by Gregory J. Markopoulos

In the beginning of the motion picture, the film frame had great potential. But with the introduction of sound, a part of the frame was relegated to the service of the soundtrack. Aesthetically opposed but artistically united, sound and image failed to achieve that poetic unity in cinema that everyone had envisioned. Word and image conflicted, forcing images to become conventional, and sound retarded, rather than added to, the developments of film form.

Few significant forms have been established in motion pictures; form cannot be achieved through the use of filters, changes in colour intensities, special lenses, effects prepared in the laboratory, elaborate costumes, or theatrical devices. The film frame which creates each shot or composition has been neglected; it has been understood only as a photographic necessity.

I propose a new narrative form through the fusion of the classic montage technique with a more abstract system. This system involves the use of short film phrases which evoke thought-images. Each film phrase is composed of certain select frames that are similar to the harmonic units found in musical composition. The film phrases establish ulterior relationships among themselves; in classic montage technique there is a constant reference to the continuing shot: in my abstract system there is a complex of differing frames being repeated.

The chief problem facing the maker of a motion picture with the proposed abstract form is the elimination of the abruptness with which the single frames attack the eye and confuse the viewer. Both the optical and psychological disturbances may be minimized by a method of integrated frame adjacencies intermingling at their common border or frontier. At other times, dissimilarities or degrees of contrast, object displacement, or varieties of movement in the two contiguous frames will help the viewer receive the abrupt transitions with more ease.

Limitless change in rhythm, or the sudden interjection of alliteration, metaphor, symbol, or any discontinuity introduced in the structure of the motion picture, makes possible the arrest of the film spectator’s attention, as the filmmaker gradually convinces the spectator not only to see and hear, but to participate in what is being created on the screen, on both the narrative and introspective levels. The magnificent landscapes of emotion, with colours brighter than the film viewer has ever been concerned, begin to exist. The transient impact of meetings, handshakes, kisses and the hours apart from these contacts becomes revealed in all its astounding simplicity. A whole new scale of values is exposed, creating a rich potential narrative form in the motion picture.

7th of February, 1963
New York City.

(Film as Film: The Collected Writings of Gregory J. Markopoulos, Mark Webber [ed.], London: The Visible Press, 2014, pp. 207-208)





2016/2021 – Foco