So many times, when watching a movie, I experience a sense of frustration: I cannot touch the image, I cannot grasp it, fix it, or retain it (remember that moment in Godard’s “Les Carabiniers” when Michelangelo literally tries to enter the projection screen?) A frame is replaced by another in a way that, although logical from a cinematic standpoint, feels unnatural in a way. A frame is not the totality, but just a portion of reality (is it even a “portion of reality”? And if not, what is it?). The image is something that exists (fleetingly) at the border between being and nonbeing (is it then more appropriate to say “it happens” than “it exists”?) – a dream-like state where you’re always questioning if things actually are and if they are what they seem, as if everything is experienced through an invisible veil. As if you’re aware of your blind spots but still cannot grasp them. Or that feeling evoked by Magritte’s “La reproduction interdite.”
It may be that one of the functions of cinema is to make us turn towards life, with fresher eyes, with more lucidity, in a world which becomes ever more real (Then again, what if reality itself is a grand-scale cinematic projection? To what reality are we then turning towards?) In complex, more or less indirect ways, it may very well teach us how to be more present in the world. Through its inevitable fragmentation, it helps us become more total, which is to say more conscious. By unfolding in linear time, sequentially, it gives birth to the longing to abolish time and to experience everything that was, is, and will be in some sort of eternal present.
And if we need to constantly return to cinema it is because we constantly forget how to be in the world. One could then imagine a situation and a state of mind where cinema is no longer needed.