Film Society of Lincoln Center
Can cinema be a vehicle for thought? It’s a question that has been bandied around since at least the silent era days of Jean Epstein. That it can seems to be the premise that undergirds Mariana Caló and Francisco Queimadela’s half-hour The Mesh and the Circle, a cerebral meditation on the nature of the moving image. This philosophic inquiry kicks off with a display of the kind of rigorous formalism reminiscent of Hollis Frampton: An unnamed narrator, who we only recognize through a pair of ostensibly male hands, writes out—instead of speaks—the film’s “script” in a blank journal in a dark room, illuminated only by an adjacent projector throwing images onto a screen. “Film can be a labyrinth,” the hand writes, “where we lose and find ourselves.” The analogical meaning of this shot is clear enough: The narrator’s hands literally “write” the film and the projected images are presumably the very ones that compose the film we’re seeing.