Bazin Meets Deleuze. The ”Fact-Image” and ”Pure Optical Situations” in Italian Neo-Realism



This essay explores the possibility of theoretical reconciliation between André Bazin’s concept of “fact-image“ put forward by the French critic in his essay about Italian neo-realism and the deleuzian concept of “pure optical situation“, that is extended in what he calls an “any space whatever“ – which Deleuze used to defne the visual revolution brought by the flms of Vittorio de Sica and Roberto Rossellini. Some flm scholars believe that the concepts of bazinian realism and the deleuzian time-image are incompatible in flm theory, arguing that while one is preserving the integrity of reality (Bazin), the other is preserving the integrity of the image (Deleuze). I will show that what Bazin calls the “fact-image“ is exactly the neorealist equivalent of the deleuzian “pure optical situation“ – an “image being on its own just a fragment of reality existing before any meanings“ which frees itself from the laws of sensory-motor schemata of the action-image and is revealed “in a visual and sound nakedness“.

Keywords: Gilles Deleuze, André Bazin, “fact-image“, “pure optical situation“, Italian neo-realism