Discuss the way time functions in Bazin's ontology of cinema. In what ways does Bazin distinguish the cinematic image from other forms of image?.
Bazin believes in the idea that throughout history man has attempted to deter the flow of time by creating representations of life that will remain beyond death. He uses the ancient Egyptian tradition of "mummying" dead bodies as an example of mans overwhelming desire to defeat death and time through the "preservation of life by a representation of life"1. This idea has evolved over time through the use of paintings, photographs and the cinema. The evolution to photographs from paintings and drawings added objectivity and perspective, whereas cinema added even more in the form of duration and the process of change. .
In Bazin's ontology of cinema time functions in a way that it does not function at all, due to the overwhelming attempt of man to preserve life in time and space. He believes men have always had this preoccupation with conquering the ongoing passage of time. He uses the example of the Egyptians, who developed techniques which they believed provided them with some control over the effects of time. The ancient Egyptians saw death as a "victory of time"2 and determined that if somehow they could capture representations of life in time they might be able to defeat the price of extinction that death brought. They used the preservation of bodies as representations of life, so that even though spirits had moved on the body remained in the state it had been at the time of life, thus preserving a representation of life despite the continuation of time. Bodies were preserved through mummification, hence Bazin refers to this universal obsession of the preservation of life through representation as the "mummy complex". .
It is true that man has always been interested in creating representations of nature and self. Time no longer functions within representations of life, as they cease to be living and under the control of time, space and ultimately death.