Schizoanalyzing Souls: Godard, Deleuze, and the Mystical Line of Flight


  • David Sterritt Columbia University and Maryland Institute College of Art



"In an article on montage written for Cahiers du cinéma, Jean-Luc Godard made an observation that has been quoted many times in many contexts:

If direction is a look, montage is a heartbeat…what one seeks to foresee in space, the other seeks in time….Cutting on a look is…to bring out the soul under the spirit, the passion behind the intrigue, to make the heart prevail over the intelligence by destroying the notion of space in favor of that of time.

This passage appeared in 1956, almost three decades before Gilles Deleuze published Cinema 1: The Movement-Image and Cinema 2: The Time-Image in 1983 and 1985, respectively. Yet despite the distance between those dates, the young critic’s remark anticipates key aspects of the philosopher’s film-theoretical stance. The need to displace the notional bias toward space with a conception of time as a concrete and dynamic force is the single most vital element in the thinking of Henri Bergson, whose ideas about this subject – ramified into such areas as affect, memory, perception, language, and the ontological properties of mind itself – play indispensable roles in Deleuze’s writings on cinema and allied areas of immanence, multiplicity, and difference..."

Author Biography

David Sterritt, Columbia University and Maryland Institute College of Art

David Sterritt is chair of the National Society of Film Critics, adjunct professor at Columbia University and the Maryland Institute College of Art, professor emeritus at Long Island University, and chief book critic of Film Quarterly. His writing has appeared in Cahiers du cinémaThe Journal of Aesthetics and Art CriticismMosaicThe Chronicle of Higher EducationThe New York Times, and many other publications. He has lectured on Jean-Luc Godard at the Museum of Modern Art, the National Gallery of Art, and the Harvard Film Archive, and his books include The Films of Jean-Luc Godard: Seeing the Invisible (Cambridge UP, 1999) and Jean-Luc Godard: Interviews (UP of Mississippi, 1998).