Cruel time in Artaud’s film scenarios

Ros Murray


This essay considers the temporality of cruelty in Artaud’s unfinished and unrealised film scenarios. It asks not so much what is cruelty, but when is cruelty, suggesting that incompletion is an inherent characteristic of Artaud’s approach. Cruelty evokes both past and future, becoming a form of anachronism in the sense that it brings together disparate timeframes. This disruption of chronological and teleological patterns makes Artaud’s film scenarios relevant to discussions of media archaeology, highlighting the importance of another, perhaps impossible, but no less existent, form of cinema. Artaud calls this “the poetry of what could have been”.


cruelty; Artaud; anachronism; film archaeology; scenarios

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Online Magazine of the Visual Narrative - ISSN 1780-678X