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'In the beginning is the word: there has to be a script. But even before a word is said there's light, and camera, and action. Films are before all else about light, and about what can be realised through light. That pre-eminence of light was acknowledged in the old-time movie theatres, in the custom, now regrettably lapsed, of having the projection illuminating the screen before the curtains were drawn open, so that the promised world of light could be glimpsed before revelation, symbolically seen through a veil which then parted — and behold, a new heaven and a new earth. Those who arrived late, after the houselights had gone down, followed their own little subdued pool of light, the usherette's torch, down the carpeted aisles.' (Author's abstract)
'Before looking at two portraits of the same lady by different hands, executed in different media and at different times, I would like to consider an historical coincidence which provided a point of intersection for those media, and take this as my point of departure. Just over thirty years ago, as American film writer Andrew Sarris was popularising his notion of the Cahier du Cinema's 'auteur' theory, French literary theorist Roland Barthes was elaborating his polemical 'theory' of the death of the author — or, rather, 'le morte d'auteur'. So just as Sarris was importing into the discourse on film a serviceable model of textual production and interpretation - and importing not simply from France but equally from an international tradition of literary discourse — Barthes was challenging literary discourse to jettison that model. The theoretical friction implicit in this coincidence bears some reflection, and might prompt some further reflections on the subject of the text as it is shaped in turn by literature and by film.' (Author's abstract)