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Off-Screen CinemaIsidore Isou and the Lettrist Avant-Garde$
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Kaira M. Cabañas

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780226174457

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226174624.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
Off-Screen Cinema

Kaira M. Cabañas

University of Chicago Press

This book examines the core Lettrist films produced by Isidore Isou, Maurice Lemaître, Gil J Wolman, François Dufrêne, and Guy Debord in the years 1951–1952. In the film Traité de bave et d'éternité (On Venom and Eternity), Isou employed montage discrepant (discrepant editing)—the purposeful nonsynchronization of sound and image—and also drew directly on the celluloid to intensify and produce what he called image ciselante (chiseled image), which changed cinema. The Lettrists were committed to a cinema that implied spectators' active participation. They foregrounded sound as well as participation, and consistently employed dissociative strategies in their films—disjunctures between speech and sound, sound and image, screen and space—in pursuit of an unmediated cinema consistent with their desire to move from the space of representation to the event itself.

Keywords:   Lettrist films, Isidore Isou, Maurice Lemaître, Gil J Wolman, François Dufrêne, Guy Debord, On Venom and Eternity, discrepant editing, chiseled image

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