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Cinema's AlchemistThe Films of Péter Forgács$
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Bill Nichols and Michael Renov

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780816648740

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816648740.001.0001

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Reenvisioning the Documentary Fact

Reenvisioning the Documentary Fact

On Saying and Showing in Wittgenstein Tractatus and Bourgeois Dictionary

(p.177) 10 Reenvisioning the Documentary Fact
Cinema's Alchemist

Tyrus Miller

University of Minnesota Press

This chapter focuses on Péter Forgács’s two films Wittgenstein Tractatus and Bourgeois Dictionary. Both films utilize amateur film footage and stand out for their explicitly reflexive, metapoetic treatment and their innovative, nonnarrative formal structure. In fact, both films share overlapping film materials and explore linguistic and quasi-mathematical frameworks for organizing the found images and motivating their potential meanings. Music, voice-over, image, and text stand in a highly complex and often explicitly divergent or paradoxical relationship to one another. Wittgenstein Tractatus could be characterized as a poetic montage of verbal statements and visual documents that resonate with the historical pathos of the Central European, bourgeois, Jewish lifeworld that Wittgenstein shared with the filmed subjects of Forgács’s found footage.

Keywords:   Péter Forgács, films, Wittgenstein Tractatus, Bourgeois Dictionary, amateur film footage, Central European, bourgeois

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