Friday, 24 April 2009

pillow shot

In his To the Distant Observer: Form and Meaning in Japanese Cinema
(Berkeley, 1979), Noel Burch talks about ‘pillow shots’ or ‘cutaway still-lifes.’ ‘The particularity of these shots,’ he writes, ‘is that they suspend the diegetic flow […] while they never contribute to the progress of the narrative proper, they often refer to a character or a set, presenting or re-presenting it out of a narrative context. Pillow shots (the term is derived from Japanese poetry) most often achieve their uniquely de-centering effect by lingering unexpectedly on an inanimate object. ‘People are perhaps known to be near, but for the moment they are not visible, and a rooftop, a street-light, laundry drying on a line, a lampshade or a tea-kettle is offered as centre of attention. The essence of the pillow shot, then, lies in the tension between the suspension of human presence and its potential return.'


K8 said...

of course...makes me instantly think of that Luc Tuymans painting of the vacated got me thinking, and looking again at my photos...I keep finding that peripheral stuff...

Baobab said...

Nice quotation of Noël Burch.
Would you please mention tha page. If possible.