Far from being haphazard, Merleau-Ponty’s 1945 essay on cinema and 1953 notes on cinema for the lectures at the Collège de France are a precursor of a genuine phenomenology of cinema. Accordingly, in this paper I shall demonstrate that a phenomenology of movement and space tacitly appears in films, since cinema is the art of motion on screen and therefore the art of intersubjectivity par excellence. Moreover, I show that Merleau-Ponty’s ontological conception of the chiasm between the visible and the invisible resembles the interlacing of the “two spaces” mentioned by Noël Burch. Likewise, the interpretation of the world as the “something else” that is simultaneously present and absent in every appearance corresponds, in cinema, to Alain Bergala’s “présence in absentia” of the off-screen on the screen – i.e., to the opening up of off-screen space by means of eyeline match and characters exiting and entering the frame. I finally claim that the use both of long take and depth of field, as analysed by film theorist André Bazin, and of specific camera movements, as analysed by neuroscientist Vittorio Gallese, preserves the continuity of reality and give the impression that the film is a perceptual experience that happens within reality’s space-time continuum.

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