Of the large human symbolic constructions, fiction is probably the most ancient and universal. It concerns every one of us and constitutes an important part of our mental activity. Its main purpose is to duplicate our direct experience of the world while giving it symbolic form; hence its cognitive and even reflexive aspects. Therefore, to conceive of any borders to fiction cannot mean that one is looking for some inherent limitations of it; rather, it signals an endeavor to explore its territory up to its fullest extension, and to underline its resilience.
For over a century, film has been one of the key vehicles of fiction, and, socially, the most important one; today, however, it is vying more and more with other channels of the imaginary. Such is the horizon of inquiry in Limites de la fiction (Borders of Fiction). When viewing moving images in a gallery or in a museum, are we still experiencing fiction? Are we undergoing a filmic experience? Has the recent hegemony of the digital totally transformed cinematic fiction’s relationship to reality? Viewing fiction films through the newer means of exhibition now available to us, do we still adopt the traditional position of “believing without believing”? What really transpires in “slow cinema”? Is there still a frontier between fiction films and documentaries? Etc.
Jacques Aumont taught film esthetics and film analysis for over forty years, mostly in Paris but also, more occasionally, in Berkeley, Madison, Iowa City, Montréal, Lisbon, Nijmegen, Florence and Jeonju. He has also been, for 16 years, the curator of a program of weekly lectures at the Cinémathèque française. He is currently teaching at the École supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris.
He published widely on various questions in the theory and history of representation : L’Œil interminable, 1987-2007; Du visage au cinéma, 1992; Le Cinéma et la mise en scène, 2006; Moderne?, 2007; Le Montreur d’ombre, 2013. His most recent books are Montage (Montréal, caboose, 2013-2015) and Limites de la fiction. Considérations actuelles sur l’état du cinéma (Paris, Bayard, 2014).