Hanna Trindade: The Cinematographic »Experience«

Thinking Cinema Through the Philosophy of E. Husserl


The establishment of a relation between the phenomenology of Edmund Husserl and cinema may seem strange at first, since the German philosopher himself has never explicitly wrote about the subject. And yet, as we would like to show, his philosophy provides us an original approach. Phenomenology is concerned with the description not of things, but of the subject’s "experience" of them and if cinema is "the expression of experience (of the filmmaker) by experience (of the spectator)", then phenomenology becomes a perspective particularly suited to understand this art, cause it enables the grasping of the cinematographic experience in its wholeby putting in evidence the correlation subject/movie both in its process of creation and of reception. In the same manner that Husserl’s phenomenology is not concerned with factuality (what is the world), but with the comprehension of how in the first place the world manifest itself and has a sense constituted by me as a consciousness, the understanding of cinema as universal art should not rely only on the analysis of all the possible functions this art may have (what is a film), but in explaining first of all how reality manifest itself through images and has a specific meaningconstructedby both the film director as a creative consciousness and the spectator as a contemplative one. The phenomenological approach could enable us precisely to develop this perspective further and the aim of this paper is therefore to analyze the film experience through the optic of the Husserlian philosophy.