For Clair the essence of the cinema was its relation to the marvelous—to dream, imagination, and fantasy. Cinema for Clair was fundamentally a poetic medium, liberated from the constraints of a mimetic relation to reality. For him the truly seminal cinematic tradition was that of Méliès and magic….
Somehow for Clair this vision of the cinema was predicated on the notion of silence. Sound carried the weight of reality and would have the power to disturb the fragile poetic ambience central to the cinematic experience…. (p. 36)
For Clair the cinema was primarily a visual form and the adoption of speech brought with it the threat of enslaving visual material to verbal. (p. 37)...
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