Inverted identification: Bergson and phenomenology in deleuze's cinema books

Boaz Hagin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Deleuze's cinema books are often understood as adopting a Bergsonian framework while rejecting phenomenological accounts of film experience for equating cinematographic perception with natural perception; or, alternatively, simply as being a phenomenological inquiry. Reading Deleuze's comments on, and references to, phenomenology in the cinema books (especially Merleau-Ponty, Laffay, and Dufrenne), this paper argues that while not following a phenomenological logic in general, at certain moments the cinema books' Bergsonian account intersects with phenomenology. Moreover, in the books, the existence of movement-images in the cinema depends on the spectator's experience of watching films. The logic explaining this encounter is indebted to the account of the experience of art and cinema in phenomenology which Deleuze combines with the discussion of real movements in Bergson's Creative Evolution. This reliance on a specific passive viewer's experience can explain the books' limited interest in early cinema and in television, video, and the digital image.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)262-287
Number of pages26
JournalNew Review of Film and Television Studies
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2013


  • Gilles Deleuze
  • Henri Bergson
  • Movement-Image
  • Perception
  • Phenomenology

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