopped in his tracks and seems to regard us from that “other side,” the place where fiction lives, as if it were possible to cross through the screen...

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1. The Director’s Body

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pp. 35-68

...words, that “‘no one is in charge,’ and we sense that a rootless, inhuman power of vision is wandering the world. At this juncture as at perhaps no other,” she writes, “all our traditional verbal humanism...

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2. The Director Plays Director

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pp. 69-98

...Bergman, like Ekerot, is in costume: he wears his favored beret, a kind of self-dramatizing (self-ironizing?) little nod to the culture that acknowledges his status as artist(e). Such photographs offer support...

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3. Actor, Avatar

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pp. 99-140

...mind, narrating it to the boy as he sees it unfold: “A door flies open. No, first a scream, a hair-raising scream, goes through the house . . .” And on the soundtrack we hear the scream, and in...

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4. Self-Projection and the Cinematic Apparatus

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pp. 141-174

...as an extension of photographic technology, makes the absent present—the ghosts of the long-dead walk before us in the dark theater—even as it withholds actual embodied presence, separates the image and the voice from the body that produced...

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CONCLUSION: The Eye/I of the Auteur

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pp. 175-182

...Two women are placed in a kind of (metaphorical) isolation chamber in which one speaks and the other does not, in which the pressure on their relationship builds until it seems...


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pp. 183-194


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pp. 195-202


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pp. 203-206


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pp. 207-214

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About the Author

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p. 215-215

...Linda Haverty Rugg is professor of Scandinavian studies at the University of California, Berkeley. She is the author of Picturing Ourselves: Photography and Autobiography...

E-ISBN-13: 9781452941530
E-ISBN-10: 145294153X
Print-ISBN-13: 9780816691241

Page Count: 248
Publication Year: 2014