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The Autonomous Image: Cinematic Narration and Humanism

by Armando J. Prats

Availablecloth$45.00x 978-0-8131-1406-4
192 pages  Pubdate: 12/31/1981  5.5 x 8.5 x .56  

Blowup, says Armando Prats, is one of the necessary movies. It is a “living expression of the transition into the new narrative domains” in terms of man’s “new vision of himself as a narrative creature in a world whose very essense is cinematic narration.” Prats’ work on the new humanism inherent in postwar filmmaking is a rewarding work with implications for the fields of esthetics and axiology as well as film criticism. In his analyses of four films by three directors—Fellini’s Director’s Notebook and The Clowns, Wertmiller’s Seven Beauties, Antonioni’s Blowup—Prats shows the contrasts between the conventional, word-bound narrative methods of the past and the new narrative in which images are free to display their energies fully, to lead the eye beyond rational concepts of reality and illusion, truth and falsity, good an evil, beauty and ugliness. The autonomous visual event, Prats finds, offers one of the most direct ways of entering into adventures of ideas, particularly in the realm of human values. Movies have revolutionized art as well as thought about art, and inasmuch as art and life converge, they have revolutionized life itself.

A. J. Prats is associate professor of English at the University of Kentucky.

Helps to explain why so many teachers of religious studies have found film so important, if not essential, for exploring contemporary philosophical and theological issues. -- Horizons