… There are only impure realities that participate with each other in refractive processes.
This is from the Preface to Philosophy and the Moving Image: Refractions of Reality by John Mullarkey (2009):
… I have always believed that it would be much more rewarding to make films than practice philosophy. Indeed, I have written philosophy books mostly in order to compensate for the fact that nobody would let me make films (I won’t bore you with the details). Yet, my retreat to philosophy was not on account of some vague likeness with cinematic storytelling, but because both film and philosophy share a relation with something far grander: reality itself.
… André Malreaux famously said that what is important in the artwork is precisely what cannot be said, whilst Jean Cocteau proclaimed that ‘an artist cannot speak about his art any more than a plant can discuss horticulture.’*
… Only through philosophy does art come into complete self-knowledge. When it comes to modernist aesthetics at least, art needs philosophy more than philosophy needs art.
… Moving pictures move us because movement is what is Real. Commensurately, there is no essential or ‘Ideal’ film wherein either a particular technology or aesthetic form would render it absolutely Real (‘great or true’ film art). Rather, at any one time, there is only a provisional selection of film examples (and film scenes) that converge on one point — what film ‘really is’ — from a certain frame of reference. This point of convergence is only virtual, however, being visible to the pertinent frame of reference alone (with its selection of films and mode of consumption). … The convergence of cinema is virtual as it tends towards a single point, and actual as it diverges away from one.
… What lies beneath, however, is not a fixed essence but a shifting process. What film converges on, with its various inheritances from the other arts and its increasingly convoluted technology, is not a singular reality but diverging plural realities.
… ‘Reality’ too is a process to participate in. Once we have accepted this, we can forego the myth of a pure cinema that would correspond with, capture or reflect a fixed reality. There are only impure realities that participate with each other in refractive processes.
… There is a ‘drunkenness of things being various,’ consequently, that allows us to find something valuable both in cinema’s convergence on a diverging reality and in philosophy’s lack of essence as it refracts itself through new non-philosophies. The world is ‘incorrigibly plural,’ and if film has a power, if it ‘captures’ reality, it is not by mirroring something static, but by being a part of something moving. Indeed, replacing the optics of static reflection with an alternative optics, that of mobile refraction, we’ll find, will be one way of depicting this convergence on reality-as-process.
… Gilles Deleuze is surely right in saying, at the conclusion of his Cinema books, that the question ‘what is cinema?’ must lead us to the question ‘what is philosophy?’ for philosophy’s film-envy was bound to turn back on itself eventually.
[*I know he's trying to point out the non-verbal-ness of visual art, but it still seems a bit unkind of Cocteau to equate artists with plants.]