„Film Typologies Studies” follows Dumitru Carabăţ
's narrative theories originated in his previous books „From Word to Image” (Editura Meridiane, 1987) and „Towards a Poetics of Movie Scripts” (Editura PRO, 1998), demonstrating once again his strong theoretical and critical vocation. The present volume focuses on problems regarding film poetics, — which represent a current topic of today theoretical debates — and often employs the textual analysis along with its modern arsenal.
In the first two chapters of the book the author sketches a „possible typology of scripts and films themes”, defining six categories (narrative, eventful, didactical, descriptive, poetical and essayist movie). Then, applying concentric−circles analysis, he concentrated on the narrative cinema, with its multitude of „topic formats”. An amalgam of ideas coming from the works of Jean Piaget, André Bazin, Viktor Şklovsky, Lucian Blaga, the theoretical construction brought up by Dumitru Carabăţ is still extremely homogenous. The suggested typologies are convincing due to the clear category features and pertinence of the exemplification. Furthermore, they demonstrate a fine optics, as shown for instance by discussion concerning the film with diverse compositional models, be they compatible or not. The third chapter examines „the high form of the film topic”, integrating the metaphor and the oracular into the narration. Here we have are of the most substantial and inciting parts of the study. As before, the theoretical proof is conducted with method and solid argumentation, while the analysis of Chaplin's, Welles', Antonioni's, and Ciulei's films probes both sensibility and critical vocation.
Centered on the Forest of the Hanged, Arizona Dream
and Pulp Fiction
, justly considered representative for the Romanian and American cinemas, the next chapters of the volume continue the theoretical approach, a „compass” for a lavish textual analysis threatened by the risk of excessive pulverization. After he classifies the structure of the three films in „rhythmemes” and establishes the typologies of the protagonists, Dumitru Carabăţ examines the modalities of structuring the planes into sequences, writes down the statistics of the sequential types, and proposes a new typology, based on the continuity concept. This ample section of the study confirms the operational value of the concept of „rhythmeme”, original theory of the author (on the list opened by Eisenstein and Pasolini). Moreover, it verifies the advantages of „repeated readings”, contemplated by Umberto Eco, the theoretician whose lesson is well assimilated. Always „to the point”, receptive to the eloquence of the detail, capable of switching from description to interpretation, this section succeeds to avoid the two traditional dangers of this kind of approach: the danger of „not seeing the forest because of the trees”, — meaning of accumulating straying observations, impossible to put together in an unique configuration, — as well as the danger of confusing the stylistic judgement with the simple artisan remark. Finally, the reader has both a substantial and an accurate image of the expressive physiognomy of Ciulei'
s, Kusturica's and Tarantino's movies.
Mostly geared towards cinema specialists and a specialized audience, Dumitru Carabăţ's study fills in one of the numerous blanks in our film literature. In a remarkable way! I want to emphasize the complexity of the theoretical and critical investigation of the author, armed with a rigorous mastering of the concepts, paying attention to the many nuances of the value judgements, careful not to leave out of site the whole−character of the discussion, backed up by an interdisciplinary vision (including the acquisitions of the philosophical esthetics, film theory, poetics, stylistics, and rhetoric). Dense in personal observations, Dumitru Carabăţ's work invites to a meditation that is always intellectually mobile, traversed by a real tension of ideas, and capable to address, through the many clarifications included, the issues of contemporary cinema.