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Film Modernism$
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Sam Rohdie

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781784992637

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9781784992637.001.0001

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(p.192) Returns
Film Modernism

Sam Rohdie

Manchester University Press

The citations in Histoire(s) are not its models, nor exemplary, but simply material, elements in a surface assembly like a collage. The movement of the film forward is also a movement in reverse. Godard’s montage transforms a previous image by a subsequent one such that the future does not come after but before. In general, and in its details, and at each moment, the film is a return to overlapping past(s) of the cinema, of the film, of Godard’s own past. The returns are like memories, incursions into an unconscious depth that comes to the surface unannounced. Literally, and constantly, the past is subjected to unforeseen transformations heading toward an unknown future. It is not that the past, is the future but rather that the future is a rearrangement of returns. Such returns are neither stable nor controlled, but perpetual, shifting and open. Every film of Godard’s is so structured and though, often, there is a principal underlying text, the films are not imitations or adaptations, but a recycling of them as one element among others, recalled to be dismantled, dismembered, reconstructed and questioned, a return that moves forward.

Keywords:   return, past, present, collage, present

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