The Rhythm of Images

The Rhythm of Images

Cinema beyond Measure

Cultural Critique Books

by Domietta Torlasco

Published by: University of Minnesota Press

200 pages, 140.00 x 216.00 x 25.00 mm, 14 b&w illustrations

  • ISBN: 9781517910211
  • Published: June 2021


A rigorous and imaginative inquiry into rhythm’s vital importance for film and the moving image

Focusing attention on a concept much neglected in the study of film, The Rhythm of Images opens new possibilities for thinking about expanded perception and idiosyncratic modes of being. Author Domietta Torlasco draws on both critical theory and cinema to elaborate a notion of rhythm in its pre-Socratic sense as a “manner of flowing,” a fugitive and irregular mode that privileges contingency and calls up the forgotten fluidity of forms. She asks what it would mean to take this rhythm as an ontological force in its own right, and her sustained response intermingles interpretation and creation, formal experimentation and theoretical precision. Rhythm emerges here as a pivotal means of resistance to power, and thus a key to defining the relationship between the aesthetic and the political.

Working with constellations of films and media works by key international artists—from Michelangelo Antonioni, Jean-Luc Godard, and David Lynch to Harun Farocki and Victor Burgin, among others—Torlasco brings to bear on them her distinctive concept of rhythm with respect to four interrelated domains: life, labor, memory, and medium. With innovative readings of artworks and critical texts alike, The Rhythm of Images fashions a vibrant, provocative theory of rhythm as the excess or potential of perception. 

Ultimately, the book makes a major intervention in thinking about the relation between rhythm as a form that eludes measure and the world-making power of images. The result is a vision of cinema as a hybrid medium endowed with the capacity not only to reinvent corporeal boundaries but also to find new ways of living together.