as Sensibility and Performance
Asbjørn Grønstad, UNIVERSITY OF BERGEN
Landscape, in some form or another, constitutes an intrinsic part of most feature films. It is manifestly there, but the question is do we see it? P. Adams Sitney once labelled landscape the “unconscious issue of film theory” (103), an apposite articulation of the extent to which we fail to notice the presence of this overwhelmingly visual element within the film frame. Bizarrely and inexplicably, it’s as if the inherent inertia of the natural phenomenon has spilled over into the reflection on landscape itself; scholarship on the subject of landscape in film has indeed been slow to emerge. As a matter of fact, the first scholarly volume (in English) specifically and exclusively dedicated to an exploration of this area only appeared in 2006, an anthology of essays edited by Martin Lefebvre and published by Routledge.1 In the introduction
1 The existence of two monographs on the subject in French does not substantially change the fact that landscape is an under-researched area in cinema studies. See Maurizia Natali, L’Image-paysage: Iconologie et cinéma (1996) and Jean Mottet, L’Invention de la scène américaine: cinéma et paysage (1998).