Renoir and The Apparatus - Cinematic Panopticism
Abstract: M. Lange, up to the point of this entr’acte had carefully constructed a diegetic space under established principles of ‘panopticism’. The apparatus had arranged its position as ‘overseer’ of the diegetic space, locating both a central pivot for inspection (the centre of the courtyard) as well as constructing the relationship between ‘cells’ and between the cells and this central pivot (rooms in the court). The rupture in spatial logic through the direct address may seem haphazard or confusing, but I would like to suggest that it is a testament to the forward-thinking and highly-intuitive Jean Renoir as a stylistic master. In fact, the direct address is employed aptly in recognition of a critical limitation in Benthamite conceptions of panopticism – with elements of mobility present, the gazer must also become the gazed-upon in controlling and constructing the space.