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Raúl Ruiz

"The cinema, this art of light, exists. But if it exists, it is only due to the shadow that serves it as poetic support. It is this shadow – or rather, obscurity – that allows it to build (rather in the manner of a puzzle) an edifice, mental palace or labyrinth, in which there lives a wild beast, our animal double, a felgya as the ancient Vikings named it; and this beast watches us, waits for us, and prepares to devour us.

"In order to incarnate itself, the cinema, this mechanical art, makes use of a quite practical tool known as a shutter. It is this marvellous obstacle that determines how we are to be invaded by the specific penumbra which is the blackness between two frames. And here is the secret: dear friends, when we see a minute of film, we see thirty seconds of cinematic darkness. Thanks to the shutter, there is implanted in us an obscurity where we find, nourished and nurtured, a type of counter-film or parallel film composed by ourselves – and which, in traits of shadow, composes an entire world, a small world comprised of our doubles. Ferocious doubles, naturally; but also fairly well meaning, human doubles, even if they sometimes end up being rather like jokers or tricksters. Saints, some would say, while others would call them sprites; doubtless the ancient Vikings would settle the matter with their designation Hamrs.

"We must thus conclude that, whenever we see a film, we in fact see two films: the one we watch, and the one that watches us. This second film (just as we speak of a Second State) is, as it happens, the very same one that we see with our own eyes, an illusion based upon the retinal ‘persistence of vision’ with which certain, misguided positivists still persist. But our second film is created in the penumbra, in some sense ‘dreamt’. Made up of panic and bliss. An agitated dream in revolt, a turbulent mirror, as certain poets distracted by the paradoxical world of quantum physics would assert. A shadow film comprised of doubles, a doubling of the very film we are in the process of watching, composed of slightly dephased lines of dialogue from the film of light, phantom-landscapes, phantom-houses, felgyas and Hamrs. [...]"

from a transcript Cinema is Another Life, a speech by Raúl Ruiz (November, 18th, 2005), translated and published on LOLA.

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