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Self-Projection

The Director’s Image in Art Cinema

2014
Author:

Linda Haverty Rugg

Self-Projection

An innovative argument for narrative art films as autobiographical acts

Linda Haverty Rugg explores how nondocumentary narrative art films create alternative forms of collaborative self-representation and selfhood. Lively and accessible, Self-Projection sheds new light on the films of iconic directors and on art cinema in general, ultimately showing how film can transform not only the autobiographical act, but what it means to have a self.

Self-Projection is an innovative and engaging study that offers an insightful theoretical analysis of what constitutes the autobiographical in film. It will make a valuable and provocative contribution not just to the field, but to the larger question of intersubjectivity in self-representational discourse. This is the book we’ve been waiting for.

Julia Watson, Ohio State University

In 1957, a decade before Roland Barthes announced the death of the author, François Truffaut called for a new era in which films would “resemble the person who made” them and be “even more personal” than an autobiographical novel. More than five decades on, it seems that Barthes has won the argument when it comes to most film critics. The cinematic author, we are told, has been dead for a long time. Yet Linda Haverty Rugg contends not only that the art cinema auteur never died, but that the films of some of the most important auteurs are intensely, if complexly, related to the lives and self-images of their directors. Self-Projection explores how nondocumentary narrative art films create alternative forms of collaborative self-representation and selfhood.

The book examines the work of celebrated directors who plant autobiographical traces in their films, including Truffaut, Bergman, Fellini, Tarkovsky, Herzog, Allen, Almodóvar, and von Trier. It is not simply that these directors, and many others like them, make autobiographical references or occasionally appear in their films, but that they tie their films to their life stories and communicate that link to their audiences. Projecting a new kind of selfhood, these directors encourage identifications between themselves and their work even as they disavow such connections. And because of the collaborative and technological nature of filmmaking, the director’s self-projection involves actors, audience, and the machines and institution of the cinema as well.

Lively and accessible, Self-Projection sheds new light on the films of these iconic directors and on art cinema in general, ultimately showing how film can transform not only the autobiographical act but what it means to have a self.

Self-Projection

Linda Haverty Rugg is professor in the Scandinavian department at the University of California, Berkeley. Her first book, Picturing Ourselves: Photography and Autobiography, won the Modern Language Association’s Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for Comparative Literature.

Self-Projection

Self-Projection is an innovative and engaging study that offers an insightful theoretical analysis of what constitutes the autobiographical in film. It will make a valuable and provocative contribution not just to the field, but to the larger question of intersubjectivity in self-representational discourse. This is the book we’ve been waiting for.

Julia Watson, Ohio State University

This book is unique within film studies. Although Linda Haverty Rugg treats a range of familiar topics—from auteur theory to autobiography to art cinema—she brings them together in a way that is thoroughly her own. Rugg gives a wide-ranging and compelling argument for why it matters that filmmakers choose to enter their own works: a recognition of the complexity of the ways this relation takes place, an account of its importance for coming to terms with their films, and a clear and articulate road map for how to think about it.

Daniel Morgan, University of Chicago

Rugg offers a studied exploration of how auteur-directors project themselves cinematically.

Colloquy

This is indeed quality film scholarship and should also be thought-provoking for scholars interested in the cinema of Ingmar Bergman.

Scandinavian Studies

Self-Projection

Contents

Acknowledgments

Introduction. Without a You, No I: Cinematic Self-Projection
1. The Director’s Body
2. The Director Plays Director
3. Actor, Avatar
4. Self-Projection and the Cinematic Apparatus
Conclusion: The Eye/I of the Auteur

Notes
Bibliography
Filmography
Index