Volume 12, 2008
Images and Symbols
Representing Our Existence
Comments on Cavell’s Discussion of Rohmer’s Conte d’hiver
In the film Conte d’hiver directed by Eric Rohmer in 1992, the heroine is passionately in love with her boyfriend who is missing. She has faith in his reappearance. According to Stanley Cavell, she has found her existence within her desire to see him again, irrelevant to the world’s existence. However, her faith materializes in her way of living every day. She wagers her real life on the encounter and thus situates her existence in the world’s existence. At the ending,she really encounters him in the bus. According to Cavell, an encounter is an everyday event, because the world consists of strangers passing and we are destined to be passers-by who are coincidentally here and now with others. This can be seen when she moves from place to place among the crowd, including the scene of
the encounter. Furthermore, in the scenes of her being in the transportations, the views from the windows look passing against passengers, as also in the scene of the encounter. The view, the world, looks itself passing in film, because its medium specificity is motion. Then film can show: we as passers-by encounter someone and something here and now in the world itself passing. That we choose how to live in the coincidental situation is our existence in the world’s existence.