Shirley Clarke Raymond Durgnat - Essay

Raymond Durgnat

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

At first I thought [The Connection] was pretending to watch its own gestation so that we should feel like we're in the actual pad, man. But this pseudo-Pirandellism is self-defeating. The screen is a place of the mind and the spectator is present "in" any film from the moment he starts caring what will happen next. All aesthetic hoopdedoo meant to convince us we are not in a cinema only reminds us we are; and the equivalent of a play which admits it is a play in a theatre, is a film which admits it is a film in a cinema, that is, either a filmed interview, or (in this case) a film about an intelligent director making the honest film which we see. A film about another film creates no more illusion of reality than a film about a stageshow, and only cramps and flattens the inner subject. This film's unusually pedantic pretence of "actuality" only focuses our attention on the quality of pretence—the long takes, the beautiful compositions-in-depth, the clever stage management (all unhip virtues) and too many clangers, e.g. the jazzmen go straight from absolute silence to really groovy stuff without so much as tuning-up, while the cameraman for some mysterious and therefore obtrusive motive never cuts however often the director yells "Cut".

So possibly The Connection is also about the disconnection between "them" and "us"—you're either an addict or an outsider and never the twain shall meet; all you can get is...

(The entire section is 445 words.)