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Cinematographic Script - Richard Beet

In Response to Henry Jenkins

Published onOct 06, 2020
Cinematographic Script - Richard Beet

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Cinematographic Script

Richard Beet, Goldsmiths, University of London

Cinematographic scripts were an attempt by Early Surrealists to illustrate the potential of cinema. Unhappy with the conventions of cinema, they experimented with the cinematographic medium, likening to poetry their efforts to create, rather than conventional narrative, images which, like written poetry, serve to interact with each other to create layers of metaphor and ambiguity.  

The scripts created, including mine, would be difficult to translate into film, given how far it pushes together seemingly unrelated events and images. The point is to try and explore what was possible with a medium that ignores the rules of space and time. Creating my own script was illuminating as I would find myself tying together seemingly unrelated objects and personal experiences in my life - it seems that the mind maps a lot more meaning onto objects and audiovisual experience than may initially present itself. Nonsensical events mix with events which really happened; one example is ‘I begin to recite words at the command of the nice lady; for each word I recite, she hands me a cornflake.’ This really did happen, in a speech therapy session when I was a child!

Excerpt from a cinematographic script 

Although I do not sonically acknowledge this fact at this point, underwater, somewhere in the back garden as I stand in my cot and whimper for my mother to turn upside down, a deer appears into view as I round the corner. My face expresses some surprise, since I have never seen a deer in the woods before. We continue to stare at each other, quite motionless and unsounding, whilst the deer plays Jarre’s album Aero on my first cd player; my back is to the radiator as I sit. I am seven years old although I do not visibly acknowledge the cornflake at this point. Looking up, I read on the ceiling that there is no thing and nothing with something. There is nothing moving in the room but the soft ringing in my ears. I begin to recite words at the command of the nice lady; for each word I recite, she hands me a cornflake. Although I do not visibly acknowledge this fact at this point, the deer asks how can there be ringing if nothing is moving including my dad. Slowly I move in the bath as my dad shaves the blood off his neck and Pink Floyd or Kraftwerk or Elton or Leithausen or Toumani plays on the sound system. Leaning down, I sniff the cassette tray in the Walkman and the disc tray in the Technics – the pitch of the action of my blowing air inside the Super Nintendo Entertainment System cartridge smells similar before the SSL console in studio 3 falls out of the bath. Seeing this, jerking, the deer sprints away and dives off a diving board into Zell am Zee lake. Bending down into the water, I complete checks on channels three, four, five and twelve on the SSL mixing desk in studio three, ready to record. Stepping over the dying man, I press record, and monitor sound pressure levels on the radiator. Walking vertically along the wall of Borough Green train station, which stands adjacent to the radiator, I read the booklet that comes with a Moby CD and, sitting on the toilet, I read how he played all the instruments and I express aloud that I am confused as to how you can play all the instruments at the same time. The radiator attempts to play Beethoven on a recorder in the Angel Centre in Tonbridge as people point and laugh.  

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