Journal of Arts & Ideas, no. 5 (Oct-Dec 1983) p. 17.


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The Linear and the Displaced: Towards a Cinematic Self-Identity

Arun Khopkar

B PROPOSE to deal with certain problems concerning cinema, but I hasten to add that it is impossible to lo'ok at the problems of cinema in isolation. By its very nature cinema has to be seen in relation to other art-forms, other traditions that today seem distant from it. In film the need to relate to issues outside the traditional boundaries of the form seems more urgent than in other art-forms possibly because film is a more composite medium than most other forms of art. I propose to use this to advantage.

I have tried here to concentrate along the lines of development of what I would broadly describe as socialist art. Taking that as an axis, including its own chequered growth, I shall move into the question of structures, their displacement, their relation (or lack of it) to tradition, and so forth.

I should also add that my concern with cinema is in the context of Indian film, its specific history and the struggles evident within it.

The Author; and an attitude

If the particular relationship between theme and content is important for most art-forms, it is particularly crucial to cinema. Excluding exceptions for the moment, we may speak of most films as portraying certain events through defined characters. We would also recognise a certain attitude demonstrated by the author/film maker to these characters and events.

Journal of Arts and Ideas \ 7


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