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This report is taken from PN Review 191, Volume 36 Number 3, January - February 2010.

From a Journal R.F. Langley

23 November 2006
I recall how, last night, coming out of The Cut in Halesworth after seeing Bergman’s Saraband, one of our companions remarked that she would have liked there to be more landscape in the film, more good views. They should have done more of their talking outside, in front of impressive scenery. It seemed, at first, like the comment of someone who had sat through the film with no engagement with it at all. But, this afternoon, reading now to the end of The Sight of Death by T.J. Clark, where he notices how Merleau-Ponty tells us, again and again, of how the eye ‘takes a distance’ from the world around it, giving us the feeling of ‘going out there’ without effort and immediately, to the things ‘on the other side of the lake’, I suppose a more generous interpretation of our neighbour’s remark is possible. The eye consoles us with the awareness that there is a distance between us and what we are seeing, such a thing as space, in which the world can appear as a whole, open to our understanding. There were a few wide views near the beginning of the film, when the ex-wife arrived at the rural retreat of her ex-husband and they sat on the balcony, but, after that, the film closed in to face to face, expression after expression, people in doorways, a woman disrobing against lamp light, her figure as silhouette, a table top covered with scattered photographs, ...


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